Warcraft II: The Dark Saga is a console version of Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, with the expansion Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal built in. It was released 31 August 1997. This is essentially the same as Warcraft II, but has some upgrades to the original version.
In addition to interface changes necessary to play the game with a control pad instead of a keyboard and mouse, several improvements/changes were made for the console version that wouldn't appear in the later Battle.net Edition:
- Added an auto-build feature, which could program buildings to continuously train a specified number of units (cycling from one to the next if multiple unit types are specified), pausing or temporarily skipping a unit if resources were not available when that unit's time came up in the queue (unlike Warcraft III where the resources to train and upgrade were spent as soon as they were added to the queue). The auto-build could also be set to "infinite" to continuously build units as resources provided.
- Added an auto-upgrade feature, which would research all the upgrades available in a building as resources provided.
- Flying units were given specific shadows as seen in promotional screenshots for the computer version, instead of the generic circular ones.
- A quick-play mode was added to randomly select a custom scenario map and start it without the user needing to select any options.
- A color map of the world was added at the start of each mission, including a dotted line and X to indicate direction of travel, similar to the one used in loading screens in Warcraft III.
- A new intro movie.
- A new splash screen and new art for the main menu.
- New cinematics between acts or the Beyond the Dark Portal campaign, including the only cinematic appearance of Turalyon.
- Opening cinematic for Tides of Darkness sped up slightly and the text at the beginning (referencing Warcraft: Orcs and Humans) was removed.
- The finale cinematic for the human Beyond the Dark Portal campaign now lingers longer on the Skull of Gul'dan, its eyes glowing as the screen fades to black.
- New music during the credits.
- New Password system to jump directly to a campaign mission (using a password instead of a saved game would reset your score to 0; however, saved game files were quite large, and couldn't even fit in the internal memory of the Saturn, necessitating the purchase of a backup memory cartridge).
- In order to get the game to fit on the console disc though, much of the background art, button variety, unit speech, and sound effects were removed. Background music is completely absent, although some of the new cinematics incorporate themes from the classic soundtrack into their score.