Helldorado is a tactical 3D strategy game set in the Wild West. It was originally designed as an expansion for Desperados 2: Cooper's Revenge but eventually became a stand-alone game. The player controls bounty hunter John Cooper, known from the previous Desperados games, leader of an illustrious gang of six, including Mexican bandit Sanchez, native American Hawkeye, former slave and demolitions expert Sam, saloon girl Kate and "Doc", although it is not quite clear whether he really is a doctor. Together they must combine their special abilities against a large number of outlaws and bandits in various Western settings.
The key to a successful strategy is to stay undetected. The player needs to avoid being spotted by enemies and should not raise an alarm. By combining stealth and hit-and-run tactics which may be planned in advance using so-called Quick Actions, the player can develop a strategy to win the objectives on each map. Each character has different abilities, strengths and weaknesses. There are 15 new skills based on teamwork which allow the characters to combine their skills.
The result of a successful strategy can be recorded and exported as a movie. There are also different approaches for each mission, and they are rewarded differently.
According to Andreas Speer, the game was originally developed as add-on for Desperados 2: Cooper's Revenge for publisher Atari Europe S.A.S.U.. Because Atari missed three milestone payments, they agreed to stop their relationship and Spellbound received the rights to use the already developed assets for own projects. Helldorado (called this way because Spellbound did not gain the rights to the Desperados name) was the result.