The Retro Critic

Operation Secret Storm

Some games are so wrong, they’re almost right.

Let’s talk Operation Secret Storm, shall we?

After reviewing that old classic Aladdin Genesis game, I thought I’d go the other way and find something absolutely ludicrous to play while I complete a new video review for y’all.

Thankfully, Color Dreams is something of a goldmine when it comes to off-beat unofficial NES games that should not have been but somehow were. And this little gem is certainly right up there with some of Wisdom Tree‘s (one of their spin-off companies) most misguided religious 8-bit efforts.

Here’s the premise: you’re a secret agent called George B., you’re sent to Iraq where you’re going from town to town fighting random people, assassins, whatever, and in the end you battle a big dictator dude with a moustache…

Operation Secret StormOh yeah.

They went there.

Made and released when Desert Storm was all over the news, Operation Secret Storm (subtle) seemed to either parody the whole thing (tasteful) or… misunderstand it COMPLETELY.

Like, remember when George Bush went to Basra and pinched some ugly naked guy’s nipple to death?

Secret Storm Naked Guy

That was awesome!

Or, when Bush flew over a vulture then kicked its birdy ass?

Secret Storm Vulture

Presidents don’t do that stuff anymore but they totally should.

The game plays pretty much exactly like that Noah’s Ark game in Bible Adventures where you’re climbing trees, picking up random cows and pigs except instead of doing that, you’re battling fire-breathing camels:

Secret Storm Camel

Again, camels don’t do that anymore and it’s a crying shame.

A crying shame I say.

It’s weird because in essence, this game isn’t too bad: it’s colorful, there’s tons of wacky enemies to fight, the controls are simple enough that it’s actually playable and, of course, it’s altogether hilarious!

I mean, don’t get me wrong: it’s BAD lol

It’s bad in that it’s pretty offensive to… just about everybody directly or indirectly involved with what the game is based on but not only that, it’s glitchy as hell. Parts of the background repeat in the laziest, clunkiest way possible, sometimes your character randomly phases out of existence…

Secret Storm Glitch

And don’t be surprised if by the end of the game, Bush looks a bit more tanned than he did at the beginning.

Secret Storm Bush Palette

I guess with a game like this, playing it while under the influence of 15 energy drinks is recommended anyway so you won’t even notice the glitches. It’s no Cheetahmen and glitched to the point where it directly affects the gameplay but Saddam Hussein, somehow, is in both, so go figure…

Oh yes, Saddam is in this!

Secret Storm Saddam

He’s the final boss!

It’s actually pretty confusing: at first you’re avoiding this pilot’s bombs from blowing you up…

Secret Storm Pilot

… then he AND his helicopter just morph into Saddam and you get to fight him until he turns into the helicopter again. This happens several times and eventually you’ll need to defeat Saddam like three times. And don’t be surprised that he’s so hard to beat, after all:

Secret Storm Saddam Fire

He’s got fireballs!

(I’m kidding, it’s a fireball-shooting gun)

Secret Storm Gun

I know, this game gets more awesome every minute.

Case and point?

Secret Storm Ghost


Secret Storm Ghost

Yeah, there’s a ghost in this game. Or, at least I think it’s a ghost. Either that or it’s a skeleton of some sort (see my old Psycho review for more inappropriate “ghostery”). Actually, there’s a bunch of them and they love huddling up together like they’re rebooting Charlie’s Angels


Inexplicably, this happens often in the game.

Charlie's Angels

Mr Bush is made to do all sorts of crazy stuff during this whole thing, this includes fighting dudes on magic carpets:

Magic Carpet

Because Iraq is well known for its…


I’m still wondering if those responsible for Operation Secret Storm were actually for or against Bush. Or simply going for an anarchic everybody-sucks Team America: World Police-style approach to the whole issue. I mean, on the one hand Bush is the game’s badass hero but on the other you’ve got…

Secret Storm Oil

Just sayin’.

Oh, by the way, did I mention the demons?


Let me introduce you to Green Demon:

Green Demon

And Red Demon:

Red Demon

They float around, they’re really annoying and I don’t know who or what they’re meant to be or why they’re even in this game.

Iraq’s not like I pictured it at all…

Is it just Color Dreams trolling us? Quite probably.

After all, this is a company which sees George Bush Sr as the Jean-Claude Van Damme of US politics…

Secret Storm Missile

He’s so awesome in this game, even Johnny Depp himself can’t defeat his charms:

Johnny Depp vs Bush

The man strikes cool James Bond-style poses, even when faced with terrifying enemies like Topless Venom:

Topless Venom

Shoeless Carnage was totally a ripoff of Topless Venom, by the way.

For shame.

All in all, what can I say about a game this insane?

Well, it’s playable enough and worth it for its demented content alone. It has its share of annoying glitches and the way the screen stops every time a new villain appears gets a bit repetitive but this is hardly the type of game you play when you want to grow as a gamer. This is the type of game you play when you’re looking for easy retro lols and on that note, Operation Secret Storm certainly delivers.

It’s an absurd, dated oddity with enough nonsense to keep even the most serious of gamers entertained.

How does it end?

Take a wild guess.

Saddam Fall

Game Over

Mission accomplished!