It's hard to pinpoint, to convey in words, exactly what makes Earth Defense Force a good game when it screams of inadequacy. The graphics are rudimentary, the fonts are horrendous and the script is laughable, but despite all of this, or perhaps even because of it, it remains great fun. Like its 2007 predecessor, Insect Armageddon taps into a very pure vein of gaming. Forget fancy facial mo-cap, karma systems and clever plot twists: in EDF, you shoot overgrown bugs with increasingly powerful weapons.
Story, then: alien insects are invading Earth, and it's up to you to kill 'em. Bam. Job done. While there's nothing in the way of cutscenes, a vague sense of narrative is conveyed in the form of your operation handler, who will ply you with destinations and objectives over the comms system. The campaign is mostly a case of traipsing from waypoint to waypoint, slaughtering any insects that happen to stand in your way. Occasionally you might activate a transponder or jump in a helicopter for a Time Crisis-esque flight section, but very little interrupts this simple formula.
As you fight the good fight, your squad-mates will rattle off so-bad-they're-actually-good insults and celebrations, carried off with cheesy American voice acting. It gets away with it because it knows it's bad. Its tongue is enough in cheek to be genuinely funny – an incredibly hard type of humour to nail. The resulting B-Movie vibe is what defines the experience, reflecting the nature of the gameplay itself.
The insects are relentless in their attack, pouring out of anthills and drop-ships in their thousands. At first it's just ants, but soon spiders, wasps, and praying mantises join the fray, as well as monstrous bipedal robots and laser-wielding UFOs. Elite enemies, which can be seen from miles away, stomping through the city of New Detroit like Godzilla, require slightly more thought than your average bug. Glowing red hotspots on their bodies represent weak-spots, which need to be pounded with horrendous amounts of firepower before the nasties will hit the deck. Tanks and mech-suits can make these altercations slightly easier, whilst offering a welcome change in pace.
Even with 25, 30 insects on-screen at once, crawling over buildings and spewing their vile bug juices all over the shop, the frame-rate remains respectable. There's the occasional technical mishap, especially when you start unlocking more explosive weaponry, but it's nothing compared to the slowdown that plagued the first EDF. It's still a basic looking game, with basic looking models and basic looking textures, but it's a considerable improvement over the original.
Unlike its predecessor, there are four character classes to choose from. Or, to be more precise, there are four suits of armour to wear - you'll always play as the same gruff-voiced squad commander, Lightning Alpha. Trooper armour is the all-rounder, reasonably quick with moderate defence. Tactical armour has the advantage of being able to deploy turrets, mines, and radar dishes, while Battle armour offers unparalleled protection at the expense of speed.