Warcraft II: The Dark Saga

From Sega Retro


WarcraftII title.png

Warcraft II: The Dark Saga
System(s): Sega Saturn
Publisher: Electronic Arts (US/EU), Electronic Arts Victor (JP)
Licensor: Blizzard Entertainment
Original system(s): IBM PC
Publisher(s) of original games: Blizzard Entertainment
Developer(s) of original games: Blizzard Entertainment
Sound driver: SCSP/CD-DA (1Track)
Peripherals supported: Saturn Backup Memory
Genre: Simulation[1][2]

Number of players: 1
Official in-game languages:
  • English
  • Deutsch
  • Français
  • Español
  • Italiano
  • 日本語
  • Release Date RRP Code
    Sega Saturn
    ¥5,8005,800 T-10623G
    Sega Saturn
    $49.9549.95[3] T-5023H
    ESRB: Teen
    Sega Saturn
    ELSPA: 11+ OK
    Sega Saturn
    USK: 16
    Sega Saturn
    Sega Saturn
    £44.9944.99[4] T-5023H-50
    ELSPA: 11+ OK
    Sega Saturn
    Sega Saturn
    Sega Saturn
    Tectoy: 13+
    Non-Sega versions

    Warcraft II: The Dark Saga (ウォークラフトIIダークサーガ) is a Sega Saturn real-time strategy game developed by Climax. A combined port of the titular 1995 Blizzard Entertainment game Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness and its expansion pack Beyond the Dark Portal, it was first published in the United States and Europe by Electronic Arts in August 1997, and was later localized and published in Japan by Electronic Arts Victor the following November.

    The game is the only title in Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft series released for home game consoles.


    Tides of Darkness

    The bloodthirsty orcs originated on the world of Draenor, where they slaughtered the other races of their planet. The orcish warlock Gul'dan and the human mage Medivh, both corrupted by the demon lord Sargeras, open a portal between Draenor and the human realm of Azeroth. Gul'dan manipulates the Orcish Warchief, Blackhand the Destroyer, into conquering Azeroth. Blackhand is ultimately killed by his trusted general Ogrim Doomhammer, who replaces him as Warchief and expands the Horde with the ogres of Draenor and the trolls and goblins of Azeroth.

    Lord Anduin Lothar, acting as regent after the death of King Llane by an Orcish assassin, concedes that the Kingdom of Azeroth is lost and rallies his countrymen across Great Sea to the shores of Lordaeron. He hopes to forge an Alliance between the human kingdoms as well as with the elves, the dwarves, and gnomes.

    Beyond the Dark Portal

    The humans have driven back the orcish invaders and destroyed the Dark Portal, but the rift between the two worlds remains. The humans seek to close the rift between the two worlds forever, but the mage Khadgar needs the Book of Medivh and the Skull of Gul'dan to accomplish it. The orcs, now under the leadership of the shaman Ner'zhul, who has gathered the remaining clans on Draenor, have staged a new invasion of Azeroth. Ner'zhul wants the same artifacts to create new rifts to new worlds.


    WarCraft II The Dark Saga, Town.png

    WarCraft II The Dark Saga, Auto-Build.png

    WarCraft II The Dark Saga, Unit Select.png

    WarCraft II The Dark Saga, Multiple Unit Select.png


    The game is a real-time strategy game with two playable factions. The Human Alliance represents the human inhabitants of Lordaeron and allied races, and the Orcish Horde represents the invading orcs and their allied races. Each side tries to destroy the other by collecting resources and creating an army. The game is played in a medieval fantasy setting, where both sides have melee, ranged, naval, and aerial units, and spellcasters. Both factions have similar units and buildings but with different names and graphics and few other differences, but the more advanced combat units have different spells.

    The game contains separate human and orc campaigns for both Tides of Darkness and the expansion pack Beyond the Dark Portal, totaling 52 missions. Campaign missions mostly involve collecting resources, building units, and destroying all enemy forces, though some missions have other objectives such as rescuing units or escorting important units through enemy territory. Some campaign missions feature hero units, which are more powerful than normal units of the same type, have unique pictures and names, and must not die, as that causes the failure of the mission. The player can also play stand-alone scenarios on a number of included maps.

