Incoming - Longplay


Incoming is a 1998 arcade-action shooter by Rage Games. This game grew in popularity in the UK (and later elsewhere) as it was shipped with a number of graphic cards and ready-built computers of the time. It was well received by critics for its stunning graphics and fluid gameplay. Two decades have passed since then, and this game is still quite enjoyable to play. Getting it working on Linux wasn't too much hassle, although the game itself has not been updated much by GOG and it lacks support for high resolutions (what you're seeing is merely a stretched image).

At its core, Incoming is simply an arcade game with a very tiny amount of story sprinkled on top. You get to take control of various types of vehicles including turrets, tanks, helicopters, fighters and different variations of each. To be honest I wasn't a fan of the control scheme, even with a joystick it took some getting used to - and each vehicle handles slightly differently so you can often find yourself pressing the wrong buttons. I would say the helicopters and tanks are the hardest to control: the former simply because you have to continually push down to move forward, and the latter because the tanks seem too close to the ground making them very cumbersome to move around in - It would have been much better if tanks handled like those in Battlezone.

This is a fairly short game but quite an intense one. There is a limited life system and no checkpoints, so you have to make sure you save often - if you die more than a set number of times (I'm not sure of the exact number) it's game over and you get booted back to the start of the game. I learned this the hard way after completing the first scenario, naturally this was before I got to grips with the controls!

I probably should have read the manual before playing this game, as some of the mechanics were not entirely obvious at first. The orbital strike weapon for example confused me for the first couple of missions, and although it's an arcade game I couldn't quite figure out why the orbital strike still worked on the moon and the alien planet? I guess that's one of my issues with this game - it IS an arcade game, but it could've been so much cooler if they added some more story elements with dialogue and voice acting to boot.

Finally, the developers seem to have ran out of ideas about half way through this game or they ran out of time. OR maybe one of the lead designers had OCD and just had to ship a game with 10 missions instead of 6, because the extra missions at the end seemed entirely pointless. And what was the deal with those Descent-like sections in mission 6? Again, entirely pointless with mundane objectives.

Ultimately, Incoming is mindless, zombie like action game with very little story. The goal is simple: Blow stuff up, escort some stuff, blow more stuff up, escort more stuff, then blow stuff up more intently. It doesn't have much replay value, and does get repetitive after a while - but it's not the kind of game you sit down for long with. Short and sweet, as it was intended.

I've never played Incoming Forces, which is apparently the sequel to this game - I'll be sure to get around to that one day.
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