Guide to It Came from the Desert


It Came from the Desert features (somewhat) non-linear game play. You have a certain level of control over what events you see and which mini-games you play. Unfortunately it's very easy to get sidetracked and wind up in a position where it's impossible to finish. The first time I played through I made every effort to avoid the tunnels because they were a pain, turns out they're extremely mandatory. To win the game there are several key tasks you need to accomplish:

If done right you can win the game as early as the end of Day 5.

Day 1

The main objective of Day 1 is to get as deep into the ant tunnels as possible. Along the way there are a few encounters to advance the storyline.


The day begins in the Lab. Doc asks you to go out to Borax and re-enable his radiation sensor grid.

Borax Saloon

Go to the Borax Saloon and choose Strength.

Meet the trainer

You'll be introduced to the trainer. You'll need to visit him again on Day 2 to learn the forward flip.

Ant mines - level 1

After visiting the trainer you'll fall into the ant mine tunnels. Get as far as you possibly can. To win the game you need to get down to the third set of tunnels and see the force field protecting the queen. The first set of tunnels look like a mine. Keep going through until you reach the elevator to the next tunnel depth.

Ant mines - level 2

The next stage is a dark blue cave. Even without learning the forward flip you should still be able to reach this level. Luckily, if you're captured you will be returned to the deepest level you reached next time you re-enter.

Ant mines - level 3

It will be tough to get to the third, red, level of the tunnels. At this point the ants and zombies are moving quickly and often seem to come out of nowhere.

Force field

Keep going until you see the force field.

Get captured

Once you see it let yourself get captured.

If you don't make it this far on Day 1 that's OK, you will have several chances on Day 2 and Day 3.

Go to Lud's Ammo

Next go to Lud's Ammo.

Dialog with cop

On the way you'll be stopped by the Sheriff and have a strange dialog.

Dialog with Lud

Your first meeting with Lud is a little rough but as the game advances he comes over to your side.

Three scenes at the lab

Return to the Lab, you should see a total of three sequences with Doc and receive the two-way communicators.

Another dialog at the lab

If you made it down to the force field then there's a fourth dialog where he tells you to find three transponders. I actually have no idea where or how you find these, maybe by beating mini-games? By Day 5 Doc somehow has them so it doesn't matter.

Back at home

You automatically return home for a fight with your parents.

Shooting game at the foundry

After that, go to Foundry. There will be a brief dialog followed by an easy shooting game. When that's done visit whichever destination you like to wrap-up the first day.

Day 2

If you did not reach the force field on Day 1 then that needs to be the focus of Day 2. At the end of the day you need to visit the Borax Saloon to learn the forward flip.

Day 2 starts in the lab

Day 2 begins with Doc explaining his theory about the ant mind.

Choose destination

Go to the Mine Shaft if you need to advance further in the tunnels. If you've already made it down to the force field then go wherever.

Ant battle

After visiting a couple of places you'll automatically hit an overhead battle.

Choose next destination

If you advanced to the force field on the last tunnel run then return to the Lab.

Talk to the sheriff

Otherwise, go talk to the Sheriff then visit the Power Plant.

Select don't run

At the Power Plant you'll have a run-in with one of the workers then be given a choice to run. Choose Don't Run of course.

Overhead battle

Win the ensuing overhead battle.

Back at the lab

You'll automatically go back to the Lab for another dialog with Doc.

Look at the TV

Next you'll automatically return home. Look at the TV, this sort of helps the ending make sense when you get there.

Go back to Borax

Go back to Borax.

Learn the forward leap

Return to the Saloon and select Strength to learn the forward flip. This will make it much, much easier to get through the tunnels if you haven't made it to the force field yet.

Day 3

There are two goals for Day 3 - get to the force field in the tunnels if you haven't and give Sonny one of the two-way communicators you received from Doc.

Day 3 begins at home

Day 3 begins at home.

Go to Sonny's

Go to Sonny's first.


You'll give him one of the two-way communicators.

Choose destination

If you haven't made it to the force field, go to Borax and enter the tunnels, otherwise go to the Atomic Plant for another overhead battle, do not return to the lab at this point.

