Earth Defence Force 2017

Where are you from, Private? Okinawa!?! Holy shit! Ain’t nothing from Okinawa but steers and queers! This is the Earth Defence Force not whatever version of the Boy Scouts we have here in Japan… um. Right now you are a worthless maggot but when I’m finished with you, you will be a member of the EDF (EDF! EDF!). The elite. The only line of defence seperating us from them. The assorted alien scum that regularly tries to invade our planet. God loves the EDF because we keep heaven packed with fresh Bydo.This is 2025 and we are recruiting the best and the brightest young talent now since you’ve all been forced to stop playing videogames now that gaming is just Project Natal boy-grooming simulators and games controlled by cameras instead of joypads.

When I signed up for the EDF (EDF! EDF!) it was in 2013. Four years before the Ravagers first showed up over Tokyo. I remember the day they came. I was on patrol when all of a sudden Tricia Takinawa popped up in my headset. “I can’t believe my eyes,” she told us as she reported on the huge mothership that had just descended into Tokyo airspace, “it looks like something out of a science fiction movie!”. She went on to tell us that the intentions of these visitors was unknown but that they had already been dubbed the Ravagers. She was always a bit judgemental. Maybe that’s why they went all batshit mental at us. I don’t know. All I remember thinking was that, if they ever made a game of this I hope they don’t get Nolan North to voice act my character whilst Avenged Sevenfold do the soundtrack music.

Fabergé don't make alien motherships, but if they did... they'd probably be the best alien motherships in the galaxy

My squad and I ran into Tokyo Central and saw them. It turned out that Tricia was right to be so untrusting. The mothership was spewing giant alien ants all over the city. Yep, these weren’t the friendly ‘phone home’ type of alien. Heck, they weren’t even the ‘pretend to be nice but really we’re reptilian bastards’ kind. Nope, the Ravagers sat firmly in the ‘we’re here to wreck your shit’ camp. For a moment I was transfixed, not sure where to look. Above me was a giant mothership, sleak and metallic, even flashier than the Apple iShip (although far less expensive as we found out later) and ahead was a gaggle of gargantuan ants, congregating and climbing over high-rises like exuberant puppies.

Call off the picnic, it's an invasion of oversized alien ants!

It was a clear day and I could see for miles. The ants were out of range for my assault rifle, so I switched to my bog-standard RPG, took aim and fired off a cursory round. It missed one of the ants and sailed back as far as the eye could see, eventually taking out a skyscraper in one hit. I’d forgotten just how powerful our weapons were. My second round hit its intended target sending bug parts flying across the residential district. For a second the gamer in me took over and I wondered how much destruction I cause. I fired off rockets in all directions, just to see what kind of heat I was packing. Yep, this would have made an excellent game. Three thousand civilian deaths later, I snapped back into focus. The rest of my squad looked at me, puzzled. “What?,” I asked them, “alien ants don’t just eliminate themselves, men. Charge!!!”

It was a short charge as these formicidic fuckwits were charging us back. I glanced at my motion tracker and in my head I heard a panicked American voice saying “man, this is a big fucking signal!”

We were splattering bug brains everywhere. Yaesu Street was now painted black and green. The residents weren’t complaining though as they were dead. I switched to the assault rifle and thinned out the swarm. Eventually they were eradicated along with ten city blocks. My motion tracker beeped. Another swarm dropped just a few hundred feet from our position. A short distance as the crow flies. So that’s how we did it, wiping out any skyscrapers that stood between A and B. Blowing up buildings was addictive. I remembered all the games that didn’t have destructible environments and hoped that a game based on the EDF wouldn’t be one of them.

Oh FFS, haven't we just done this!? Own up... who left the sugar out??

In hindsight, more people may have kept their homes if I wasn’t such a big fan of Team America and an obscure video game from England called 3D Ant Attack. But anyway, we found the new swarm and took them out as well. Haduken! It’s what we say instead of hooah! Probably. This battle was over. The ants were fucked up. We were like child gods with fuck off magnifying glasses and they were like… ants. Albeit it giant ones that spit fire at you. Unfortunately, the war continued. Fifty two more battles against everything the Ravagers could throw at us. Luckily, for reasons that we could never explain, dead Ravagers drop armour and weapon power-ups. So, after each battle we’d check our inventories and tool up. Bit odd that we got all our weapons from dead ants rather than EDF HQ. Between you guys and me, I was happy when the Ravagers blew up the old HQ. Tricia survived though and continued to bleat at us for the rest of the war.

In the subsequent battles we faced off against towering robots, Hunter/Killer flying units, a sort of robot Godzilla, flying saucers and the motherships. Many of us died. Including me. Hundreds of times. Luckily, every time I died I just found myself restarting the battle. Handy. We had our choice of over 150 weapons from grenade launchers, sniper rifles, flamethrowers and even auto-turrets. Everything you need to get up in an extraterrestrial bastard’s face. Which was all well and good until the Ravagers dropped our worst fears on us… the giant spiders.

