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Screenshots from the best game of all time, the cult classic "Desert Duel" from 1996

Bipedal carp victory stance after killing major bad guy

Bipedal carp standoff against one million bad guy

Bipedal carp combat stance against bad guy

Desert ocean

Rocket sunfish takeoff

DESERT DUEL was jointly developed by American and Russian programmers Brandon and Shura, respectively. Due to its niche design, it was only ever officially published in some parts of Europe, but has made its way to North America through warez CDs. Initial sales of Desert Duel were poor due to it running too slowly on 486 computers; the target audience was slower to adopt P5-based CPUs such as Intel Pentium, AMD K6, and Cyrix 6x86.

Desert Duel is an isometric run 'n' gun game that follows the story of a carp that was stranded in the middle of a desert on the remote moon Ghojor, presumably displaced from a river by a brutal storm. Just as he is within the clutches of certain death, a survival mechanism activates that makes him grow new limbs for running across the bleak sand and handling objects vital to his continued endurance. It is an existential thriller. Everyone is out to kill the carp for an unknown reason, and he must constantly fight for his life, but he also asks himself why he is doing it. Is he driven only by his natural response to predators, or is there something else at play?

As the carp fires away at the invasion of ten million bad guys, he eventually learns the truth of his existence as a creation of a software program, and now only seeks vengeance in despair of learning his rigid purpose etched by a programmer - he was a test run for a cloning template that could be used to dominate any planet or moon in the universe.

The game is a hell of a lot of fun to play. Unlike most games where your enemies are clear cut, obviously evil demons, Nazis, rogue robots, aliens, or dragons, Desert Duel puts you up against vague enemies and really makes you question why you're fighting them. Are you fighting living matter, or just holograms? That is something you have to decide for yourself! Share your high scores on the Glass and Smoke forums