Friday, 2 September 2016

Missed Classic: Antheads: It Came From the Desert II - Three Antheads are better than one

Written by TBD

Brick Nash Journal Entry: I've come to Lizard Breath to try to save everyone from a lethal atomic bomb test, but most of the people are against me. Hell, half of them aren't even people anymore. I've found out that there's a secret area in the hospital that might help me sort out this mess, but how do I get it?

When last we met our hero, Brick Nash, he'd gotten info from Biff and Dusty then went to mine M3 looking for information before getting pummeled by an FBI agent and sent to the hospital.

The action games are the same as It Came From the Desert 1 with one addition we'll get to later.

I can attempt to escape from hospital, but if I fail...

The hospital escape - still a great little action sequence

Before putting me under sedation, the nurse reminds me to behave myself because I don't want Dr Antoine giving me “the treatment!” Sounds appropriately ominous – I'm intrigued.

Thanks to the miracle of modern emulators I'm able to save and reload whenever I want in this game. So let's assume I did escape hospital and get to continue with my day.

But first, a short and unnecessary visit to the local fortune teller. This one's for you, Dehumanizer!

Ida, the only woman in this game that I won't end up kissing

Visiting Dusty at work has her telling me about what happened last time the ants appeared. She then gives me a gun, a kiss and a geiger counter.

As in the first game, I have multiple ways to find most pieces of information. When I wake up on day two Biff gives me the good news.

Elmer told me yesterday that they'd never find it! Note to self: Never go on Elmer's team for a game of hide-and-seek

I call Dusty at the radio station who tells me the same thing. I visit Bert at the Lizard Breath Star newspaper and he tells me the same thing. I even see Ida the fortune teller ,

So your crystal ball tells me the same thing everyone else in town has. I fear your powers!

Ida also tells me that a young boy has information I need and someone with the initials BB is not himself and needs sugar.

I find the young boy in Dr Wells' old destroyed lab.

Billy has Polio. I love that the game doesn't make a big deal about it.

Billy's by far the most useful person in town. He's always with his dad, who is not nearly as smart as him and keeps telling his son to stop bothering me with his crazy theories.

Billy's doing a report on Dr. Wells, and promising to one day prove that he was right about these A-bomb tests irradiating the town

He also found some notes in the rubble which all refer to a bigger notebook about the effects of radiation on harvester ants. More importantly, finding that notebook will also help me avoid jail time if it can prove the bomb tests are harmful and my actions have saved many lives.

Dad's not helpful, just telling his son to stop talking about ants because it can't happen again. I would have thought if it's happened once it's proved it's possible and therefore can definitely happen again. Is this the first game where the guy wearing glasses is an idiot?

Ida's advice about finding a young boy was on the money. What about her second piece of advice? Someone with the initials BB. I remember Billy Bob, the crazy guy from Neptune Hall from the first game. Let's pay him a visit.

New action sequence: Antheads!!!

If you think the flashing is off-putting, you should hear the awful shrieking noise he makes!

This is the one new action sequence in this game. It's a simple variation of the ant versus pistol fight. It's actually a bit easier as the character in this sequence doesn't move whereas the ants walk across the screen randomly. You don't have much time though so you do have to be fairly accurate.

If I fail to shoot his antennae off in time, my screen goes red and I wake up in hospital. The nurse tells me that I've been hit by some kind of sonic wave and I have to accept treatment or escape.

If I succeed at shooting off his antennae he morphs back into a human and tells me that the number 45 keeps going through his head, and that there's a special vault in the hospital that contains important files. Two vital pieces of information - score!

When I enter the map screen each day I get an update from the radio describing what's happening with the manhunt or the ants...

...and also tells a continuing coming-of-age story about Hattie McCloskey

The game of 'chicken' with Ice and the Hellcats is back. Shouldn't these morons have grown up a bit in the past five years?

I didn't get anything useful from the farms in this sequel. Each time I bothered to visit a farm I just got a story about something mysteriously taking cows or I had to fight ants. Or after a few days, had a farmer attack me with a knife.

Everyone wants to fight me in this game. Unlike the first game, where the knife fight is only with Ice or on one possible occasion Billy-Bob, average farmers and people at the pub want to stab me now. They've been hearing the news about how dangerous I am and want to dispense their own form of justice.

On day 2 I found out that Jackie was in hospital. I find out why if I'm home at the right time on day 1, when Jackie comes over to tell me she wrecked her car. I can help her and get into a knife fight with her boyfriend Ice, but the most interesting thing about Jackie's visit is that she was looking for Dusty before being surprised to see me instead. This is the first indication that this is actually Dusty's house. Now I know why Biff always seemed to be here in the first game as well as this one. Antheads definitely gives us more story than the first game, which I appreciate.

