Different each time
Lots of scenarios
B-movies in the 50s and 60s were very popular... Most of their scenarios had to do with aliens (who looked more like men in silver suits) wanting to conquer earth, giant gorillas or dinosaurs and giant insects. It Came From the Desert is exactly that: a game with a B-movie feeling.
The era is the 1950s. The place is a small American town in the middle of nowhere. The person you control is a geologist who has come to this town to collect the pieces of a meteor that fell a couple of days ago. But as it will be revealed, this wasn't an ordinary meteor... it was radioactive! And as you will discover, the meteor is responsible for a very dangerous mutation in the insect population in the area! And to be more precise, the ants have grown as large as houses!
The game is a mixture between arcade and adventure. Your task is to warn the town authorities about the impending danger, and make them call the army for help (without the army you cannot win). To do that you must collect evidence of the creatures, like a giant ant antenna etc. After you do that, you must fight them and destroy their nest.
But you must hurry! Time is against you. The game is played in real-time (that means that going from one place to another takes time) and you have only a certain number of days to achieve your goal. This is also the greatest part of the game. The world you play is a living one. People go to their jobs in the morning and leave at noon (so you cannot find them at work anymore), the bar has more people at night, etc. Also, you have to sleep at least a few hours every day, so planning your actions carefully is important.
Most of the time you see the world from the eyes of your character. But in some certain cases (like when battling the giant ants) you see the action from above. The battles are difficult and they are played in two parts. In the first part the action is first-person. You see the ant walking in front of you, and you must shoot off his antennas with your pistol. If you succeed in doing that, then the action continues from above, where you battle the ants with your grenades (!). It's important to mention that you cannot be killed. If an ant catches you, you are sent to the hospital and you just loose precious time...
The graphics and sounds are not bad, and do their work nicely. The game is also available on Amiga platforms, and the graphics and sounds are much better in that version. However on the PC, the graphics also succeed in giving you the impression that you are playing in a B-movie. The sound is nothing special, but at least it isn't just "blips" :)
"It came from the desert" is a very hard game... However, the difficulty is well compensated by its excellent atmosphere! Its real-time living world gives you the impression that your goal has a meaning. Your actions alter the course of things that happen. For instance, if you do not show up on a meeting with someone, that person can get angry and refuse to talk to you (and saying there was a giant ant in your way won't help). The action part of the game is as difficult as the adventure one. Your battle reaches an epic scale after you warn the authorities. Tanks and aeroplanes will fight along with you, against the thousands of giant ants, and you will have just one small opportunity to win. It isn't like any ordinary puzzle-solving adventure.
As you can see, it will take a lot of patience and effort to play this game, but the more you give it, the more rewarding your experience will be.
A clear rating of 5 for a great game such as this!
Review by: LotharGR
Mild sexual references and violance
Safe for ages: 13+