"If you were going to take over the world, would you blow up the White House Independence Day-style, or sneak in through the back door?"
One of the oldest stories
in Speculative Fiction
: Beings from space come to Earth to conquer.
There are a few ways this can go:
- The All-Out Attack. Technologically superior forces aim their weapons of war and three legged walkers at Earth, which bravely fights back, driving them off through cunning, bravery, or just dumb luck... most of the time.
- The Infiltration. Aliens are replacing, brainwashing, or controlling humans in order to take over from within. Generally, the populace at large doesn't even know it's happening. May involve The Virus.
- A combination of the above, with an infiltration paving the way for an all-out attack.
Sometimes, there are good aliens that help us against the invaders; unfortunately, they tend to be much weaker and/or less numerous, since if they were equally or more powerful, the focus would be taken off humanity. Then there's the Benevolent Alien Invasion
, where the invaders are
the good aliens.
Often an allegory for some Earth-based conflict, either one that's happened in the past or one that people fear may happen. The Infiltration is especially popular as a metaphor for Communism.
This trope, in its modern form, was created by H. G. Wells
's novel The War of the Worlds
. It was actually a variation on another theme popular at the time, the "invasion story
", where another country's army, usually France or Germany (depending on who relations were worse with at the time
), would try to conquer Britain. Then World War I happened.
Today, similar themes are found in techno-thrillers, and crop up in works like Red Dawn (1984)
and The Tomorrow Series
A common Tomato Surprise
nowadays is for the invaders to be human.
See also Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion
, We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill
and Aliens Are Bastards
; and for fun, How to Invade an Alien Planet
and Why You Should Destroy the Planet Earth
. Contrast Benevolent Alien Invasion
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Anime & Manga
- Axis Powers Hetalia: Paint It White. The plot involves an alien invasion of Earth in which about 90% of the global population and their countries are transformed into what looks like white featureless humanoid clay, known as the Pict. In the final scene of the movie, billions of converted Pict can be seen walking into a giant mothership which then departs Earth after our heroes save the day. So even with the "happy" ending, there are still only a few hundred million people left on Earth. And the Swiss. And Iceland.
- In the Eureka Seven TV series, the Scub Coral drove humanity off of Earth for 10,000 years (unintentionally) when it arrived. It grew and formed an outer layer around Earth, fooling humanity into thinking it was another planet when they returned and settled on the new surface. The Scub Coral later spawned human Coralians to live among humans to study and communicate with them. The Big Bad uses this planet takeover history to justify his actions against the Scub Coral which was just trying to communicate with humanity.
- Gantz: The various aliens that appear in the manga series. It is not known when, how and why the aliens appear on Earth. The aliens use a variety of technology and abilities to infiltrate the earth where the Gantz team hunts them. Later Humongous Mecha land on Earth and begin to level the planet.
- Parasyte: Infiltration by aliens called parasites which are worm-like creatures that enter human bodies and transform their brain, killing them. They then go about disguised as their host secretly eating other humans.
- Pokemon Destiny Deoxys: Rayquaza thinking this is happening is what kicks off its conflict with Deoxys.
- Project B Lue Earth SOS is essentially a homage to 1950s/1960s-style science fiction shows, with two kids acting as the main protagonists and finding out about the incoming invasion and doing everything they can to stop it.
- Super Dimension Fortress Macross is also a deconstruction of this trope; it shows what would actually happen if a vastly superior alien race (which spends the majority of the series showing restraint, gathering intelligence, and generally being more reasonable than the Earthlings despite being genetically programmed for war) decides that Earth is a threat. Earth gets slagged, wiping out all of humanity in a single barrage. Only the titular Macross and her crew and refugees survive
- UFO Robo Grendizer: An early Anime example and the third series of the Mazinger Z trilogy. The Vega homeworld had become unstable due to the radioactive materials within it and the King decided to expand his militaristic empire to find a suitable planet to settle on. The main character lived in Fleed, one of the first planets the Vegan army attacked and was forced to run away. He landed on Earth and settled peacefully in there. Then two years later the Vegan army struck his new homeworld.
- Subverted in Dragon Ball, with Raditz being the first invader and being killed by Piccolo and Goku anyway. A year after that, Vegeta and Nappa invaded the earth and they destroyed a city immediately. Unlike Raditz who was looking for his brother Kakarot/Goku, Vegeta and Nappa just wanted to find the Dragon Balls.
- After hearing from the Dragon Balls, Freeza and his minions invaded Namek and stole the balls in a very brutal way. They killed almost every Namekian - some of them were killed by Vegeta, the Grand Elder died of old age, but his death was accelerated by Freeza's invasion, and Nail being the only survivor (all of them were revived, anyway). Except for the Namekians killed by Vegeta, since he was not one of Frieze's men, and Nail fused with Piccolo so he all by ceased to exist. The Grand Elder also died permanently not long after his revival.
