Retro Requisition would like to draw your attention to a classic video game of old that we shall be formally requisitioning to be reborn, revisited, rebooted, or remastered. We will explain what makes each game such a timeless classic still worthy of attention, pitch what it would be all about and get all realistic by discussing the possibilities of it actually ever happening.
“We, the most awesome and fabulous team at That Not Current, have decreed in all our wisdom and obsession with the wonders of retro gaming, that the following game should be brought back to life and hereby submit this formal request to make it so:”
The Strike Series (1992-1997)
THE PLAYERS: Mike Posehn, John Patrick Manley, Tony Barnes, Electronic Arts
PLATFORM(S): Amiga, Mega Drive, SNES, Playstation, Sega Saturn, Gameboy, N64, PC, PSP
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
Arguably one of the most iconic and defining video game series of the 16-bit era in the 90’s, the Strike Series of games gave players control of an attack helicopter in an isometric view and tasked them with completing multiple missions. In total, five games were released in the series, all in very quick succession – perhaps demonstrating early signs of EA’s now common aggressive milking of IP’s – with Desert Strike (1992), Jungle Strike (1993), Urban Strike (1994), Soviet Strike (1996) and Nuclear Strike (1997). A planned sixth entry was promised with Future Strike, which was later cancelled and developed instead into Future Cop LAPD (1998).
The series was largely positively received, particular the debut entry Desert Strike which was noted for its refreshing non-linear gameplay that was almost revolutionary at the time.
Each entry follows a thinly-packed plot of rogue nation/dictator/tyrant threatening worldwide security and the good old United States sending in a single elite attack helicopter to resolve the situation without any further incident. The title of each game basically describe the location and setting of the game.
Players not only had to complete certain goals – such as destroying certain targets or rescuing allies – they also had to collect fuel and ammunition when required to keep them flying and fully loaded. This element was further expanded upon in later titles, with the option to switch out weapons. Also added later in the series was the ability to change to different vehicles, such as a motorbike, hovercraft or fighter jet, for specific missions.
The final two games moved the isometric view to a more 3D enabled over shoulder view, as well as brining in FMV to the series. Nuclear Strike also added real-time strategy elements.
WHY DOES IT NEEDS TO BE REBORN?
These really were stellar games. They were all tough nuts to crack and the non-linear approach is still refreshing all this time on. They stand alone as something quite unique; not quite simulation, not quite shoot ’em up, not quite strategy. It is very much a series that is still worthy and it was a series that seemed to be organically evolving with each incarnation.
Yet the real reason we want this reborn is that these games are almost lost to the world. The first two entries were re-released on the PSP in 2006 as part of the EA Replay package, but other than that the original game and console is required to experience all these games. And even then, Nuclear Strike, which was the first to be released on PC, is virtually impossible to get running on any PC made this millennium.
WHAT WOULD WE WANT TO SEE IN ANY REBIRTH?
First and foremost, these games need to be made available for the current crop of hardware, wether through a compilation package or individual rereleases. Naturally, a HD sprucing up of them all would be just delightful, although the three earlier entries have actually aged quite well over the later two.
However, this is a series that could easily be picked up, releasing a new follow-on worthy of today and yet true to the series. The little RTS elements of Nuclear Strike were fantastic and unique, and there is so much scope to build on that. Rather than just being confided to one area and one location, it could go global and feature multiple locations with a plot interconnecting them all. More player choice, with different options of not only the attack helicopter but the vehicle in general would provide greater replay ability and keep the game fresh. Multiplayer options with co-ordinated attacks would also bring a new element.
It really is a blank canvas, just keep true to the view, the non-linear gameplay and the basic mechanics of the game – everything else is open for interpretation.
IS IT LIKELY?
It has been almost two decades since we saw a proper, fresh out the box Strike game so there isn’t a great deal to feel optimistic about.
However, EA filled for trademark on Desert Strike in 2013, being granted their latest extension in December 2016. This tells us it is very much on their mind in one guise or another.
What that guise could be is very much up for interpretation and wild speculation. It seems very unlikely that they would go to the lengths of trademark protection on a game a quarter of a century old that they weren’t going to be revisiting. Logic would suggest it points more at a reboot more than anything else. Yet, it may just be a case of someone other than EA is looking to do their own take on the Strike series and EA are making moves to ensure they contain control. Hell, it could even be that someone wants to make a film called “Desert Strike” – although that seems very unlikely.
The fact is, in its day, the Strike series was a massive commercial success for the EA empire. Desert Strike was their biggest selling game ever upon release, and many argue it was a series, along with their sports division, that set the wheels in motion for the massive monopoly they enjoy today. A return to it would not only appease the fans, it is very likely to be very financially rewarding for a corporation so obsessed with money. As a simple rerelease would likely require minimal design effort, it seems a real no brainer.
But for the time being, this is just another truly classic collection of games that have been left on the scrapheap, with it taking a worthy place in the worlds of nostalgia and of all things retro.