Everyone's flocking to the usually quiet 50's desert town of Lizard Breath, California. A meteor has landed nearby and some of America's most renowned and respected geologists have congregated in the hope of discovering its extra-terrestrial secrets.
Greg Bradley is one of those docs. He's not unknown to the townsfolk; in fact, his girlfriend Dusty works for the local radio station, KBUG. He too came here to look at the rocks, that is until stories began spreading throughout the community. They started with the local drunk babbling on about "ants the size of danged houses" which he claimed to have spotted near the site where the meteor crashed.
Doubt turned into dismay, however, when one of Greg's workers brought him a glowing rock which, when tested, revealed heavy radio activity levels. Reports poured in of badly mutilated cattle and unusual tracks in the soil, as well as ever-increasing sightings of giant insects. The community is worried; worse still, they're relying on Greg to rid their town of the six-legged terrors!
It Came From The Desert is the fifth Interactive Movie from Cinemaware, and continues the theme of classic films with an interpretation of the Big Bug genre of low-budget productions, the most famous of all being Them!
The player is cast as Dr Bradley, whose unenviable job is to rid Lizard Breath of the threat posed by the giant ants. As with the other titles in the series, It Came From The Desert relies on a balanced mixture of strategy and arcade play to convey the events. The battle begins on June 1st, with only two weeks to go before the ants multiply at such a rate that they overrun the town and rampage across the entire US of A.
The first problem for Bradley is to get the doubting mayor to actually believe the rumours of the enormous insects by collecting four pieces of conclusive evidence in the form of rock samples, tape recordings, creature fluids and body parts. Once the existence of the ants has been established, the task of discovering the whereabouts of the queen ant, which is churning out children at a frightening rate, must be tackled. By listening to local gossip (some of which is rumour, some of which is plain lies), interrogating townsfolk who claim to have come face-to-face with the creatures and studying attack sites, an idea as to the location of the queen's nest can be formed, allowing Bradley to tackle her and save Lizard's Breath.
In the meantime, the worker ants attack the town - you must combat them using the resources made available to you by the mayor, once he is convinced of the peril. The army, police force and townsfolk are at your disposal, groups of which can be deployed to areas of insect infestation. As well as humans, tanks and planes are available can also be commandeered to assist in ant annihilation. And if you think that there's quite enough to attend to already, Bradley must also contend with the panic-stricken inhabitants of Lizard Breath, who aren't averse to a spot of knife-fighting and dangerous driving!
In the past, each Cinemaware game has been mode enjoyable than the last (with the possible exception of SDI), and It Came From The Desert keeps with the tradition. Stored on three disks, are requiring at least a megabyte of memory, it's a large, very involved computer movie that's packed with the sort of aesthetic excellence which makes Cinemaware's titles stand out from the pack.
Beginning with a sampled vocal introduction lasting around twenty seconds, the game bridges the gap between arcade action and strategic planning more successfully than any of its predecessors, requiring hard detective work and military style planning, not to mention a mean joystick arm when you stumble across one of the half-dozen or so action scenes. It's tough and challenging, and it'll certainly take plenty of time before you manage to defeat the army of gi-ants!
It Came From The Desert is one of the best games yet seen on the Amiga. If you haven't got a 1-meg upgrade for your machine, here's a perfect excuse to go out and buy one. If you have, don't miss this under any circumstances.
Superb graphics, sound and gameplay are all part and parcel of this stunning Cinemaware masterpiece. Don't miss it.