Desert Strike

Do you like to explore? Do you like to blow shit up? Do you like rotate and push control systems? Get yourself a copy of "Desert Strike" then, monkey boy. "Strike" is a rather longevic, seminal AND influential series of games, almost forming a genre of their own. Let's work the timeline:

Desert Strike (on the MD, SMS, GameBoy, etc etc)
Jungle Strike (on the MD at least)
Urban Strike (on the MD at least)
Soviet Strike (on the PS1 and Saturn)
Nuclear Strike (on the PS1 and N64)

There have been clone games - anyone who's seen "Mechwarrior 3050" on MD or SNES might recognise the motif, funnily enough - and many games have since been inspired by at least some elements of the Strike series. For example, the bit in "Super Mario Sunshine" where you blow up a bunch of Iraqi insurgents, or the rotate and push control scheme in "Archer Maclean's Mercury".

Each game in the series, "Desert Strike" included, involves a large territory you can fly around in your well armed helicopter, enjoying an isometric view of the killing fields. A level is divided up into individual objectives - for example, take out the radar installations first, then radio communications, then the airport, etc. All throughout the landscape are enemy soldiers and vehicles, friendly troops to rescue, ammo and fuel pickups. You're definitely going to need the provided in-game map to navigate and plan your sorties successfully.

As I mentioned earlier, the control system is rotate and push - turn in the direction you want to go and push forward to move in it. The three main buttons fire the different weapons you have (rockets, missiles and a good old fashioned machine gun), and you can access the map, mission objectives and various status screens with the pause button. Targeting is semi-automatic.. if you get the helicopter a suitable distance away from the target in question and fire away, you'll hit the target pretty easily - of course, judging the right distance for the right weapon will take a little practice.

I love these games, to be honest. The first time I played "Desert Strike" was on PC, but the MegaDrive conversion is certainly up to the task. Hell, the SMS version was perfectly playable, and the Game Boy version? Well… let's not get stupid. Pick one of 'em up, and if you like it, get the rest, and what the hell, get the Mechwarrior game too.

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