Friday, May 16, 2014

Invaders Must Die! - Incoming and Incoming Forces

NOTICE!: I have encountered a problem with these games refusing to run on newer AMD drivers, a simple workaround is to download this file here and unzip it into the main directory for both games.

As these games can only be brought bundled together and are both very similar, I am covering them both in a single review.

Incoming and Incoming Forces are a pair of games by Rage Software that ask a very simple question: Do you like explosions? These games are both vehicle-based action games that see you traveling from battlefield to battlefield, blowing up hostiles in search of the highest score possible. There is a story, told in text scrolls in the first game and some cutscenes and audio snippets in the second, about how you're fighting off an alien (or human, in Forces) invasion, but it's nothing of any real interest and mostly just exists as an excuse for the action.

There's plenty of enemies to gun down in each mission
The two games are mostly similar, but there are a few difference worth taking note of. The first game had some control issues: the mouse felt slow and unresponsive even at max sensitivity, but worked wonderfully with my gamepad. Also, the first game had a weird auto aim feature: some of the vehicles you'll be piloting have a lot of auto aim, some only a little, a few have none. This doesn't ruin the game but it can feel a little weird going from a helicopter with full auto aim to a jet that has none. The first game is also the harder of the two: you have limited lives and no continues to complete the campaign with, though you can (and should) save your game whenever you want.

The first game, on top of the standard action campaign also has a tactical one. The tactical campaign is like the action campaign, but with a few real time strategy segments added to each mission. The RTS segments are unfortunately horrible. Your units can get stuck on the terrain and show little to no interest in attacking enemies units unless specifically commanded to do so. There's also no advanced orders or any sort of base building or economy management, you fight using the two or three units you have been given for that part of the mission. Compared to a typical real time strategy game, even from around the time this game initially came out, it's very primitive.

The RTS segments are also jarring, suddenly appearing in the middle of a mission for no readily explained reason, then disappearing just as quickly when it's over. If you ever play Incoming, I'd suggest ignoring the tactical campaign and sticking with the action campaign.
Watching enemy aircraft go down in a fiery blaze is always fun.
The sequel, Incoming Forces fixes a lot of the first games problems. It plays just fine with a mouse and keyboard and there's no Tactical campaign. Auto aim has also been normalized across all vehicles, there's a crosshair in the screen, if an enemy is inside it and close enough to you, you'll automatically aim at it with a fair degree of accuracy. Incoming forces is also the easier of the two games, you have unlimited lives and you can access any mission you've already unlocked from the main menu, although both games are still fairly hard being a pair of action games from the late 90s.

Both games do action very well. Enemies come thick and fast, and the action is constant with little time to catch your breath. Aircraft crash to the ground trailing smoke and flame and tanks go out in a nice, big ball of flame. Weapons are fairly standard: various lasers and homing missiles, but they do the job nicely, and the game is more about skill and fast reflexes than about finding cool weapons.
You'll be fighting over several different environments
Overall, the biggest strength of both games is also their biggest weakness: They're very quick and dirty, no nonsense action games. No complex objectives, no big elaborate plot, no dialogue choices or long, unskippable cutscenes. Just you, your vehicle for the current mission, and a lot of targets to blow up.

Unfortunately this also means what you see is what you get, you're not going to unlock new ships or weapons to play with, you're not going to encounter any major new gameplay mechanics, what you do in the later missions is pretty much what you did in the earlier missions, it's just harder to complete them.
What story exists in the game is told through briefings like this.
If you want an action game with some depth to it, I'd unfortunately have to recommend looking elsewhere. but if you want a quick, old-school adrenalin rush to kill a few hours with on the cheap, Incoming and Incoming Forces will fit the bill nicely.

Incoming and Incoming forces were developed by Rage Software and published by KISS ltd. It is available on Steam and GoG, though note that as of this writing, it's slightly cheaper on GoG.

No comments:

Post a Comment