Incubation: Time Is Running Out (1997)

by Nish
4 minutes read


Incubation: Time Is Running Out – A Deep Dive into the Classic Turn-Based Tactical Game

Released in 1997, Incubation: Time Is Running Out is a turn-based tactical game that takes players to the colonized planet of Scayra, where a power plant accident has caused the energy shield separating the human colonists from the indigenous Scay’Ger to fail. A human virus has infected the Scay’Ger, mutating them into violent, bloodthirsty monsters. As the commander of a squad of elite space marines, the player’s mission is to stop the alien attacks and evacuate the remaining colonists before all is lost.


Incubation is played from a top-down perspective, with the player controlling a squad of up to six space marines. The game’s unique feature is its focus on close-quarters combat within the dark and complex industrial buildings of the colony city, Scay Hallwa. Players must carefully navigate their marines through the environment, using cover to avoid enemy fire and positioning them strategically to maximize their attacks.

The game’s combat is turn-based, with each side taking turns to move and attack. Marines have a variety of weapons and abilities at their disposal, including rifles, shotguns, grenades, and rocket launchers. They can also use special abilities, such as healing or repairing damaged equipment.

Graphics and Technology

For its time, Incubation’s graphics were groundbreaking. The game featured a real-time 3D environment with detailed textures and lighting. The character models were also highly detailed, with fluid animations that brought them to life.

The game’s camera system was also innovative, allowing players to view the action from a variety of perspectives. Players could zoom in close to the action or pull out for a more strategic view. They could also switch between the perspectives of their own marines, the aliens, or a free-floating camera.

Story and Setting

Incubation’s story is told through a series of brief cutscenes and in-game dialogue. The game’s atmosphere is dark and oppressive, with a sense of constant danger lurking around every corner. The player’s marines are constantly outnumbered and outgunned, and they must use all their skills and resources to survive.

The game’s setting is also well-realized. The industrial buildings of Scay Hallwa are a maze of dark corridors, narrow walkways, and treacherous machinery. The player must carefully explore this environment, using their wits and tactical skills to overcome the alien threat.

Reception and Legacy

Incubation: Time Is Running Out was a critical and commercial success upon its release. The game was praised for its innovative gameplay, stunning graphics, and immersive atmosphere. It was also a pioneer in the use of 3D graphics in turn-based tactical games.

Incubation has been cited as an influence on a number of later games, including the XCOM series and the Rainbow Six series. The game’s unique blend of close-quarters combat and 3D graphics helped to define the genre of turn-based tactical games.


Incubation: Time Is Running Out is a classic turn-based tactical game that still holds up today. The game’s innovative gameplay, stunning graphics, and immersive atmosphere make it a must-play for fans of the genre. If you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding tactical experience, Incubation is definitely worth checking out.

Additional Details

  • Developer: Blue Byte Software
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Release Date: November 14, 1997
  • Platforms: Windows, PlayStation, Sega Saturn
  • Genre: Turn-based tactics
  • ESRB Rating: T for Teen

Review Score


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