Sun, sea, sand and fanatical terrorists intent on world domination. Oh dear, it’s always the way when you spend a weekend at Mablethorpe-upon-Sea!

There’s a red alert in the Middle East. General Kilbaba, an evil dictator, is threatening to wage nuclear war on the rest of the world. It’s your job as a professional helicopter pilot to stop this nutcase and his evil army of fanatics.

Desert Strike’s spread over four levels full of tough missions involving flying skills and military strategy — plan how to destroy targets without being blown out of the sky yourself! There are four or five missions per level which must be executed in die right order.

Missions involve destroying enemy radar sites (thus disabling their communications), bombing airfields, capturing scientists (for secret information) and finally blowing hell out of Kilbaba’s hideout, bringing him to justice once and for all.

Just deserts!

It may sound pretty straightforward, but lots of nasty surprises lurk in the desert Scattered around the sand-filled wastes are gun and missile emplacements, which need to be avoided or destroyed before they cause considerable damage.

When Desert Strike’s paused, your damage is displayed as a percentage meter. This screen also keeps track of ammunition and fuel supplies, which can be topped up by collecting crates scattered around the desert. You can also rescue stranded troops from the mercy of Kilbaba’s foot soldiers by winching them up in a similar fashion.

To access other levels quickly and easily, you’re given a password which takes you straight to the start of the desired set of missions. These passwords differ, depending on you score, lives, ammo etc, so you can build on previous success and whup that madman’s ass!

Nick gasps... ‘LIKE THE MD!’

Desert Strike was a roaring success on all other console formats, the Mega Drive game selling by the bucketload. This Master System conversion has almost everything the 16-Dit original did. The tiny thing that’s missing is the way you could spray bullets around, but that’s hardly essential, is it?

The graphics, presentation, sound and gameplay are fantastic. You can hardly tell the difference between this and the Mega Drive game. All the missions and co-pilots are here — there’s even a detailed into sequence telling the story, complete with animated madman!

The thing is, I was never a fan of Desert Strike. I’m the sort of person who likes platform romps with cutesy characters and addictive gameplay. You’ve got to sit down with this game, read all the instructions and plan your moves carefully. This isn’t a bad thing, though: some people prefer strategy and unpredictability.

If you fancy a good blast that needs a bit of thought, Desert Strike is for you. It’s set to be just as successful as the Mega Drive original. Well done (again) Domark and The Kremlin programming team.

NICK 88%

Rob twiddles... ‘A GREAT CONVERSION’

The world would be a boring place without the odd madman running around, threatening to take over the world. There’s one in every town. Desert Strike’s the story of a nutter in the Middle East who, along with his army and delusions of grandeur, plans to destroy the world! Everyone’s counting on you to save it, by guiding your well-armed helicopter through the desert, completing mission after mission to finally foil the loony.

Desert Strike was really popular on the Mega Drive, its original control method a breath of fresh air for shoot-’em-up and flight sim fans alike. The Master System version is exactly the same in addictive gameplay and level layout.

The helicopter looks cool, as does the scenery. The intro sequences are impressive — plenty of detailed static images to drool over while you’re having a break. The tune may be a touch boring but the explosive sound effects are great.

Desert Strike’s a superb conversion from the MD, with enough cool gameplay to keep you twiddling buttons for some time to come.

ROB 92%

MF Rating

Graphics
85
Sound
82
Playability
90
Lastability
92

90

A shoot-’em-up for the thinker. A brilliant conversion of the hit MegaDrive cart

Rating
90
Reviewer
Sega Master Force magazine
Region
UK
Scans
Sega Master Force - Issue 6

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