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 visuals are a real showcase for a late 80's game and every detail of the Amiga original is successfully ported to the DOS version. Every location is well made and all the arcade action is well animated and excellent looking. The PC port 6runs in EGA graphics and sports up to 16 colors on-screen while the artistic touches are among the best, following the good reputation of Cinemaware! Every care has been taken to make the game look and feel like a 50s B-movie!
The sound is also good and really atmospheric, supporting AdLib hardware though the tunes do tend to get a little repetitive. Gameplay involves sound effects such as gun-fire and each visited location has a suitable jingle as well.