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It Came from the Desert (1989)      

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Details (Commodore Amiga) Supported platforms Artwork and Media
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Related Titles:
Mirrorsoft Ltd
Tom McWilliams, Randy Platt, Jeffrey Hilbers, Jeff Godfrey
Jim Simmons, Gregory Haggard

3.5" Floppy disk
UK, Europe, USA
Antheads: It Came from the Desert 2

Commodore Amiga

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Your Reviews

Jan 1990 (CU Amiga)   5th Dec 2011 06:02
Expectations have been running high at the prospect of Cinemaware’s third release of the year. The quality of their sports simulations and interactive movies has largely been responsible for taking gaming forward into a new era, and establishing a benchmark by which other software houses and the public test their releases. At the heart of Cinemaware’s success is their belief that gaming should encourage players to plunge themselves into complete roles with the mood augmented by impressive sound and graphics. It Came From The Desert continues this approach by taking 50’s B movie science fiction and creating a complete melodrama in which the player is the main protagonist. It works instantly.

The plot of It Came From The Desert is a hybrid of ‘It Came From Outer Space’ and the bug movie ‘Them’. After a meteorite crashes in nearby mountains, the small town of Lizard Breath, California, is disturbed by bizarre events, disappearances and the appearance of huge killer ants - pugonomyrex rugosus to you. You play Doctor Greg Bradley, a geologist who rapidly becomes involved in a battle, first to persuade the authorities that the creatures exist, and then top stop them before they overrun the town.

The game begins at your ranch house in the centre of town, with the visit of an old prospector, Geez, who drops some rock samples from the area where the meteorite fell. From this point on you are on your own, and you will have to collect evidence of the insects, and formulate a plan of action by moving around the area, talking to the townspeople, looking for clues and most importantly staying out of trouble. Confrontations with ants or the wrong kind of people can result in injury and lost time. Since you only have fifteen days before the ants strike, you need all the time you can get. Like any human though, you will have to spend some of that time asleep.

You interact with the other characters and operate by selecting from a series of options which appear in boxes throughout the game. It is efficiently done, making the role playing/adventure side of the game painless and enjoyable. As usual Cinemaware have crammed every form of gaming in there. Strategy is ever present as you work your way through the game and battle the ants. Problem solving intermingles with elements from wargaming to adventuring.

Most importantly the arcade sections are there in force. They occur frequently and variously enough in the game to maintain their freshness. Confrontations with an ant usually result in mini shoot ‘em ups in which you have a frighteningly short time to blow off both antennae to stop it from getting you, but a bizarre and often tongue in cheek array of activities await you from firefighting to a knife fight with the local rednecks. You will have to navigate the plane for aerial reconnaissance and bombing runs, and even try and save time by escaping from hospital in a wheelchair in a hilarious Gauntlet pastiche.

It goes without saying that It Came From The Desert is extraordinarily polished. The sections all interlock fluently, whilst the graphics, as ever, are excellent. All the townsfolk you come into contact with appear as large animated stills, whilst the locations are authentically put together. The sound adds to this, with a suitably eerie tune for much of the time which changes as you visit other locations, for example to country rock at the bar and the radio station (KBUG), and hoe down violins at the various farmsteads dotted around the map.

I could tell you about there being over twenty locations, and how large amounts of the game play randomly, but you have probably got the picture by now - It Came From The Desert is Cinemaware’s most complete game yet. All this and you get to see decent Americans terrorised too! Mike Pattenden


Iss 58 Feb 1990 (Zzap)   5th Dec 2011 06:01
Alec Foster (Retro Revisited)   26th Jul 2018 04:37
(Anonymous) (Unknown)   25th Nov 2010 07:31
The Manx (Unknown)   25th Mar 2013 12:40
Scorn (Unknown)   25th Mar 2013 12:39

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This title was first added on 10th January 2011
This title was most recently updated on 25th March 2013

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