Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf is an action-shooter helicopter game created by Electronic Arts and released in 1992 for the Mega Drive, Genesis, SNES and ported to Amiga in 1993.
It's the first title in the "Strike" series created by EA, which also includes Jungle Strike and Urban Strike. As you can imagine, Desert Strike is heavily influenced by the 1990 Gulf War. In the game, there is a new war in the Middle East, declared from a mad dictator on the U.S. You have to control an Apache helicopter during four long missions, trying to rescue hostages and destroy enemy bases and weapons.
The designer, Mike Posehn, puts a lot of attention to the movement of the helicopter. The game uses an isometric view, but realistic 3D models were used to create the sprites of the vehicle. The physics of the movement is also very elaborate, with a dynamic camera system that travels on an elliptic curve to improve the field of view. Posehn worked several months on the movement of the screen to make it perfect.
With nonlinear gameplay, side mission, cutscenes, great graphics and animation, Desert Strike is a very modern and advanced game. It's not a surprise that it was a commercial success and one of the top games for the Mega Drive.
Gary Roberts and David Colclough worked on the Amiga version, increasing the quality of an already great game. They improved the graphics, using the Extra Half Brite mode to create shadows and bring the game to 64 colors (instead of 32). They also added sampled sound effects and extra music and cutscenes, making Desert Strike one of the best games ever created for the Amiga.
Review by: GN Team
Published: 3 May 2018 6:30 am
Rockets, as well as Hellfire missiles and the 30mm cannon, can be selected by pressing the space bar. Once selected to fire, press the Right Ctrl key.
Desert Strike ... I remember that at the time of its release, it was an epochal masterpiece. Critics welcomed this game very well, everywhere it had awards, almost like game of the year!
Indeed, Desert Strike provided a lot of ideas for real fun that was unknown for games of its genre. In fact it stood between the helicopter simulator and the arcade game. He later boasted many attempts at imitation, but with poor results.
The game resumed the thread of the events that took place in the Persian Gulf between 1990 and 1991. That is, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the counter-offensive of the coalition that will lead to the liberation of the small Arab nation.
The game is divided into various scenarios, from the identification of ramps of "Scud" missiles to the assault on airports ... from the destruction of anti-aircraft defenses to the recovery of secret agents ... or the destruction of power stations and so on.
This is not an easy game to finish successfully. The missions to be completed take place on different maps, and even if you have ample freedom on how to complete each single phase, it is true that our Apache AH 64 helicopter, does not have unlimited fuel, can suffer heavy damage and ammunition, they too are not infinite. Fortunately, it is possible to repair the damage by rescuing missing people and bringing them to the base, just as it is possible to refuel our helicopter with both fuel and weapons.
The various maps are in sequence and are activated once all the objectives of the previous map have been completed.
The game poses a serious challenge, because it is necessary to perfectly manage the resources we have. We must try to make the most of the fuel supplies, as they are quite limited. Once the refueling is done, it will begin to decrease, slowly but surely, even if we are not moving in any direction. It wears out to simply keep the helicopter in the air.
So it would seem that the speed in reaching the objectives is the right solution ... unfortunately the enemy's anti-aircraft defenses are everywhere and are damn deadly, from simple machine gun shots of infantry soldiers, to cannon fire from anti-aircraft weapons, to end up with lethal missiles. long-range anti-aircraft! So a mix of speed and caution is needed. Which is not easy to achieve. As if that weren't enough, there is also a fact in the game that has little to do with reality. In fact, the bullets from our 3o mm cannon have a longer range than the Hellfire missile, which is absurd. To have a chance of hitting the Hellfire missile, you need to get dangerously too close to the target. This is the only real flaw I would have found in this otherwise perfect game.
The considerations that can be drawn are several. The 30 mm cannon has a lot of ammunition, great range, but poor effectiveness, in fact it takes many shots to destroy an opponent other than the simple soldier.
Hellfire missiles are weapons of enormous destructive capacity, but they have a limited range, plus there are only 8 missiles for each ammunition supply.
Unguided rockets, on the other hand, have capabilities that are a cross between the Hellfire and the 30 mm cannon. They have, in fact, a good range of action (longer than the Hellfire and only slightly less than cannon shots). The ammunition is also sufficiently equipped. So it would seem like the weapon of choice, at least for me.
Beware of damage! When they are inflicted on our helicopter, they do not produce drops in the performance of our helicopter, but there is a counter that, as we suffer damage, from a number of 600, tends to go down, and ... precisely without warning, if this number reaches 0, then our Apache is lost and if we want to continue the action, we must use another helicopter of the three that we have available at the beginning of the game. Obviously when we have also lost the last helicopter, a nice "GAME OVER" will feel our failure.
During the missions you can hit additional objectives, which often lead to the discovery of hidden resources ... even an extra life !!!
In your "raids", you will be assisted by a coopilot that you can choose at the beginning of the campaign among the ones that the game offers, and each of them has different abilities ... it is up to us to decide who is the most suitable.
More than continuing to talk about this game I would invite you to try it, it should take a long time, because finishing this game is very difficult ...
There is at least one other sequel to this game and it is "Jungle Strike". Same game engine, but completely different setting ...
Review by: Maurizio Petta
Published: 15 July 2022 9:34 pm