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It Came From The Desert
|It Came From The Desert is an impressive game released by Cinemaware that offers movie-style gameplay and a 50s sci-fi scenario, along with outstanding for its time audio and visuals. It Came From The Desert was initially released for the Commodore Amiga and later ported to the PC (DOS) systems. The game was later released for the NEC Turbografx CD and the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis consoles but with different gameplay and visuals.|
STORY / GAMEPLAY
You play the role of a geologist named Greg Bradley who works in a small 50s desert town called Lizard Breath. You are a newcomer to this place, conducting research on the mineral content of fragments when a meteor hits the ground just outside the town and somehow produces a breed of gigantic ants that will overrun and destroy everything in 15 days! Unless you can stop them once and for all, helping humanity! First you have to collect enough evidence to persuade the local Sheriff that the problem is actual and convince him to call the National Guard so as to direct the Army forces against the invaders and finally find their nest and destroy the Queen. Well, this quest is no easy at all!
The 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, farms, mines, an airport and even a drive-in theater to visit. Since time ticks quickly at one minute per second of real time, quick decisions are the key to success. The main structure of the game has two elements: your static locations view in which you can interact with any present person via a highlighted response menu plus a scrolling map of the town. Moving the screen pointer to each location will show its name and the amount of time it will take you to get there. The attendant arcade sequences are mixed! The one-on-one ant fights (where you have to shoot a giant ant) are quite simple, relevant and well implemented in a shooting gallery gameplay style. There is also a view-from-above perspective in which you try to avoid or take down ants or escape from other folks or even fly a plane around the area to discover clues or shoot down enemies! And there is more: you also drive a car through a first person perspective with which you can go to certain places, finding evidence. But be noted: At any time, a giant ant may attack you or your vehicle! In general, the game is a mix of a pure adventure and an arcade adventure though you spend most of the time in adventure mode, interacting with the characters and trying to find clues that will pinpoint the whereabouts of the nest to gather evidence and show it 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 is caught excellently and the arcade sequences are simple. But in this game it's the adventure side of things that really keeps you at it!
GRAPHICS / SOUND
The game's graphics on the Amiga are, in one word, stunning for its time. Every location is greatly presented and all the action sequences are well animated and look awesome. The Amiga has up to 32 colors on-screen and the details are some of the best of the time, following the successful reputation of Cinemaware! A lot of care has been taken to make the game look and feel like a 50s B-movie that, apart from its great visuals, its sound is equally good and really atmospheric and scary. The game includes some nice, high quality, speech and several sampled sound effects like gun-fire, screams and a lot more.
|CPU: Motorola MC68000 7.16 MHz|
MEMORY: 512KB of Chip RAM (OCS chipset - A500), 512 KB of Slow RAM or Trapdoor RAM can be added via the trapdoor expansion, up to 8 MB of Fast RAM or a Hard drive can be added via the side expansion slot. The ECS chipset (A500+) offered 1MB on board to 2MB (extended) of Chip RAM.
GRAPHICS: The OCS chipset (Amiga 500) features planar graphics (codename Denise custom chip), with up to 5 bit-planes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 color screens, from a 12bit RGB palette of 4096 colors. Resolutions varied from 320x256 (PAL, non-interlaced, up to 4096 colors) to 640x512 (interlace, up to 4 colors). Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra Half Bright with 64 colors and HAM with all 4096 colors on-screen. The ECS chipset models (Amiga 500+) offered same features but also extra high resolution screens up to 1280x512 pixels (4 colors at once).
SOUND: (Paula) 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs
|12bit RGB 4096-colors palette |
(32 to 4096 colors on screen)
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