Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive is a stealth-based real-time tactics computer game, developed by Spellbound and released in 2001. In the game, the player controls up to six characters in a wild west setting. The protagonist is a wordly knife fighter and gunslinger, John Cooper. He takes on a bounty to capture a notorious train robber named "El Diablo". As Cooper sets off on his quest, he is aided by five other friends and they work together in a real-time, stealth based structure very similar to that introduced in Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines, although an all-out gunfight is still highly possible in the game. A sequel called Desperados 2: Cooper's Revenge was released in late March 2006. A second sequel, Helldorado, (announced as expansion pack Desperados 2: Conspiracy but made into a full game) was released in mid 2007 in Germany. The English version was released in some regions in November 2007.
The game takes place in New Mexico, 1881. Many trains have been robbed the last few months by a mysterious and vicious bandit named El Diablo. The railroad company Twinnings & Co has offered $15,000 to the one who can stop El Diablo. Bounty hunter John Cooper accepts the task, despite the objections of bad-tempered and contemptous US Marshal Jackson, but soon learns the mission is not as simple as he first assumed. John intends to create a team of his old partners to aid him on his hunt for the train robbers, consisting of Sam, Doc and Kate. When he discovers that Sánchez is not in fact the leader of the raids, he releases him and enlists his help too. The team of 5 end up increasing by one more when Mia's father is killed at his outpost, and she vows to avenge his death.
In a surprising twist, El Diablo is revealed to be Marshal Jackson himself, who captures the characters and jails them in his secret cave headquarters. With the help of Mia, they successfully escape out of their cell. Cooper then chases El Diablo up to his office and kills him in the ensuing gunfight.