You play the role of geologist Greg Bradley who's working in the small 50's desert town of Lizard Breath. You are a relative newcomer to the place, conducting research into the mineral content of meteor fragments, when a meteor falls down just outside the town and somehow produces a breed of giant ants that will overrun the town in 15 days! Unless you can intervene for the good guys! First you have to collect enough evidence to convince the local Sheriff that the problem is real and convince him to call out the National Guard. After that you direct the forces against the invasion and finally seek out the lair of the ants and destroy the Queen Ant and the nest. Well, these are not easy at all, trust me!
Gameplay centers around choosing what you want to do by selecting an option on the multiple choice screens that pop up. There are several buildings in town, as well as farms, mines, an airport, and even a drive-in theatre. Since time ticks away quickly at one minute per second of real time, quick decision is key to success. The main shell of the game has two elements - your view of static locations, in which you can interact with a particular person shown to be present, via a highlighted response menu plus a scrolling map of the town. Moving the screen pointer to each location will give you its name, plus the amount of time it will take you to get there. The attendant arcade sequences are a mixed lot! The one-to-one ant fights (where you have to shoot off a giant ant) are simple, relevant and well implemented in a shooting-gallery gameplay style. There is also an above view gameplay in which you try to avoid or take down ants or even escape from other folks, and even flying an airplane around the area to discover clues or taking down ants! And there is more: you also driving a car in a first-person perspective in which you go to certain places discovering evidence. But be noted: at any time, a giant ant may attack you or your car! In general, the game is a cross between a graphics adventure and an arcade adventure: you spend most of the time is adventure mode, interacting with the characters and trying to find clues that will pinpoint the whereabouts of the nest, and gather evidence to show to the Sheriff and the Mayor.
Winning the game is going to take a while, but It came From The Desert is a real masterpiece. The whole feel and atmosphere of the subject material has been caught excellently and, the arcade games are simple, but it's the adventuring side of things that really keeps you at it!
The game's graphics is a real showcase for a late 80's game. Every location is well drawn and all the arcade games are well animated and excellent looking. The Amiga offers 32 color screens and the details are some of the best back then following the successful reputation of Cinemaware! Every care has been taken to make the game look and feel like a 1950's B-movie!
The sound is also good and really atmospheric, though the tunes do tend to get a little repetitive. Gameplay involves high quality speech and several sampled SFX such as gun-firing, screams and lot more, and each visited location has a suitable jingle too.