Desert Thunder is an arcade-style action tank game for the PC. Ripped from today’s headlines, the storyline immerses players into the heat of a desert-based military conflict. Players will tear through desert, urban and industrial settings in their experimental battle engine, the Abrams M1A6 Advanced tank that’s loaded with awe-inspiring devastating weapons and armored to near indestructibility. You are the commander of a top secret M1A6 experimental tank division in the Armor Task Force. Your mission was to lead the northern front of Operation Desert Thunder, a secret military operation to overthrow a terrorist faction that has taken control of a peaceful Middle Eastern country. Your mission has been compromised, your small battalion devastated. Left with no alternative, you must complete your mission to reach the capital city and rendezvous with allied forces.
You will find yourself driving through small areas, as you will be blocked off by the environment or minefields, shooting rocket wielding enemy soldiers and tanks, crushing rocks, and trying to avoid running into mines that are scattered everywhere. As you play you unlock different weapons that are mostly going to look like the cannon and machine gun fire you start with only with a larger radius, more damage, or faster fire rate. You can find powerups by destroying rocks and structures that will refill your health or get you more ammo. The graphics are extremely poor, environments are boring, and enemies aren't fun to fight. Checkpoints are frequent and dying will just restart you with full health so you never really have to worry about your health.
Desert Thunder is a game about a tank. No, it's not a tank simulator, neither as close as World of Tanks in the fun department, but it is a destruction fest arcade action game. I don't know what the story is about, it's one of those game in which you're presented with an objective at the beginning of a "mission" and no one bothers to pay attention. There is a sense of freedom, although you mostly play in corridor sections, and the destructibility is still impressive, even for such an old game (2003). A lot of explosions, not enough targets to shoot, not very impressive at all. I mean, people just stand there in the open shooting at a tank with rifles, that's not smart. Neat moments like air strikes and blowing up huge objects, like planes, buildings and walls, those come really rare and don't offer a lasting appeal. Power ups are incredibly helpful in the long run, so if you come across those, pick them up. Technically, I only encountered a couple of crashes, and maybe that's acceptable for such an old title. So, all in all, it's a mediocre title, worth having it in the library. You may never know when the internet goes out just when you need your dose of World of Tanks.
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