Aug 06 2009
A tactical, top-down, isometric shooter? On the Megadrive? Amazing.
Released In 1992, this game broke the mould by changing the expectations of what was expected of a shoot-em-up. By and large shooters on Sega’s 16-bit wonder were arcade conversions, which meant simple blasters whose home conversions simply removed the need for coins.
Desert Strike’s missions were difficult and required patience and planning. I guess the closest thing to it would be Choplifter, but Desert Strike’s isometric viewpoint meant far more rigorous aiming finesse was required. Not only that, but you often had to refuel and take on supplies, which added the tactical element. It was realistic only in the fact that it didn’t have power-ups and its fictional slant on real-world events supplied enough realistic imagery to maintain the illusion.
The inertia on your chopper and its physical interaction with the structures in the game meant that control was a bit finnicky, but a bit of practice would soon have you weaving between the buildings, shooting tanks and picking up your waving co-pilot amidst sustained gunfire.
This was the first in a successful series which went onto include Jungle Strike, Urban Strike and Nuclear Strike.