Strike is the common name of a series of video games created by Mike Posehn, John Patrick Manley and Tony Barnes released between 1991 and 1997 by Electronic Arts for a number of video game systems. The games are multi-directional shooters shown mostly from an isometric perspective.
In the games, the player controls a helicopter (although in the following titles some levels require the player to successfully control other vehicles such as a hovercraft, an F-117 Nighthawk, a motorcycle and even on foot). The series is composed of five games, and was very popular during the 16-bit era, receiving critical acclaim for the games' strategic elements, gameplay, graphics and sound. The last two games released on the PlayStation featured live-action cut-scenes that reflected and explained events in the game.
The player controls a helicopter - an AH-64 Apache or a similar type - equipped with three ammunition types, limited fuel and armor. While there are refits for ammo, fuel and armor scattered around the map, armor is more easily repaired by rescuing and delivering POWs, allied soldiers or other passengers to a landing point. If either armor or fuel reach zero, the aircraft crashes and a life is lost.
Levels are composed of several missions that can be completed in any order but it is often better to complete them sequentially, as completing an earlier mission will make later ones easier. This is because the objectives of later missions are usually protected by a "Danger Zone" which gives enemies in the area increased weapon range, firepower and damage as well as additional armor. A "Danger Zone" can be removed by the destruction of a radar or powerplant, often the objective of an earlier mission. Later levels will often present only one mission that must be completed to reveal the next one. Missions can range from destruction of enemy targets, rescuing a MIA soldier who carries vital information, protecting friendly troops, capturing or eliminating an enemy leader, or delivery of friendlies or cargo to a drop zone. Between each level cut-scenes developing the story take place.
There are several kinds of enemies, from foot soldiers armed with rifles to powerful anti-aircraft systems and enemy helicopters. Generally the player has no backup, and must deal with the opponents on his own, though both Soviet Strike and Nuclear Strike incorporate missions involving large amounts of allies.
The player can lose a game in several ways; by losing all his lives or through an action that makes a mission impossible to complete. These include destroying a mission critical object, killing someone who was to be captured or rescued, killing too many friendlies, allowing an objective to leave the battlefield, failing to protect a friendly target from being captured or destroyed, destroying your home base or landing zones, or waiting too long to complete a mission objective. After such an occurrence, the player must return to his home base and the level restarts from the beginning. In Soviet Strike and Nuclear Strike, if a player fails to return they are warned to return to base and after three warnings, STRIKE shuts down the players vehicle and the level will be restarted.
The series was militaristic in nature, with each enemy sprite having a corresponding information section in the pause menu, relating details of the real world weapon (or a fictionalised version, in the case of non-existent weapons, such as the Mohican helicopter from Urban Strike). The next generation titles, Soviet Strike and Nuclear Strike, featured plots based heavily on present day geopolitics, such as the instability of post-USSR states, or tensions at the DMZ between North and South Korea. However, in contrast, the games often displayed a quirky sense of humour, featuring numerous appearances by Elvis and even Santa Claus, as well as wisecracks from the player character in the earlier games (in Urban Strike, the player's character, on being told the villain is an evil genius, comments: 'Great, another evil genius. Why can't I ever fight an evil idiot?') Although ostensibly serious in nature, the games were often quite tongue-in-cheek in their execution.
|Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf||1992-2006||Amiga, DOS, Macintosh, Master System, Atari Lynx, Game Gear, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Genesis/Mega Drive, SNES, PSP|
|Jungle Strike||1993-2006||Amiga, DOS, Game Gear, Game Boy, Mega Drive/Genesis, SNES, Amiga CD32, PSP|
|Urban Strike||1994-1996||Mega Drive/Genesis, SNES, Game Gear, Game Boy|
|Soviet Strike||1996-2010||PlayStation, PlayStation Network, Sega Saturn|
|Nuclear Strike||1997-2009||Nintendo 64, PC, PlayStation, PlayStation Network|
The final cut-scene of Nuclear Strike includes a trailer for the next game in the series, Future Strike, including shots of a mech robot called 'Warrior' that could turn into a helicopter. Future Strike was never released, but that development of the game evolved into Future Cop: LAPD, which features gameplay similar to the previous Strike games and a mech robot like the one seen in the Future Strike trailer that can turn into police hovercar.
Possible New Series
Two new trademark filings for Desert Strike were made in late November have been discovered on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's website by Fusible. These list EA as the company filing for them but provide no additional information of substance or interest.
- Next Generation 21 (September 1996), p.64.
- Strike series at MobyGames
- Soviet Strike at SegaSaturn.co.uk
- Racketboy podcast about the Strike series