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Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf

aka: Apache AHX: Desert Madman, Desert Strike, Desert Strike Advance, Desert Strike: Wangan Sakusen

Description official descriptions

The first game in the Strike series. A year after the Gulf War, a self-styled general named Kilbaba (Muababa in the GBA version) takes over an Arab Emirate and threatens to start World War III against his western enemy, the United States. The whole world holds its breath as the President has chosen you to destroy Kilbaba and his terrorist army before he launches a nuclear attack on the world!

You must fly a specially designed AH-64A Apache on a series of missions to rescue missing-in-action characters, destroy power plants, blow apart SCUD missiles, etc. to take out the enemy defense while trying to find out Kilbaba's plans.

The player controls the helicopter from an overhead, isometric perspective. The Apache is equipped with three weapon types: a machine gun and two types of missiles of different strength. During the missions, the player must beware anti-aircraft guns, missile launchers and tanks, outmaneuvering enemy fire or destroying the enemy weaponry. The Apache is destroyed if its fuel runs out, or if the armor (functioning as health) is completely depleted. However, armor can be replenished by bringing back MIA soldiers and prisoners of war back to the landing zone. There are also fuel, ammo and armor pickups available on the field.


  • デザートストライク 湾岸作戦 - Japanese spelling

Groups +



Credits (Genesis version)

62 People (55 developers, 7 thanks) · View all

Game Design
Additional Art
Sound and Music
Technical Director
Apache 3-D Model
Additional 3-D Models
Production Assistant
Script and Documentation
Product Manager
Package Design
Package Illustration
Product Testing
Product Mastering
Quality Assurance
Documentation Layout
Documentation Layout (Mise en page de la documentation [EU])
[ full credits ]



1001 Video Games

Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


The design of the Apache in Desert Strike is not what it really is in real life. The tail rotor in back from the game is circular with the tail blades in cased like a circle, with the wing piece placed on top. The actual military design has the tail rotor looking more simple, with the tail blades attached freely, with the wing piece placed on the bottom.

Simply, the design is more different and it is likely due to legal reasons or game design.


The game was pulled from some shelves in the UK because of numerous references to the gulf war 1990.


Before being released, Desert Strike was previously going to be named Apache AHX: Desert Madman. The name-change was probably to connect the game more with Operation Desert Storm from the Gulf War, which the game is inspired by.


The name of the madman, Gen. Kibaba, is extremely funny. In the Swahili language, properly 'Ki-Swahili,' the word kibaba means a traditional measuring container of the type used for grain -- millet, for example. You can see this in the common saying "Haba na haba hijaza kibaba," which means "Little by little the grain measuring container fills up." This is equivalent to a piece of advice to take things slowly and be patient. In other words, the madman's name is approximately "Gen. Measuring Cup."


The allied pilots shot down will attempt to evade, but if the bad guys approach, the pilots will shoot back! You can watch, but you're supposed to be rescuing them...


George Bush, president of the US at the time Desert Strike was first released, along with his wife Barabra show up in the game ending sequence.


  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 02/1994 – #2 Best Action Game in 1993 (Readers' Vote)

Information also contributed by 88 49, Richard Daives, Ricky Derocher and Robbb

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Related Sites +

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 1461


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Macintrash.

Genesis, SNES, Game Boy Advance added by Kartanym. SEGA Master System added by Robbb. Lynx, Game Gear added by Terok Nor. Amiga, BlackBerry added by MAT. Game Boy added by quizzley7.

Additional contributors: Kartanym, Kasey Chang, Sciere, Robbb, formercontrib, j.raido 【雷堂嬢太朗】, Patrick Bregger, Rik Hideto, Victor Vance, Jo ST, FatherJack.

Last modified March 15th, 2023.