It Came From The Desert II, Amiga

It Came From The Desert II is an add-on/expansion pack for the classic ‘giant ant’ Cinemaware game, It Came From The Desert, and was first released in 1990. The story in this is set five years after the events of the first game. You don’t need the first game to play It Came From The Desert II, although you can load a save from part one, to continue from where you left off.

You play as Brick Nash, and when you start the game you’re told that you’ve been “out cold” until this point and that the tanker you were driving is empty of its valuable plutonium cargo and has been turned over on the interstate. One thing that is made clear in the opening conversation: this time you’re seen as a fugitive and the local police have issued an alert for residents to keep an eye out for you. The introductory sequence also mentions that a second giant ant queen exists and is wreaking havoc on the town of Lizard Breath.

Just like in the original It Came From The Desert you travel around various locations using a map of the area, and the game follows a timed day and night cycle. This basically means that you have to choose the correct time to visit certain places, to either avoid people, or ensure that someone is there to talk to. Conversations with NPCs sometimes reveals information about ant or other local activity, and the basic aim of the game is to locate the ant queen and destroy her to save the town and its people.

A bit of careful investigation reveals that some town residents seem to be suffering from a “bug” that is going around; making people too sick to work. As you later find out: this sickness is turning people into… ants! This sequel is subtitled “Antheads“, which alludes to this fact, although the word isn’t mentioned until later in the game.

It Came From the Desert II – like many Cinemaware games – features a variety of action-based minigames, and these usually occur randomly, depending on the situation. Some of these are repeats from the first game (like the escape from hospital, and the game of “chicken” in a car), and others are brand new (like the hilarious overhead knife fight).

Like its predecessor, It Came From The Desert II is fun to play and does have some decent humour, great graphics, and atmospheric sound. The gameplay is somewhat limited, though, and will not appeal to everyone. That said: I loved it. Maybe even more than the first game. And it could even be my favourite Cinemaware game, because it’s so outlandish and weird. Shooting antennae off giants ants has never been so much fun!

See also: Cinemaware Special

More: It Came From The Desert on Wikipedia
More: It Came From The Desert II on YouTube

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