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Incubation: Time Is Running Out (also known as Incubation: Battle Isle Phase Four) is a turn-based tactics computer game from Blue Byte Software released in 1997. In the game, the player controls a squad of soldiers. The game was one of the first strategy titles to use fully 3D graphics, and supported hardware acceleration on the 3dfx Voodoo.
Incubation is part of the Battle Isle series, though it is only loosely related to the other games in the series. The plot revolves around a mysterious virus causing indigenous inhabitants surrounding a planetary colony to mutate into the monstrous Scay'Ger. The single-player campaign includes around 30 missions set in futuristic interiors full of aliens, as a squad of space marines battles to save the civilians and themselves. The game has some head-to-head and co-op multi-player support via LAN and software such as Kali. There are three difficulty levels which influence parameters like monster respawn and damage rates.
Outside of missions, the main decision is which weapons and equipment to purchase to outfit the squad. A variety of weapons are available. Some low-level guns feature bayonets for mêlée combat, which form a substantial element of the game. Equipment like jetpacks, scanners, improved armor, stimulants and medical kits becomes available as the space marines accumulate experience points.
Criticism of Incubation was mixed. PC Gamer's take was quite positive, awarding it "Best Turn-Based Strategy Game of 1997". Others felt the game made some steps in the right direction but lacked the depth and challenge needed for a great strategy game. Writing for GameSpot, Greg Kasavin notes that "Most weapons at your disposal carry limited ammunition and can overheat rather quickly, forcing you to fire only when you must." Niko Nirvi of Pelit, who initially considered the game a botched X-Com variant, came to think of it as a sort of puzzle game and was very taken with it.
Blue Byte later published an expansion pack, The Wilderness Missions, which added new missions with more resourceful enemies, as well as a map editor.