Retro Monday: “Incoming!”

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Title: “Incoming!”

Developer: Rage Software

Publisher: Interplay

Released: Spring 1998


This week has been a rather boring week when trying to come up with a game to write about. There has been news, quite big news in some cases, but most of the news interests only me. Like the loss of Neversoft to the shooting Borg of Infinity Ward to make a “super studio”. Neversoft did make the ‘Extinction Mode’ for “Call of Duty: Ghosts” so it was kind of self-inflicted. They’re one of the studios that defined my childhood through “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater” and “Guitar Hero”, two series’ that are long past their prime and long closed. Recently they are known for… err… ‘Extinction Mode’ for “Call of Duty: Ghosts”? Ok, the writing was sort of on the wall. I just hope the same doesn’t happen with Naughty Dog and the recent departures. Anyway, a retro review…

Rage Software was an (all together now) a former British game developer. The staff must be cursed because after the studio closed they formed their own companies. One was Swordfish Studios (AKA Codemasters Birmingham) closed in 2010. Most of the staff moved to Crytek UK. Then there was Juice Games (AKA THQ Digital Studios) and we all know what happen to THQ. Then there was Venom Games who was bought by Take-Two in 2004 and closed in 2008 in favour of outsourcing to the other (cheaper) end of Europe.

Incoming!”, the exclamation point in the title is important to only me, is a… simulator. The best I can call it is an attack simulator. Rather than just flying planes and shooting enemies down “H.A.W.X.” style, you fly planes and helicopters, and you can drive tanks, and you can fire from turrets. Covering all the simulator bases and putting in turret sections.

The plot, if you like to call what resembles cut-scenes as a plot, is aliens invade in the not so distant future of 2009. So the un-named military, but we all know it is the US army because who else and they use stereotypically American planes, defends the world. First starting in Africa you defend the (pretty much but called something else) UFO RADAR at the start of the invasion. Then you go to the Artic to defend a base of some sort, then oil rigs of the North Atlantic. Then you defend the space launch site that is in… California? I thought Cape Canaveral was in Florida? Even the Kennedy Space Centre is in Florida. Anyway, when you’re launched into space to travel to the Moon Base and defend that. Then you go to the alien homeworld (Wikipedia says the Crab Nebula but hell if I know,) and try to extinct the species.

The main recollection I have of the game is trying to play it with mouse and keyboard, and it being really hard. The best way to explain is it is like a first person shooter but moving on all 3 axis. To a barely 10 year old me, it was really complicated. But playing it now it really easy. Last time I played it I breezed through arcade mode. So I guess the controls are ok.

The alien craft are pretty interesting designs. It was the 90’s so there was no real worldwide bad guy. It was after Russians but before the terrorists and the Russians again ironically. The designs vary from the modern 1950’s B-movie saucer to “Independence Day” and “Star Wars” fighters to the bizarre large and mothership designs.

Back when it was released, Rage software was known for using the most up-to-date graphics. So in that vein, Rage used 3D graphics with the ‘3dfx’ technology. Saying that now just feels so quaint.  With the modern crowed yelling about not getting the right amount of reflection off their grizzled protagonist’s slightly balding head or having the water not act exactly like real water as it fries your graphic card really feels quaint because the big advancement for the game was being in rendered 3D.

Overall, “Incoming!” it still pretty good. Besides the dated graphics, see where yelling about graphics gets you, the controls are smooth, the explosions are satisfying and difficulty is just right. Easy enough you know what you’re doing but hard enough to quite a challenge. Plus, by modern standards the story is really long. You can get the game and it’s sequel (haven’t played it) on for a reasonable price.


Retro Score: 4.5/5

Modern Score: 4/5

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