CommandosmeetsThe Magnificent Seven.The story takes place a little after the Civil War, in New Mexico, where the train robberies have gotten out of control, and the local Railroad Baron Mr. Smith wants something to be done about it. John Cooper, the bounty hunter, decides to take the job. Taking the short trip to Louisiana to recruit (or rather, save their asses from whatever trouble they gotten themselves into) his old partners Sam Williams, Doc McCoy and Kate O'Hara, and convincing the rather uncooperative Marshall to tell them who's responsible for the train robberies, they set off to catch the Sanchez, the local gang leader, and to collect the bounty.But things are hardly that simple...Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive has two less famous sequels, named Desperados 2: Cooper's Revenge and Helldorado.Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive packs almost every Western Trope and plays them straight.Not to be confused with Desperado.
The Alcatraz: Fortezza, where Sanchez is held in mission 13. It is a stone castle with a single iron gate and is guarded by an entire company of US Cavalry, who patrol every single spot on the map save the gang's starting point. Appropriately, it is That One Level, at least in parts.
Doc McCoy: "Goddamnit John, this place is the best guarded jail in these United States! We'll never get Sanchez out of there!"
All Men Are Perverts: All enemies are distracted by Kate's garter trick when not in alert mode, though some do not move from their position as a result.
Almost Lethal Weapons: Very much averted. The protagonists are just as mortal as the antagonists, and go down just as easy to bullets.
Awesome, but Impractical: Mia's poisoned Blow Gun. When a dart hits someone, the guys enters in a killing frenzy and shoots everywhere, sometimes killing other enemies if there are other people in the area (or being killed by his comrades in defense), then if still alive the madman is automatically stunned. There are A LOT of drawbacks: the blow gun can only be loaded with one dart at a time, it is the game weapon with the shortest range, the effect isn't immediate and an enemy hit by a dart immediatly turns from where the dart came and just has the time to shoot before becoming crazy so as the weapon has a very short range, the enemy won't miss and his shot will be lethal unless you use the blow gun while standing just in front of a door's building and have lightning-speed reflexes.
Bag of Spilling: Each missions starts with specific gear, even when the previous mission happened soon before. Particulary frustrating for the Eagle Nest and the following level : you find fifteen sticks of dynamite just at the end of the Eagle Nest (useful to disband an enemy counter-attack, although there is easier ways) and you begin the next mission (which occurs just after) with only one; same thing for Doc's gas bottles.
Elite Mooks: Demonios, who only show up in the third-and-second-to-last level and throw instantly fatal knives. Similarily, red coated, sharpshooting guards only show up in these levels, though their presence is given less fanfare. Same thing with the black suited banditos, who only show up during mission 20 and later.
Enemy Mine: One of the reasons because Sanchez joined the Cooper's gang.
Thankfully subverted in the ambush mission. The real mission is not to escort Tied-up Sanchez on the horse thru the hail of gunfire, but to kill the would-be ambushers. Played right and Sanchez will be never be seen by the enemy.
There is a straighter example in the "Magnificient Six" mission. Cooper's gang travels with Mia, who can't be controlled yet and always follow Kate. Which makes this example still a subversion is that the intended way to succeed is to hide Kate and Mia somewhere and clean the town with the rest of the team.
Falling Chandelier of Doom: One of these can be shot down by Doc in Marshal Jackson's hacienda, near the end of the level. It doesn't kill the enemy (the level requires a Pacifist Run, but it does knock them out cold.
Fat Bastard: The pink and blue shirted banditos. The latter of which are also rather cowardly.
Forced Tutorial: Each man of the gang has his/her own tutorial level, which is part of the campaign plot and unskippable. They come the level after each member is recruted: level 1 (Cooper), 3 (Sam), 5 (Doc), 7 (Kate), 14 (Sanchez) and 20 (Mia).
Foreign Cuss Word: The Mexicans characters sometimes shout "''Mierda'!" (Spanish for "Shit!").
Friendly Fireproof: Averted. The team is as vulnerable as the enemy to it's own explosions, Doc's gas grenades, and Sam' snake.
In spite of having quite possibly massacred the entire law enforcement population of several towns across the US, John doesn't dare kill the Marshal's deputies, and the gang gets pursued by the US Cavalry for the circumstancial murder of Mr Smith. Of course, Jackson had some influence, and quite likely staged the whole incident with Smith.