Select lab

After the tunnels or overhead battle return to the Lab.

Learn about tunnel under lab

Doc informs you that there's a tunnel under the lab which you are automatically sent to. If you've already made it down to the force field then just get captured right away and be done with it.

Return home

After that you return home, look at the TV if you want to but it's not required.

Choose destination

If you made it to the force field on the last tunnel run then go back to the Lab. Otherwise go to Prissy's for a dialog about her sister acting weird.

Choose destination

After talking to Prissy you have another choice. Go to the Foundry for another overhead battle or Atomic Plant to enter the tunnels if you need to take another stab at them.

Day 4

Day 4 is your last chance to reach the force field. If you've already been there then Day 4 is pretty light.

Day 4 starts in the lab

Day 4 begins in the Lab where Doc recaps the locations that provide access to the tunnels. You then immediately enter the tunnel under the lab.

Doc tells you the reflector has been stolen

After the fight Doc informs you that his reflector was stolen.

Choose destination

Go to Sonny's first. After that select the Foundry or Mine to enter tunnels.

Shooting game at the Sheriff's

If you don't need to make another tunnel run then go to the Sheriff's for another shooting game.

Go to Lud's Ammo

After that go to Lud's Ammo.

Choose destination

After the dialog with Lud go to the Lab if you finally reached the force field, otherwise go to either the Borax Saloon or Channel 14 to waste time.

Leave home

Back at home you can watch TV or listen to the radio, doesn't matter what you choose here.

Go to the lab

Next go back to the Lab.


At the lab you'll see a nice map illustrating the areas to protect.

Choose destination

After visiting the lab you have another choice of destination. Go to Prissy's for another dialog with her, go to the Foundry for a shooting game, or go to Channel 14 for an overhead battle.

Day 5

Day 5 kicks-off the home stretch of the game. By the end of the day you should have the force field protecting the queen disabled. If you're really good, you can even finish her off today.

TV sequence

The day starts with a TV sequence. After that choose the Power Plant or Atomic Plant for an overhead battle, choose the Atomic Cafe for a shooting game, or go to the Lab for a brief dialog. After going to the lab you have to choose one of the others anyway so it's a bit pointless.

Go to the lab

After the overhead battle or shooting game it's time to choose a destination again. This time go back to the Lab.

Doc explains the plan

Doc will now give an explanation of ants' plan.

Choose destination

The other three destinations are still available after your lab visit. Choose Prissy's for a shooting game, choose Channel 14 for a dialog, or choose Lud's for an overhead battle.

Shooting game at home

After all that you return home for a shooting game.

Overhead battle at lab

Head over to the Lab. Doc is in some trouble. There's an overhead battle you should be able to win easily. The only thing to watch out for is that a new hole opens mid-battle near the top-right one, don't be standing too close when it does.

After the battle you find a note from Doc. And, if you've done everything right, you will receive message from Doc that the force field has been disabled.

Go to the Atomic Plant

Go to the Atomic Plant to enter the tunnels and hopefully finish the game.

Fighting the queen

Advance to the queen's lair and kill her.

Blue tunnel

If you lose you'll wind up in the light blue tunnel. Compared to the red tunnel this is a piece of cake, just shoot the slow-moving ants and leap past the zombies. Whenever you enter the tunnels from now on you'll arrive directly at the queen's lair.

End of Day 5

If you didn't win the game then Day 5 ends with a difficult shooting game.

Day 6

Day 6 and beyond are all about killing the queen. Enter the tunnels and go after her every chance you get. The shooting games and overhead battles get harder as time progresses so it's in your best interest to finish as quickly as possible.

Near the end

If the force field hasn't been disabled yet then go to Sonny's first thing on Day 6. Later in the day you'll receive a message from him indicating that he's disabled the field. Otherwise just head over to the Atomic Plant for another shot at the queen.

And that's it for the walkthrough - just keep going to locations with tunnel access until you kill the queen, anything else is simply a distraction. The ants will nuke the city if you take too long (Day 8 for sure unless you lose several mini-games then it can happen almost any time).

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