RetroReview: Herzog Zwei (1989)

Gaming nirvana! Yes, that is what this game is. I bought this game just after getting my Genesis in ’89 not knowing anything about it except it was "by the makers of Thunderforce II". At first I was like “huh, what is this all about?” and “what am I supposed to do?” but then after about an hour I was picking it up really well. This was a real-time strategy game before there were real-time strategy games. And it was on the Genesis!

The game pits you against a friend or the computer in a battle to destroy the other’s main base. You control a transforming fighter plane/cargo plane/giant robot (to be referred to as just plane in the rest of the review) in your attempt for map dominance. Besides your main base that you must defend there are several other mini bases that you or your enemy can control. You control them when four soldiers of your color enter the base and with that comes two great benefits: you make money faster and you can pick up your ordered units from any base you own. Also your plane can only fly so long before it needs refueled. To do this you just hover over a base you control and your fuel refills. This adds extra strategy to the game because you can’t just fly from your main base to your enemies in hopes of dropping lots of troops off because you will run out of fuel. You must capture and hold some mini bases so you can cut some of your flight time down.

At your disposal you have infantry, tanks, boats, supply vehicles, anti-aircraft and units on motorcycles. You can also give each unit special commands like stand, patrol, take over mini bases or attack main enemy base. You might think that there aren’t very many unit types or commands but once the game is going you will appreciate how easy it is to get into the game.

Now for a little strategy. When starting out the most important thing to do is put out a few units around your base because the computer likes to send a small army right away to keep you are your toes. After you fight them off your next step is to try to capture and hold as many of the mini bases are you can so you not only give yourself more money to fight with but it also limits the amount of money your adversary can use. You will also find that the computer gets it into his head that he wants one specific base and will basically forget about everything else in his attempt to capture it. What I find works best is to have a bunch of tanks and anti-aircraft units around that base, it keeps his units from capturing the building and the anti-aircraft keep the computer’s plane from taking out your units around the mini base.

During this time you can control all the other bases and get a huge army together. I find that about 10 tanks and 5 anti-aircraft units lead me to victory. Of course when playing a human opponent you have to throw all this advice out the window as I am sure they won’t just be trying to take over one mini base.

This game was so amazing because it was a fantastic real-time strategy game on a console before they were even huge on the PC. Playing against a friend was so much fun as you could test out your strategy against other's strategies. Even today this is a fun play and highly recommended!

- The Big Geek

Release Date: December 15th, 1989

Publisher: Sega

Developers: Technosoft

Original System: Sega Genesis