I’ll never forget fighting those arachnocunts. Big, hairy bastards. The sort of fuckers that turn up in your living room and make you move house. Only this time they were a million times bigger. They swarmed us, spewing sticky goo all over us like catholic priests. They were resistant as well, taking a few well-placed rockets to take them down. Battles with the arachnids were always the worst. Especially when they threw in the giant arachnids. These guys were larger than Grimsby Town Hall and twice as bleak.

Eventually though, we won, destroying the mothership in a final epic battle. Of course, the world was pretty much destroyed at this point but we didn’t mind. This had been a proper, old-school fight to the death. Shock, awe and giant ants. Gulf War meets a summer picnic. It reminded me of when I was young. I used to spend hours on my Sega Dreamcast playing brilliantly simple arcade games and that’s what this battle had been like. Simple, arcade-like fun. All action, no faff. If they did ever make a game based on this war, it’d be the gamer’s game. No nonsense, no online play with people calling you a prick, no DLC episodic content, no consideration of the fact that this many giant ants will reduce the console’s processor to a crawl, no plot. Nothing but action. A stand-up fight. Not another bug hunt.




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9 Comments

  1. Rook says:

    I can’t imagine how much Markuz must have loved receiving this article, he even got the game himself just a few weeks back. EDF was a pure point and shoot and went on for ages. I remember playing it for the first time not knowing how many levels it had and it just kept going. It could have used online co-op as it took a while before I got to complete the game on the hardest difficulty with the help of Lorna, who loved it more that she will admit (she really did, just give her gun turrets and she’s happy).

    When’s the sequel. EDF! EDF!

  2. Lorna says:

    Really fucking enjoyed this article, Rich….brought back some nerve wracking memories though, of staying up bug-hunting with Rook until 4am. That poxy motherships fragged us so many times until we worked out to snipe the panels. The traditional…back into the furthermost invisible corner and surround yourself with turrets was always a good tactic on that level.

    If there is ever a sequel, I just hope that they have online bloody co-op…

  3. richie says:

    Yes, online co-op would be sweet. I admit when I was maxing it the game I had Mrs Blucey running dropping turrets on some of those levels!

  4. The Preacher says:

    Heh… this is very funny, and a great read, and I haven’t even played the game. I doubt I will, because my mortal terror of bugs extends to virtual ones as well, so it’s bad enough fighting spiders in Dragon Age or some other fantasy title without having mahoosive ones big as buildings swarming at me on my telly.

    I am strongly reminded of an old X-COM fan fic I once read though, also written from the point of view of a character in the game. Same kind of over-the-top corny sci-fi. Brilliant stuff.

  5. MarkuzR says:

    Loved the approach of this, great slant to take with games, and loved reading it… which is probably quite a surprise to Rook! Watching Lorna and Rook playing it for days (and nights) on end last year, it reminded me very much of an old Amiga game called Xybots (or XYBots, not sure which) where it was split screen with two players running the gauntlet and killing everything in sight. I really REALLY enjoyed that game… but there’s no way you’d get me playing EDF, even for a bet. If someone with experience of FPS such as Rook keeps getting their arse kicked in EDF, then I have absolutely no hope whatsoever… and the rate at which these doods attack was mindblowing. No thanks, I’ll stick to Oblivion where I can meander around like a pensioner out for a Sunday drive.

  6. Mrs Blucey says:

    EDF! EDF!

  7. MrCuddleswick says:

    I LOVE this game. Rancid random weapon drops stitched me out of my 1000/1000 though.

    I remember my friend and I laughing at the whole “Some aliens have turned up. We haven’t communicated with them at all, but we’re calling them ‘The Ravagers’ anyway” debacle.

  8. Rook says:

    @Markuz – what you saw was the hardest difficulty being played, with the ants spitting venom, the spiders shooting webs, and everything exploding into liquid, and rocket turrets bouncing you around the place, the screen became too obsucred to see what you were shooting leading to many deaths.

    Don’t put your shooting ability down thou, you killed Crawmerax many times over before I killed him – ONCE, last night. Used your video to get to ‘the spot’ and them had no ricochet happening, had to go with splash damage from a rocket launcher. So you would do fine in this game, and I’m sure Lorna would be willing to help you, I couldn’t get her to stop playing to go to bed.

  9. Adam says:

    It’s always fun when games just let you blow stuff up :D Nice approach for this one Richie although I was worried that being in the game was going to start an episode of REBOOT from inside the article. No-one wants that :p

    Really cool take thou, amazing how much can still be told about a game from this point of view rather than taking the objective route <3

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