    Players must gather resources in order to produce an army with which to defeat their opponents. Buildings produce units, research upgrades, or provide technology to enable the production of more advanced buildings and units. All units, buildings, and upgrades require gold, which is collected from gold mines. More advanced technology requires lumber, which is harvested from chopping down trees. Naval units require oil, which is gathered from oil patches found in the sea. Players must also build farms to provide food, which is necessary to build new units. The screen shows an overhead depiction of the game world with a cursor for making selections and issuing commands. The player can select a unit or building with C or cancel a selection with B. The player can select multiple units by holding C and dragging a box over the units (if the player does not already have units selected); a unit can be added to an existing selection by holding L while selecting it with C. Players can select up to sixteen units but only one building at a time. The player can view statistics on the currently selected unit with Z, including the amount of damage done and the number of hit points remaining. If multiple units are selected, it shows a portrait for each unit with a bar indicating its remaining hit points instead of detailed information.

    Selected units can be issued a default command with C. If the cursor is over terrain, it orders the unit to move to that location; if it is over an enemy unit, it orders the unit to attack that unit. Workers can additionally be ordered to mine from gold mines or trees. Alternatively, the player can invoke a menu showing all of the unit's possible commands with A. These commands include building or repairing for workers, casting spells for spellcasters, or producing units or researching upgrades for buildings. Buildings have an Auto-Build option that automatically trains a specified number of units when resources become available; this can be set to infinitely build a unit as resources are provided. Buildings also have an Auto-Upgrade option that automatically researches all of their upgrades as resources become available.

    The player can invoke a minimap with L+R that shows a miniaturized map of the entire battlefield (as well as showing the player's current resources). The player can use the D-pad to pan around the map while it is visible. The "fog of war" hides unexplored territory; terrain that has been explored is always visible in gray tones, but enemy units are only visible if they are within the visual radius of a friendly unit and buildings remain displayed as the player last saw them. The player can save up to three map locations by holding L and pressing X, Y, or Z and recall the location by holding R and pressing X, Y, or Z, allowing the player to move quickly between important parts of the map.

    The player can save the game at any point (by pausing the game with  START ) to be continued later. The campaigns also use a password system so that they can be continued without using a conventional save.


    The console versions of the game contain a number of changes to make it easier to play with a control pad (rather than a keyboard and mouse, as the original PC version is played). The game does not support the Shuttle Mouse. It adds Auto-Build, which produces units automatically as resources become available, and Auto-Upgrade, which researches all the upgrades in a building as resources are provided, to buildings. It also allows up to sixteen units to be selected at once, up from nine in the original. The game adds a password system for campaign missions.

    The PC version runs at VGA resolution (640x480); since the Saturn version runs at 352x240, most of the user interface is concealed unless explicitly invoked by the player.

    Most of the cinematic sequences from the PC version of the game are absent, but the Saturn and PlayStation versions of the game have brief new cinematic sequences that are unavailable in any other version (including a unique introduction). Some minor art, such as splash screens for campaign missions, are also unique to the console versions.

