It never ceases to amaze how the simple ideas evolve in gaming. Lost Vikings back in the mid 90s was a pioneer of strategy games, so much so, it was one of the first of its kind to sell well on the consoles, in what was previously thought an untouchable demographic for the genre. The same can be said of earlier strategy relative Cannon Fodder – making its name on the familiar Amiga before branching out into 16 bit console versions. Helldorado, the true sequel to the Desperados franchise, takes a lot of its core from these two legendary titles.
Strategy is the name of the game here and whilst you can emulate your Hollywood heroes by storming in with all guns blazing, some careful planning and neat moves can save you a lot of bullets and subsequently a whole lot of loading. Indicators give you an anacronym of modern-day infra-red views over this historic setting. This enables you to plan your raids with the enemy’s sightline and you can even nose in on conversations if you get close enough – a neat touch. Sound as such can be a valuable tool with Cooper’s musical watch having an adjustable pitch setting, so you can choose who hears what.
In terms of gameplay, for the keen strategist, it’s very enticing. The more of a control freak you are, the more success you’re likely to have, for this is a game that rewards in-depth planning. Like the best games, there are multiple methods of skinning the proverbial cat. There is also a graphically impressive 1st Person Mode, though it isn’t particularly useful in the grand scheme of things and should be used to perform specifically challenging tasks. It is not dissimilar to the one in strategy classic, Dungeon Keeper.