The Guilty Pleasures of Earth Defense Force

“To defend our Mother Earth from any alien attack!” Hallowed words such as these can only be found in one game on our beloved sphere: Earth Defense Force.

To say that Earth Defense Force has earned itself a cult status would be a gross disservice to the fans who’ve elected to keep it in the forefront of their hearts and minds even as more polished and put-together games storm the shelves quarter after quarter.

The premise, for those of you that have yet to be grace by the sheer divinity held be EDF yet, is that GIANT INSECTS have invaded planet Earth and the only thing standing between them and humanity’s destruction is you – a valiant member of the titular Earth Defense Force.

At first glance, there isn’t much to write home about when looking at EDF.

The textures and models are passable but scream “low budget” at every glance. Even the menu design harkens back to the gratuitous cheesiness that populated every Japanese and Korean import since the late ‘80s.

However, after one sit down session with it, one quickly realizes that even the cheese in the menus is part of this cheese-ridden smorgasbord.

When you hop into your first mission, it’s hard to tell what is more ridiculous: the premise, or the execution.

Within no time, overly-dramatic voice overs will tell you – repeatedly – why the GIANT ALIEN INSECTS are a threat that must be dealt with. As if their bloodthirsty rampages through non-specified cities were not reason enough.

Once you’ve been dropped headfirst into the action, the true mayhem begins. Hundreds of hordes of GIANT ALIEN INSECTS swarm the hapless citizens, and it’s your job to pump them with so much lead that you run the risk of giving the entire nation lead poisoning.

In the midst of the combat, the VO remains as preposterous as ever before, delivered with such panache that begs the question of how calm and mannered the brass can be given the fact that they’re combating GIANT ALIEN INSECTS.

To add some mild hearing loss to the mix, each battle is accompanied by copious amounts sound effects playing over the cacophony of carnage. It’s as if the sound director just took one look at the repository of effects in the sound bank and said “Whatever. Just throw it all in at once.”

Thankfully, the carnage is gleeful to behold as you traipse around the battlefield in one of four classes. The Ranger, the Wingdiver, The Air Raider, and The Fencer.

Where the Ranger affords players the most traditional boots-on-the-ground experience, the Wingdiver, Air Raider, and Fencer love to mix it up. Deploying massive war machines and calling in Howitzer strikes as the Air Raider, trudging along through ravenous hordes as the Fencer, or zipping through the air as the nimble Wing Diver – there’s no shortage of variety of gameplay in EDF.

Thankfully, the GIANT ALIEN INSECTS also have a few tricks up their sleeve. Not limited to their mere grunt/drone variant, the insects have much more than just their hard carapaces up their sleeves.

Although you’ll be slaughtering untold amounts of ants in the first few missions of the game, things escalate fairly quickly – to the point where you’ll be going toe-to-toe with the likes of giant arachnids, spaceships, and even dragons.

There’s really nothing more we can even say about EDF at this point other than get out there and grab yourself a copy.

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