    Production credits

    • Original WarCraft II Game Design: Blizzard Entertainment
    • Beyond the Dark Portal Development: CyberLore Studios
    • Executive Producer: Steve Rechtschaffner
    • Associate Producer: Dennis Hirsch
    • Assistant Producer: Kevin Loh
    • Senior Development Director: Pauline Moller
    • Production Assistants: Wendell Harlow. Adrienne Travica
    • Technical Director: Yggy King
    • Product Manager: Peter Rovea
    • UK Marketing Manager: Sean Ratcliffe
    • Public Relations Manager: Keith Dundas
    • President: Karl Jeffery
    • Executive Producer: Tim May
    • Vice President: Chris Bergstresser
    • Lead Programmer: Dave Looker
    • Programmers: Damian Stones, Tom Pinnock, Darren White, Dave Thorburn, Tony Mack
    • Art Director: Thor Hayton
    • Artists: Mike Baxter, Andy Oakley, Alan Weaver, Mike Oakley, Lewis Cooper
    • Audio Lead: Matt Simmonds
    Electronic Arts QA
    • QA Project Coordinator: Rod Higo
    • Lead Testers: Tim Lewinson, Geoffrey Ball
    • Assistant Leads: Edwin Singh, Lori Wilson
    • Testers: Aaron Watmough, Ryan Yewell, Octavio Izaurralde, Ryan Savella, Colin Currie, Ian Ritchie, Greg Chan-Eather, Randy Deluna, Fausto Mazzuto, Joel Frigon, Avinash Narayan, Koji Sato, RJ Thompson, Patrick Donaghy, Justin Wiebe
    • Mastering: Peter Petkov, Cary Chao, Jeff Hutchinson
    • QA Database Support Guru: Bob Purewal
    • Documentation: Jason Armatta
    • Documentation Layout: Corinne Mah
    • Package Design: Mary Mitchell
    • Package Illustration: Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
    • Package Art Direction: Jennie Maruyama
    • Quality Assurance: Matthew "The Tick" Murphy, Big John Hanley, Gregg Pollack
    • Thanks to the gang at Blizzard: Shane Dabiri, Mike Morhaime, Joeray Hall, Pattrick Wyatt, Bill Roper, Duane Stinnett, Paul Sams
    • Special Thanks: Don Mattrick, Paulette Doudelle, Steve Fitton, Julio Valladares, James Fairweather, Patrick Ratto, Sue Garfield, Louis Mutter (Davidson), Chris Yashimora (Davidson), Susan Wooley (Davidson), Kirby Leung
    US manual
    Warcraft2 sat us manual.pdf

    Magazine articles

    Main article: Warcraft II: The Dark Saga/Magazine articles.

    Promotional material

    Print advert in Consoles + (FR) #67: "Juillet 1997" (1997-0x-xx)
    Print advert in Sega Magazin (DE) #45: "August 1997" (1997-07-09)

    Physical scans

    Sega Retro Average 
    Publication Score Source
    81 №59, p34/35
    Sega Saturn
    Based on
    1 review
    Sega Retro Average 
    Publication Version Score
    Consoles News (FR) PAL
    Computer & Video Games (UK)
    Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) NTSC-U
    Famitsu (JP) NTSC-J
    Fun Generation (DE) NTSC
    GamePro (US) NTSC-U
    Level (TR)
    Mega Force (FR) PAL
    Mega Fun (DE) PAL
    neXt Level (DE) PAL
    Saturn Fan (JP) NTSC-J
    Saturn Fan (JP) NTSC-J
    Sega Magazin (DE) PAL
    Sega Saturn Magazine (UK) PAL
    Sega Saturn Magazine (JP) NTSC-J
    Super Juegos (ES)
    Video Games (DE) PAL
    Sega Saturn
    Based on
    18 reviews

    Warcraft II: The Dark Saga

    Saturn, JP
    Warcraft2 Saturn JP Box Back.jpgWarcraftII Saturn JP Box Front.jpg
    Warcraft2 Saturn JP Disc.jpg
    Saturn, US
    WarcraftII Saturn US Box Back.jpgWarcraftII Saturn US Box Front.jpg
    WarcraftII Saturn US Disc.jpg
    Warcraft2 sat us manual.pdf
    Saturn, EU
    WarcraftII Saturn EU Box.jpg
    Warcraft II The Dark Saga saturn eu cd.jpg
    Saturn, PT
    WarcraftII Saturn PT cover.jpg
    Warcraft II The Dark Saga saturn eu cd.jpg
    Saturn, GR

    Saturn, BR
    WarcraftII Sat BR cover.jpg
    WarcraftII Saturn BR Manual.pdf

    Technical information

    Main article: Warcraft II: The Dark Saga/Technical information.

    ROM dump status

    System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
    Sega Saturn
    634,364,976 CD-ROM (EU) T-5023H-50 V1.000
    Sega Saturn
    505,715,280 1997-09-27 CD-ROM (JP) T-10623G V1.000
    Sega Saturn
    634,367,328 CD-ROM (US) T-5023H V1.000


    Warcraft II: The Dark Saga

    WarcraftII title.png

    Main page | Comparisons | Hidden content | Magazine articles | Reception

    No results