Techno Soft

Catalog# T-18023

Capacity 4M

Price 6,800円

Released 15/12/1989

  • 1-2 Player
  • rategy
  • Herzog Zwei
  • Herzog Zwei


Techno Soft’s unassuming effort – a sequel to an MSX and PC-8801 title known purely as Herzog (which means “Duke” in German) – is cited by many as the first true Real Time Strategy game. However, it does a good job of hiding this fact behind the company’s trademark brand of “shmup” action; viewed from an overhead perspective, the game is uncannily reminiscent of sections in stablemate Thunder Force 2, which had launched on Sega’s 16-bit console just a few months earlier. It’s likely that this shared lineage is what led many players to come away disappointed – while Herzog Zwei certainly provides plenty of tense action, it’s a long way from being a traditional blaster.



First of all I need to confess that, in my 30 years of gaming, I consider Herzog Zwei to be the VERY best of all. Ever. Seriously.

The game can be thought of as a Real Time Strategy where you play a transforming robot instead of a mouse pointer. This places you in the thick of the action as you can shoot and destroy enemy units, but you can also be destroyed yourself. There is no direct penalty for this, but you are whizzed away from the action and re-assembled back at your main base – by the time you get back to where you were fighting, your opponent (human or computer) could (should) have gained the upper hand. So this is a risky tactic, but sometimes necessary. The more conventional approach is to progress slowly across the map by capturing small bases closer to one you own already… but bases can be recaptured by your opponent if four soldiers sneak in while you weren’t watching. I’d advise anyone playing this to get a few extra sets of eyes implanted.

The object of each level (or battle) is to destroy your opponent’s “main” base. You cannot do this yourself, so you must send your units to his base. The easiest way to do this is by capturing a small base near his main one, but the nearer you are to his main base, the harder that task is – such is the finely balanced (risk vs reward) nature of the game.

There is often such a lot going on that people have been known to develop “Herzog Face”… a curious glazed look which is a mixture of pain, puzzlement, panic, and pleasure.

And the best bits of the game… two player mode… and the music. Basically, you need to buy this game and see why some people make such a fuss about it – but only if you have the stones for a serious contest.

Get your act together ladder, good luck.


Damien pens an excellent retrospective on Herzog Zwei for Eurogamer, which can be read here.



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