Knowing that Jackie's been in hospital makes me suspect she's gotten 'the treatment' so I'm not surprised when she comes to my door early on day 3 asking for candy.

Even a half-woman is woman enough for Brick Nash

She turns into an anthead and I succeed in shooting off her antennae. She turns back into a human, asks me to kiss her (I oblige) and tells me something interesting and obviously useful

These numbers are clearly very important.

On my next visit to the University Lab Billy gives me some more information

In five years nobody's bothered to clean up this lab. The ants must have also eaten the University's janitor.

Dr. Wells had suspected a second ant queen, and five years ago some ant eggs were stored in the basement of the hospital for further study.

This is where the story gets beyond ridiculous. And I swear I am not making this up:

When the ants crashed my truck before the start of the game it wasn't random carnage - it was a deliberate ambush! They took the stolen plutonium to the queen to activate her. Then she called to the hospital's eggs using psychokinetic power. Dr. Wells also theorised that the ants might be able to take over a human being from the inside but leave the outside the same and that's somehow an offshoot of the psychokinectic stuff.

Billy also gives me a useful prize

I wonder if Cinemaware got paid for this product placement?

I don't think the pez dispenser is really necessary. In conversation I get the option to "Pez 'em" but if I keep talking to a suspected Anthead they always seem to turn anyway.

By this point in the game, talking to people becomes extremely dangerous. Because I'm officially a criminal and my description and face has been circulated around town, after a few days almost everyone is against me apart from a few main characters. Going to either the mayor or the police station ends up with me beaten up and in hospital. Doesn't this place have jail cells?

Fortunately, getting sent to the hospital does give me some important plot information. If I flirt with and kiss the nurse, she decides she can trust me. She tells me about people coming in seriously injured and leaving the next day totally cured but with a strange look on their face. She also tells me about a blood drive going on and that the blood is taken to a mysterious off-limits vault room in the basement next to the morgue.

When questioned further she tells me that the records of all patients who've gone through 'the treatment' is also in this vault, but the combination is a closely guarded secret.

Aha! Now I know when Jackie and Billy Bob remembered a mysterious number.

Now, I can get information about the vault from various sources but the nurse gives me all the details, except for the combination itself.

As we've already noted, every time you shoot the antennae of an anthead they remember a number. The three numbers are different in each game, so I'm not allowed to use past game information to finish the game on day 1.

Like the first game, the ants gradually take over the town. On one of my visits to the lab, I first had to fight a horde of ants while Billy and his Dad were yelling for help.

This action sequence is the same as the first game. Just lob grenades at the ants and kill enough of them before you run out
 After killing the ants, I got some more info.

Does this kid only look for one page a day or something?

Next time I visit Billy Bob, he's no longer wearing his crazy guy outfit, but he seems even crazier in a regular suit.

I liked this guy better as a bug...

Brick and I on the same page when it comes to Billy Bob

If you lose to ants, antheads or knives too often, you get to meet the new doctor...


Around day 8 most of the town's either against me or an anthead, or destroyed by giant ants. At least I can rely on Dusty to be on my side

Aw, crap!

Dusty transforms into an anthead. After shooting Dusty's antennae she gives me the third number I need. Let's get to action!

With my 3 numbers committed to memory (or spreadsheet) I decided to break into the hospital for a change. The first level of the hospital is easy. Nobody stops me and I can explore at my leisure.

But when I go downstairs the alarm sounds and everyone's after me. I make my way to the room with a safe and try the combination using the instructions given in the manual. Fortunately the order of the numbers in the combination is coincidentally the exact same order that I happened to meet antheads who remembered a single number. What luck!

Just me in a wheelchair, an open and emptied safe and too many nurses and doctors

I now have the patient records and Wells' paper on radiation. The alarm changes tone, so I wait for an opening and roll away. I leave the hospital the same way I came in, but this time the alarm continues to sound on the ground floor so I have to use my well-practiced hospital escape skills to get out.

When I get out of the hospital, I'm treated to a spinning newspaper.

Forget the Antheads! I just want to read the article about Zoz Nilborc

And with that news out I'm suddenly given a lot more responsibility than anyone who's recently committed treason should really be given.

About bloody time.

And we'll leave it here for now.

Tune in next week for our final episode when I cheat to find an ant's nest, leave a little gift for the queen (probably a kiss seeing as how I've been dealing with most of the females in this game) and give the game my Final Rating!

Session time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Total time: 4 hours 10 minutes


  1. Thanks! I had the wrong game, after all. :)

    1. The games are similar enough that it's not surprising.

      Two Thumbs up for remembering the scene at all! :)