For long time readers of GOA’s Retro Rocks Series, you’ll know that I have a long lost love affair with the long lost game publisher Cinemaware. Back in the late ’80s (yes, I’m that old), they were the “Rockstar” of video games (mind you, they released games more often than Rockstar, but that’s another story).
Cinemaware were as eclectic as they were groundbreaking. They’d go from producing a “TV Sports” type franchise and then release a game about the Three Stooges.
Today’s Retro Rocks Review: It Came From The Desert, is straight out of the “we didn’t see that coming” folder.
At the time, this game was huge! It was so different to anything we’d seen and once again, the team at Cinemaware produced the goods.
For the uninitiated, the game sees you play geologist Dr. Greg Bradley. A meteor has crashed near Lizard Breath, California on June 1, 1951, and it’s your mission to study the crash site.
Pretty early on, you realise that radiation from the crash has mutated the local ant population into gigantic bloody beasts, and it’s your role to stop them reproducing and taking over the world.
It’s also your job to convince the local rednecks that this is real and it is happening (sort of like what’s going on right now in the US of A).
The beauty of this game is that (again, groundbreaking), it was considered to be in real time. You had a specific amount of calendar days (in-game) in order to complete it, so the time pressure was real, but it actually felt like you were on the go, trying to sort this problem and save the world.
Visually, the game (again, for its time) was AMAZING! It looks quite lame now but back in its day, these were next level graphics.
If you’ve got a spare 10, watch a bit of this to get a feel for it.
The gameplay was various, and again, this was groundbreaking for the time. Sometimes you were first person, sometimes you were top down, sometimes it was a point and click adventure. It all made sense and all added to the theatre of what you were doing.
If you don’t believe how groundbreaking this was at the time, we found this. A trailer to a pulpy movie made about this exact video game. As Pete and I always attest, there are so many games that would make epic movies, and this is a prime example of that.
Some years back, Cinemaware had a bit of a resurgence, delving into the world on apps and re-releasing some of their classics. Sadly, some Googling shows that the resurgence may have been short lived.
We did find this, so if you’re not keen on firing up an emulator, this could be the go.
Either way, this is yet another epic title in what was a run of epic titles when this little guy writing this was running around in short shorts.