Desperados - Wanted Dead or Alive

a game by Infogrames
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 1 vote
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Yeeeee Haaaaaawww! Saddle up them horses, boys and girls, we ride at dawn. Strap on your six-shooter, grab your duster and sharpen those spurs because I’ve got some wild wild west fun for you. What do you get when you combine Commandos with saloon girls, poker tables and tumbleweeds? You get the great new game from Infogrames called Desperados.

The year is 1881 and the Railroad Company Twinnings & Co is having troubles with hold-ups and ambushes on its rail line. They are offering a bounty of 15,000 dollars to anyone who can put an end to the raids. But no one in the town of El Paso has the guts to put a stop to the banditos, except for you, the famous bounty hunter John Cooper. Desperados comes packed with 25 missions that will test your brains and nerve and have you staying up till the wee hours of the morning. You’ll find yourself in unique environments that bring the wild west alive, such as a saloon, steamboat, jail, gold mine and a ghost town. Just remember the posse that slays together, stays together.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

Anyone who has played Commandos will instantly feel at home with Desperados simply because its gameplay is just like that in the Commandos series. Your view is a top down view that lets you see your characters and the map that you are playing. Using your arrow keys or the mouse you can scroll all over the entire map. Most actions are done with the simple point and click, but it is highly recommended that you learn the quick keys otherwise you’ll be pushing daisies in the town cemetery real quick.

Each mission in the game usually has a tutorial that comes before it so you can try out each new character and all of his actions without having your head handed to you. I must point out that this is one of the finer points of the game. It’s really nice to be able to figure out how the character plays before having to go face an entire town of really mad cowboys who really want to fill you full of holes.

Desperado has six characters that are introduced throughout the game and each one has his or her own unique abilities that will help you make it through the mission. I also really enjoyed the different missions -- some will require you to be stealthy, the very next one might have you rescuing somebody and then after that you just might have to go in all guns blazing. I never once felt like I was repeating a mission because each one has different objectives and a totally different look. First time players will also enjoy the mini movie at the start of the mission -- it lays out all the objectives that must be completed in order for the mission to be successful and also gives you a look at the entire map so you know what to expect.

What really brings Desperados alive is the full motion video that is played at certain points of the game/story; it really sucks you in and makes you want to play even more. My cousin had a good laugh at me because at one point we were going through a mission that required stealth. I was creeping up on a guard getting ready to draw a smiley face across his neck with my knife when all of a sudden my cousin started talking and I turned and said "shhhhhhhhhh" to him -- you know the game has drawn you in when worried about being heard in the real world.

Experienced players will appreciate the challenge of Desperados because some missions have so many guards and civilians that it is tough to move without being heard, let alone seen. You also have to find the right combination of characters to finish the mission. You might have to use John Cooper to knock someone out, but then you have to use one of your other characters to tie him up so he doesn’t get away.

Originality / Cool Features

There are a couple of really cool features that I want to share with you that made me very pleased. The first is the Quick Action function, which is way cool in my book. What this lets you do is save an action, such as shooting someone. Instead of clicking on your gun icon and then clicking on the bad guy you want to kill you just hit your quick key button and the action is carried out. This comes in handy when you don’t have time to do all that pointing and clicking.

The other cool feature that made me laugh till my sides ached was the ability to jump out of a second story window onto the saddle of my horse. I would clear a section of the map so there was no one around and try that over and over, it was great!!!


The graphics for each map are awesome, as is the attention to detail. They did a wonderful job of recreating scenes of the wild west. You’ll find hitching posts to tie your horses to, old run down shacks that have seen better days, big rows of cornfields to sneak through and of course we can’t forget saloons that have the vivacious saloon gals inside. The colors in the game are very vibrant and bring out the most in each map. The mission that has you rescuing Doc, one of your characters in the game, is a good example. The mission is set in the middle of the day so it looks like the sun is beating down hard. The ground has the dry dusty look to it that will make you think it hasn’t rained in months. All of the buildings look like they need a fresh coat of paint because of the scorching sun beating down. The whole thing has a dusty gritty feel to it that lets you know this is unforgiving land.

Now for the downside. I didn’t like how the characters were done in the game, they seem too small to really appreciate the detail that I know they put into them. Trying to adjust the screen resolution helps a little but not enough for my liking. I realize that if they had made the characters in the game bigger they would have seemed disproportionate to the buildings but they just needed to be a tad bigger. Other than that I have no complaints because the graphics do what they are supposed to do, make you feel like you in the wild west fighting for your very survival.


Infogrames did a great job with the music in the game. It always seemed to match up with what was going on at the time. During tense moments in the game, the music would also tense up which put me even more on the edge than I was before. However, the voices for the characters in the game become very repetitive. Each character in John Cooper’s posse has three or four lines that are said over and over again when they are commanded to perform a certain action, so it gets old real fast. At one point I was wishing I could gag my players instead of the bad guys. I found myself laughing at certain points in the game when I would hear civilians in the game talking about the bad guys. A cowboy would stumble upon someone I had killed and he would say " He’s not moving." Hmmm, what gave him that idea? Maybe because I stabbed and killed him, hahaha.

System Requirements

PII 266 MHz or AMD K-6 processor or higher, 64 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM or faster, SVGA-640x480 with 16 Bit Color video card, and Win 95B, Win98, Win ME, or Win 2000.


A quick note to players. No quick-key card is included in the game so I had to make my own. The type print in the manual is too small to use the quick-key section.

Bottom Line

I’ve been waiting for a fun challenging strategy game that had the same feel as Commandos for quite some time. Desperados fills the order and then some. If you are looking for a game that will actually make you think instead of just shooting anything that moves then you better saddle up your horse and ride down to your local software store because Desperados is the game for you. Patience is a virtue when playing Desperados, so if you have very little of it you’ll probably want to look elsewhere for a game. On that note I’ll give Desperados a score of 80/100. The reason the score isn’t higher is because in the second mission of the game I found the subject matter of race not too politically correct for the times we live in. Other than that, this game is as pretty and fun as those vivacious saloon gals that I love so much.

I’m off to capture me some train robbers, but please don’t tell my wife that I wear her cowboy hat when playing this game because she’ll never let me live it down.

Download Desperados - Wanted Dead or Alive


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP