Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder (2002)

by Nish
7 minutes read


Set against the backdrop of a post-Castro Cuba, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder challenges players to lead an elite team of Green Berets on a mission to secure freedom and democracy. With its strategic depth and compelling narrative, the game is a testament to the enduring appeal of the Ghost Recon series.


In Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder, players delve into the heart of a destabilized Cuba to lead a team of elite soldiers on a critical peacekeeping mission. This 2002 release expands the Ghost Recon universe with new terrains, scenarios, and challenges.


“Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder” is a captivating expansion pack for the original “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon” game, released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox. The game is set in 2010, two years after the events of “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon”, and one year after “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Desert Siege”.

The plot unfolds in Cuba, a nation on the brink of change. Following Fidel Castro’s death in 2006, the island is wary of the communist rule it had been under for nearly 50 years. The time has come for the first free and open elections since Carlos Prío Socarrás, who was overthrown by Batista in the early 1950s.

The FDG (El Frente Democratico de la Gente or People’s Democratic Front) has fronted a man named Ariel Priego as their candidate. The FDG is an outspoken anti-US political faction that wishes to return Cuba to its long-standing communist dictatorship. Despite their public denial of using violence as a means of coercion, the reality is quite the contrary, as the Ghosts quickly discover.

The Ghosts, an elite team of U.S. Army Green Berets, are sent to Cuba as part of a UN peacekeeping force. Their mission is to ensure the elections proceed smoothly, without making it appear that the United States is getting its hands too dirty.

The initial missions see the Ghosts conducting operations against arms and drug shipping operations by agents and allies of Priego. The ultimate aim is to prevent any strong-arming of voters on election day. When election day comes, the Ghosts are responsible for protecting a voting center at the town hall in Cienfuegos. This task proves none too easy as men loyal to Priego assault the building and take hostages elsewhere in the city.

Unsurprisingly, Priego loses the election badly. In desperation, he asks for help from his backers in Colombia, and FARC sends in hired soldiers to take Cuba by force. The Ghosts assist in defeating this effort, and FARC soon decides to cut its losses.

Running out of allies, time, and options, Priego flees to an old fortress in a hilled section of Cuba. The Ghosts are ordered to assault the fortress and capture Priego alive. If he is killed, he could be made into a martyr all too easily, something that would be highly detrimental to the new Cuban government.

The Ghosts succeed, destroying a helicopter that Priego had intended to use for his escape. Trapped and with his remaining soldiers killed, Priego surrenders.

In terms of gameplay, character development is a key feature. Every time a character survives a mission, they earn combat points. The game is a first-person shooter, and players control six characters in up to three fireteams. The characters are drawn from four classes: Rifleman, Support Gunner, Demolition, and Sniper.

“Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder” offers a thrilling journey into the world of strategic warfare, where every decision can tip the balance between success and failure.


The player leads a squad of the Ghosts, featuring specialists in various military disciplines, including snipers, demolition experts, and riflemen. Key non-playable characters include the drug-funded warlord threatening the elections and UN officials overseeing the democratic transition.


Island Thunder offers a blend of first-person and third-person tactical gameplay, requiring players to utilize advanced military tactics, manage squad formations, and make strategic use of the environment. The game includes both single-player campaigns and multiplayer modes for various gameplay experiences.


Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder remains a standout title within the tactical shooter genre, known for its challenging gameplay and authentic military simulation. It captures the essence of special operations missions, offering players a unique window into the complexities of modern warfare.

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