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Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf

Desert Strike Return To The Gulf BoxDesert Strike: Return to the Gulf is a military themed shoot ‘em up video game developed and published by Electronic Arts.  The concept of the game was inspired by the Gulf War with its story depicting a conflict between a Middle East dictator and the United States.

A terrorist leader named General Kilbaba stunned the world by invading a small wealthy country in the Arab Emirates and taking control of the nation.   With General Kilbaba planning to expand his control within the Middle East, the President of the United States orders the deployment of a special forces team to handle the situation.  Not wanting to deploy a full air strike and risk the lives of innocent civilians, the president approves the deployment of a chopper-based attack.

The game places players in control of an Apache helicopter with the objective to destroy enemy weapons, rescue hostages and capture enemy personnel while demolishing enemy bases.  As pilot of the special forces team players must complete four campaigns made up of multiple missions to weaken the enemies defense and bring General Kilbaba’s plan for nuclear warfare to an end.

The conception of the game began when former Electronic Arts employee Mike Posehn met with EA president Trip Hawkins after experimenting with a flight simulator called “Fly” that was in developed for PC but was later cancelled.  Hawkins offered Posehn the opportunity to join Electronic Arts again and lead the development of a new game.   He suggested that Posehn develop a game for Sega’s soon to be released video game console, the Genesis and recommended that he create a game similar in nature to Choplifter.

Choplifter was a military themed shooter released in 1982 for the Apple II, remade in 1985 for arcades and later ported to the Sega Master System.  Hawkins felt that flying a helicopter and rescuing people would be appealing to gamers and that Posehn could apply what he had learnt from experimenting with the cancelled flight simulator “Fly”.  Posehn accepted Hawkins’ offer and began working on a prototype for the Sega Genesis.

The game began development prior to any discussion of the Gulf War and was originally based on the Lebanese Civil War.  The game was being developed under the working title of Beirut Breakout prior to the shift in story to be much more similar to the Gulf War which had just began.  The game’s environment was changed to the Persian Gulf region and the majority of the story was created for Desert Strike before operation “Desert Shield” was announced by the United States government.

The game released in March 1992 for the Sega Genesis and was an immediate commercial success.  The title instantly became a top selling game and remained on the top-10 best seller’s list for months after its release, going on to be Electronic Arts’ best-selling game at the time.  The success of the game led Electronic Arts to create ports for the Super Nintendo and other platforms as well as spawned the creation of the “Strike” series of isometric shoot-em-ups.

Developer(s)Electronic Arts
Foresight New Media (DOS)
Ocean Software (Game Boy)
Publisher(s)Electronic Arts
Gremlin Interactive (DOS)
Ocean (Game Boy)
Domark (MS, GG)
SuccessorJungle Strike
Platform(s)Sega Genesis
Mega Drive
Media TypeCartridge
ReleaseSega Genesis / Mega Drive
NA: March 1992
EU: March 1992
JP: April 23, 1993
Genre(s)Shoot ’em up
Development Time2 Years
RatingPre-Dates ESRB
Rereleased Platform(s)Ports
Master System – 1992
Super Nintendo – 1992
Amiga – 1993
Lynx – 1993
DOS – 1994
Game Gear – 1994
Game Boy – 1995
Game Boy Advance – 2002

Game Screenshots:

Game Intro & Preview

Media & Promotional Material

Richard RobbinsRichard RobbinsProducer
John ManleyDesigner
Assistant Producer
Mike PosehnDesigner
John SchappertProgrammer
Paul VernonArt
Gary MartinAdditional Art
Amy Hennig GameographyAmy HennigAdditional Art
Profile PlaceholderBill StantonAdditional Art
Dean LeeAdditional Art
Brian GreenstoneAdditional Art
Brian E. KumanchikAdditional Art
Rob HubbardRob HubbardSound and Music
Brian SchmidtSound and Music
Carl MeyCarl MeyTechnical Director
Thomas S. DeBryTechnical Director
Scott L. PattersonTechnical Assistance
Profile PlaceholderJason G. AndersenTechnical Assistance
Gregory A. ThomasVisual Concepts Producer
Joe SparksApache 3-D Model
Profile PlaceholderTim CalvinAdditional 3-D Models
Michael Anthony LubuguinProduction Assistant
Antonio BarnesProduction Assistant
Timothy FlanaganTimothy S. FlanaganScript and Documentation
Chip LangeChip LangeProduct Manager
Profile PlaceholderNeil ThewarapperumaProduct Manager
Profile PlaceholderE. J. SaraillePackage Design
Profile PlaceholderKeith BirdsongPackage Illustration
Jeff GlazierProduct Testing
Randy DelucchiProduct Testing
Brent AllardProduct Mastering
Kevin HoganKevin HoganQuality Assurance
Tim LeTourneauQuality Assurance
Jennie MaruyamaJennie MaruyamaDocumentation Layout
Colin DodsonDocumentation Layout
Profile PlaceholderMichael FarrarDocumentation Illustrations
Profile PlaceholderTom CaseySpecial Thanks
Paul GraceSpecial Thanks
Susan ManleySpecial Thanks
Cindy PosehnSpecial Thanks
Profile PlaceholderHiroshi UedaLocalization Programming
Masahiko YoshizawaLocalization Testing
Ray E. NakazatoLocalization Producer

Genesis (North America Release)

Mega Drive (European Release)

Master System (European Release)

Super Nintendo (North America Release)

Amiga (European Release)

DOS (European Release)

Game Gear (North American Release)

Game Boy (European Release)

Game Boy Advance (North American Release)