It Came from the Desert [MD / Genesis – Cancelled]

It Came from the Desert” is a 1989 computer game developed by Cinemaware. It was originally released for the Amiga and the gameplay centers on the player choosing what they want to do by selecting an option on the multiple choice screens that pop up.

This unreleased Sega Genesis / Megadrive version was going to be released in 1990. The game has little in common with the Cinemaware classic as it’s more action oriented: an overhead shooter with the main protagonist running around on foot, and able to walk in all directions. Among the differences in play mechanics, the Sega version allowed the player to create powerups that were fashioned by collecting machinery pieces and joining them together in different combinations.

Note that the Sega version was originally cancelled and never actually released in physical cartridge: only later it was distributed as a ROM  from the Cinemaware website after the turn of the 21st century. Despite the similarity of camera perspective, the Sega version did not appear to reuse any of the graphical elements created for use in the computer-based versions. [Infos from Wikipedia]

We cant thanks Cinemaware enough for their decision to share this unreleased game with everyone, instead to forgot it somewhere in their basement! An interesting interview with the main programmer of this project can be read at SEGA 16.

Here’s an interview by Ross Sillifant with Bob Jacob (Cinemaware)

Ross Sillifant: What happened to the MD/Genesis version of It Came From The Desert? I believe it was a very different game in terms of plot and gameplay, being more akin to an overhead shooter. Why the changes to game format and further canning of project?

Bob: I don’t remember! (getting old)

Ross Sillifant: It’s been claimed that when S.D.I was in process of being ported to
another format, it’s release was delayed as the company had asked the programmer to add extra features and such needed extra time, is this claim true? If so which format was it and what extra features did you ask for and why?

Bob: The port referred to has to be the C64. It was never completed, not because we asked for features, but because the programmer was not up to the task (he later became quite good).

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!