Incoming Forces

The go-to game if you love colorful pyrotechnics.

Back in 1998, Incoming offered a glimpse into a future in which accelerated 3D graphics would redefine PC games. While not particularly taxing on the gray matter, it did serve as a wonderful technological showcase for the era’s formative accelerator cards.

8Its sequel, Incoming Forces, boasts some extremely attractive scenery, lighting and particle effects, but it’s not at the sharp end of the visual curve. Without the graphical one-upmanship of its predecessor, it can be measured only by its gameplay value — and in this regard, it’s pretty average. Incoming Forces puts you behind the controls of several fighter aircraft and land-based weapons platforms such as hover-tanks and fixed turret emplacements. It’s 20 years after the first game, and you’re now on the side of the alien Kaiyodo race fighting the invading humans.

The game’s linear campaign hosts 16 missions, each split into a series of linked tasks that you must execute successfully to advance. Among these sub-missions are aircraft escorts, aerial attacks on enemy installations, and the downing of enemy fighter waves with a fixed laser turret. Should your current craft take too much damage, you can hop from one allied fighter or tank to another with a single keypress.

The keyboard-and-mouse control scheme works for the flight segments, but it can be truly challenging for maneuvering ground vehicles, and the joystick option is so horribly counter-intuitive that it exacerbates the problem. Several cool external chase views are available, but the absence of a targeting HUD makes them redundant in the heat of battle.

Incoming Forces is definitely a quantity-over-quality kind of game. Even at the highest of three difficulty levels, AI foes mostly just swarm around your aircraft like mindless drones. This pyrotechnic orgy probably offers up more explosions per minute than any other game of its type, but that’s about all it offers.

System Requirements: Pentium III 400 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 16 MB Video, Win98

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