Some dialogs between missions make sense if Cooper's team sneaked in the various places without killing too many people but sounds a bit surreal if the player completed the mission by killing everyone. The extreme exemple is the Sanchez's gang, which might have been mercilessly slaughtered by the player during the mission where Cooper captures Sanchez; when freed from Fortezza Cooper and Sanchez agree to help each other and Cooper says later that he'll need Sanchez's gang. And then, back to Sanchez hideout, Sanchez's gang has been destroyed by El Diablo's men. Even if the gang has been previously destroyed by the player.
In the two Soccoro missions (the day and the following night), nevermind if the player killed or tied up everyone during the day mission, because every guards will be back for the night mission.
Gatling Good: With the original Gatling Gun. Sam and Sanchez can use them; Sanchez is able to carry them and fire from the waist.
Ghost Town: Deadstone, in the later part of the campaign.
Hostage Spirit Link: The death of a civilian causes the failure of the mission, which increases the difficulty (civilians tends to alert the enemies when they spot a corpse or see the heroes killing someone or drag a dead body). You can stun them and tie them up, though. Note: The mission is also failed if the enemy killed a civilian.
I Surrender, Suckers: A legitimate and rather useful if dangerous tactics. Enemies who spot an unarmed and motionless PC sometimes will not shoot right away but will instead draw a bead on him and slowly approach in order to knock the hero down. Naturally their approach route will just happen to pass an ambush with your knife-thrower at the ready. Can be played even straighter with your Action Girl as a bait as she is fast enough to kick an approaching croon right in the forbidden zone.
The Man Behind the Man: Sanchez is inititally thought to be the leader of the bandit gang causing all of the recent Train Jobs, but upon capture, he reveals that he answers to a higher authority, a mysterious bandit leader known only as El Diablo. Ironically, it was El Diablo himself who pointed them in this direction.
Mêlée à Trois: The 21st mission has American army fighting against El Diablo's men. Both side are hostile against the player controlled men.
Mexican Standoff: In level 18, at the train station, with 4 desperados against a dozen banditos.
Sanchez's tutorial takes place in his mountain fortress, after it has been invaded by El Diablo.
The two Soccoro's levels (15th and 16th) occurs the same day in the same map, the former during the day and the latter during the night. Even if you killed/stunned nearly everyone, they will come back.
The levels 18 and 21 are set in the town of Grants. The former is a classical level, the latter features a large scale battle between El Diablo men and the US Cavalry. Both are hostile toward the player.
The Sheriff: All over the place. Oddly, many towns have multiple sheriffs.
Shoot the Rope: Usually using Doc's special bullets to drop something heavy on the enemies. The iconic western version of this, shooting the gallow rope, is absent due to Doc himself being the usual victim of it.
Throwing the Distraction: Making noise is very useful to attract enemies somewhere. The explosive variant appears in the plot of the mission where you have to save Doc McCoy: making his cart explode is the most practical way to attract most of the guards far from the gallow.
Trailers Always Spoil: The manual describes accurately the background and abilities of the members of Cooper's gang... including spoilers, as their recruitment is part of the plot. To be fair, this section starts with a warning stating that the following pages include some spoilers.
The artwork of the box of the game is itself a major spoiler. Sanchez Heel-Face Turn could have been a surprise to the player, if he weren't featured as a member of Cooper's gang on the cover art of the game...
Train Job: It's all started because of this happening way too much.
Timed Mission: Very mild exemple. The mission where Cooper and Sam need to save Doc McCoy from the gallows is failed if the local preacher reachs the gallows before Doc is released. It is actually a lot less difficult as it seems when reading it: the preacher walks toward the gallow by crossing the starting position of the team, so knocking him out and tying him up is the first thing that the player have to do when the mission starts. Though things could become more tricky if the player triggers the alert: the guards can find the preacher and release him.
A mission requires to free an American soldier captured by bandits and steal their horses without being spotted, in order to follow then back to their hideout. There is no further mention to the freed soldier.
The final mission is a fight between Cooper and El Diablo is El Diablo's office, where only Cooper was able to enter. The ending cinematic only shows El Diablo dying. There isn't mention at all about what happen to the team or if/how they were able to clean their reputations of accusations of murder.