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It Came from the Desert

Amiga game review, ADF downloads, screenshots, ratings and insights
It Came from the Desert was, and is, a “killer app” released in 1989 by the over-achieving Cinemaware studio in Burlingame, California.

Cinemaware games were notable for several reasons. First, they always were visual marvels to behold. Second, they always followed a formula of borrowing heavily from movies from the silver screen era. They would mix graphic adventure style gaming with arcade action, and took full advantage of whatever visual and audio capabilities a platform had to offer - especially the Amiga.

Cinemaware would often develop games on the Amiga before porting them elsewhere - and they never held any punches. They always totally went for it, leaving everyone else in the dust.

And that’s why It Came from the Desert is so special. Cinemaware took a really kitschy genre of sci-fi horror B-movie from the 50’s and injected it with exceptional artistic seriousness.

The synthesized music swells at the appropriate times, and the “choose your own adventure” plot-driven choices are well-written and easy to navigate. Where the game breaks down a bit - perhaps a bit like Defender of the Crown - are the action/arcade sequences. You become so spellbound by the visual spectacle (e.g. the jousting in DoC, or the giant ant attacking you in the mines) that you simply mash buttons in a desperate attempt to survive. In It Came from the Desert, you find yourself waking up in the town hospital over and over with a very voluptuous and oddly creepy nurse (stop winking!) there to set you straight after each inevitable failure.

And to that end, you’re expected to fail. And fail often you shall. But with each failure you are to take what you’ve learned and try to find the most optimal and efficient path to stop the giant ants: ants born of radiation spread by a massive meteor strike and hungry for human flesh.

It Came from the Desert is a must-have game, and it must be played on the Amiga.

Installation Note: This game is buggy as hell to install to HDD. Even the original instructions are baffling, and require you to execute the game (after install) by hitting files on the floppy. Be prepared to do a lot of disk-swapping if you're playing this on your classic machine. If you happen to know how to install to HDD, shoot us a note. We'd love to know the trick(s)!

Note: CRT screenshots are best viewed at larger sizes by clicking on the thumbnails below.

Back of the Box

A crawling terror whose towering fury no one can escape.

A new dimension in terror that will have you screaming for mercy. Ants, twenty feet tall, go marching one by one, using your hometown as a picnic basket!

Panic grips the city as this monster sized mutation strikes terror again — and again — and again!

Witness science fiction become fact as the unimaginable becomes real — the impossible becomes true!

You’ll marvel as the screen explodes with action so real you can feel the desert wind chap your parched lips. Sound effects so eerie you can hear the distant marching of giant harvester ants on the prowl!

Human drama abounds – blackmailing rivals, land scams, love triangles and desert cults!

  • Huge multi-location real-time environment
  • Original music and screenplay by Hollywood professionals
  • A unique blend of role-playing and strategy combined with dazzling arcade-style sequences
  • Easy to play - no typing required
4.5
2 total votes

Screenshots

Comments

4.5
2 total votes
Developer:
Cinemaware
Publisher:
Cinemaware
Designer:
David Riordan
Artist:
Jeffrey Hilbers, Jeff Godfrey
Programmer:
Randy Platt, Tom McWilliams, Richard S. Levine
Music:
Greg Haggard, Jim Simmons
Genre:
Adventure, Action
Perspective:
1st-Person, Top-down
Theme:
Detective, Horror
Player mode:
Single-player
Origin:
USA
Release date:
1989

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