Sega Genesis box cover

In Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf, a madman has suddenly appeared in the Middle East with enough military firepower to fulfill his threats of causing Armageddon. The President of the United States has chosen the player to carry out a series of missions against this "General" Kilbaba to vanquish him and his threats.

The game was originally created and released by Electronic Arts for the Sega Genesis in 1992. Ports to other platforms followed afterwards.


The player flies an Apache chopper over several terrains, with specific missions to fulfill over four campaigns. The player must keep their chopper stocked with ammo, along with maintaining their fuel and armor levels to deal with the enemy efficiently.

Being hit by enemy fire weakens the player's armor (which starts at 600 units), and once the player's armor (as well as fuel) level is reduced to zero, they will lose that chopper. The player has three choppers per campaign and the game will end when they have no more reserve choppers.

Basic operationsEdit

Along with completing a set amount of different missions per campaign, there are also several other tasks that the player can fulfill along the way to completing levels.

One task in general is rescuing M. I. A.s along the way -- stranded, "friendly" armed forces personnel -- as each one adds 100 units to the player's armor when they land at a friendly landing zone (except for the first campaign, which they are worth 150 units each then). There are also certain enemy infantry personnel that the player can pick up as well (as long as they are not armed) and drop off at a landing zone, which they will also add to the player's armor once they disembark from the Apache.

Players also need to keep on the lookout for fuel, ammo and weapons caches, along with destroying enemy buildings and camps. The player can comb through information culled from their battle map in regards to specific targets (friendly and enemy) as they maneuver throughout a zone. Some objects will not appear on the battle map unless they are revealed first (i. e. fuel drums, ammo, enemy personnel, etc. won't appear if they are in a building until the player destroys it).


Each campaign has several missions to complete in order to advance to the next one. The player has three chances/lives per campaign in order to try to get past it. There are certain times per campaign where if a player does the wrong thing then they will have to start the mission over.

Missions do not have to be done in order, although sometimes it is better that way to do so (i. e. when a mission calls for enemy radars to be destroyed, it makes it harder for enemy craft and batteries to lock onto the player's chopper afterwards, so it is usually a good idea to take out any radar installations first if a mission calls for it).

The player can scroll through mission objectives for information, along with reading about them in the instruction book that was included with the game upon initial release, except for missions three through eight of the final campaign, which those are not identified until the player starts going through the campaign and unlocking it bit by bit.

Campaign 1: Air SuperiorityEdit

In this campaign, the player needs to

  • Destroy two radar sites
  • Destroy the power plant in the area
  • Bomb the enemy airfields
  • Find and rescue a secret agent
  • Destroy enemy command centers

Campaign 2: Scud BusterEdit

  • Destroy radar sites
  • Help break out and rescue political prisoners held in several jails
  • Destroy the area's power station
  • Destroy chemical weapons complex
  • Destroy Scud launchers/headquarters and capture Scud commanders
  • Rescue P. O. W.s held in camps/take out guarding forces surrounding camps

Campaign 3: Embassy CityEdit

  • Rescue U. N. Inspectors
  • Destroy biological weapons complex/capture enemy lead chemists
  • Destroy underground missile silos and/or missiles before they are launched
  • Rescue friendly forces pilots lost at sea
  • Destroy area power station
  • Rescue prisoners from madman's yacht
  • Capture enemy ambassador/destroy all command centers
  • Rescue 12 embassy officials held captive, then provide cover for them as they flee the area

Campaign 4: Nuclear StormEdit

  • Protect oil fields by airlifting commandos hiding in a bunker by destroying nearby enemy tanks
  • Stop oil spills by destroying openly flowing pipelines
  • Rescue civilians that are being tortured from underground bomb shelters
  • There are garbage trucks that are hauling bomb parts, which must be destroyed (there are decoy trucks that are hauling actual garbage too, which those must NOT be shot down)
  • Destroy the madman's nuclear weapons plant and cooling towers and capture nuclear scientist
  • Destroy the area power station
  • Destroy the madman's presidential palace, then drop off your copilot to capture him so the player will be led to the madman's bomber
  • Unfortunately the above turned out to be a trap, which the player's copilot was captured and led to the madman's bomber, which the bomber will have to be destroyed or else the madman will be able to start World War 3 if the bomber is allowed to take off

If the player is able to beat the game by accomplishing all of the above, the end cinema gives a congratulatory screen of being honored by what appears to be an image of (then) U. S. President George and First Lady Barbara Bush.

Controls, in-gameEdit

  • Move chopper--D-pad or joystick
  • Jink--hold button A in combination with D-pad or joystick
  • Fire hellfire missiles--button A
  • Hydra missiles--button B
  • Chain guns--button C
  • Pause/check map/start game--Start button

(The above are default controls and can be changed [except for pause] before the start of a game.)

Map/mission controlsEdit

  • View map--button A
  • View mission objectives/targets and duties to be found and carried out in current mission--button B
  • View mission status--button C
  • Cycle through the above--any button, then D-pad or joystick left and right to cycle through details

Amiga versionEdit

Game BoyEdit

Game Boy AdvanceEdit




Sega Master SystemEdit



  • The version for the Genesis's instruction book came with a walkthrough of the entire first campaign, along with tips and requirements for completing all other campaigns, except for the last one, which only has the first two missions outlined, which the player has to complete those to unlock the rest of the missions.
  • This was the beginning of a trio of Strike games for several platforms, as the sequels of Jungle Strike and Urban Strike were also released, along with Nuclear Strike and Soviet Strike, although the latter two did not get released on as wide a basis as with Desert Strike.

Needs info on non-Genny versions!

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