- Goku's arrival on Earth was supposed to be an alien invasion/genocide until he hit his head and forgotten his mission.
- This scenario happened in some of the Non Serial Movies, most notable are the invader groups of Tarles and Lord Slug. The former almost dried off the entire earth with a World Tree, and the latter had actually a real army and he frozes the planet by darkening the sky with black clouds.
- Paragas and his army invaded some planets, his son Broly destroyed them anyway.
- Another notable example: Janemba messed up with the Living World and Other World, causing that the killed villains invaded earth, including the Big Bads and their respective armies.
- The alien wizard Babidi and his minions, a couple of whom are also aliens, sneak onto Earth to retrieve and revive Babidi's father's Living Weapon Majin Buu.
- In World Trigger, Earth is caught in the middle of a vast interplanetary war. The Earthlings are able to fight back (though just barely) thanks to reverse-engineering technology they stumble upon, as well as help from Yuma, a soldier sent from one of these planets to defend it (among other goals).
- In the Warhammer 40k roleplay game In The Beginning There Was Man, the usual grimdarkness of the 43th millenium gets even worse as the Imperium cracks under pressure from the multitudes of Xeno races that assault it and a finishing blow coming in the form of the last Black Crusade. The God Emperor of Mankind must rally His people and deliver Humanity from its darkest hour.
- In Calvin and Hobbes: The Series, Calvin accidentally and unknowingly stops one of these with a firecracker.
- Sheila later accuses Calvin of trying to cause this in "The Alien Huntress".
- In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Episode 14 deals with the Stardroids coming to Earth.
- The Pony POV Series: During the Dark World arc, it's revealed that at some point during the Epilogue timeline, Equestria was invaded by what is strongly implied to be the Imperium of Man. This forced all of Discord's remaining enemies to ally with him in order to repel the invasion, which they eventually succeeded in doing.
- In The Lion King Adventures story The Master Plan, an alien parasite known as the Vimelea attempts to invade the earth by possessing Mufasa and Sarabi.
- Inverted in The Conversion Bureau: Cold War except for the UN meeting, the Ponies never invade us but we invade them by breaking their big bad barrier.
- The fifth story of the MLP:FiM fan fiction The Monster Mash features an alien invasion of the infiltration variety.
- Worldwar: War of Equals has The Race invading Earth in 2011 instead of 1942.
- Young Justice Darkness Falls points out that this has become a recurring issue for the league, with first the kroletaens, then the reach, then Despero, then Mongul, then Starfire, and finally Darkseid all being threats that came via alien invasion to their planet. Blue Beetle even gives a little note to Starfire that 1 is more than enough for a year. (Star ends up being good, but that's besides the point)
Films — Animated
- Monsters vs. Aliens: An animated film that portrays and alien invasion by Gallaxhar seeking out the last remaining sources of quantonium. The invasion starts off with a giant robot sent to reclaim the remaining quantonium. Later the main character is kidnapped and has the quantonium she absorbed extracted from her allowing the villain to clone an invasion army from himself.
- Inverted in Battle for Terra, where it's the humans who are invading the titular planet (not Earth).
Films — Live-Action
- The Avengers: Loki brings the aliens known as the Chitauri to Earth to act as "his" army.
- Loki wants to rule Earth to spite his brother Thor, while the Chitauri merely want the Tesseract, so that they can conquer other worlds.
- Battle: Los Angeles : The alien invaders land off of the coast near California and immediately launch a military offensive. The movie is notable for using reasonably accurate in presentation of the military and the aliens operating as a military force. They also bring in tens of millions of soldiers, something that would be required to take over and control a planet of billions.
- Ben10 live action movies.
- Independence Day: The aliens send several massive ships over major cities. They then use powerful Wave Motion Gun to destroy the cities. They later launch assault with fighter craft to attack the human military attempting to fight back.
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Is one of the most famous versions of The Infiltration as Communist metaphor. Humans are kidnapped and replaced with alien lookalikes..
- Invisible Invaders: invisible aliens attack the earth by possessing corpses
- It Came from Outer Space (1953) : A subversion where the aliens appear to be carrying out a classic Infiltration-style attack, but are only trying to quietly repair their spacecraft which crashed due to a malfunction.
- ''Knowing': Aliens have been secretly visiting Earth to prepare themselves in to extract the chosen life forms from Earth in light of the Earth's destruction by the Sun. They disguise themselves as humans to do so (though they never speak human language).
- Little Shop of Horrors (1986): In the ending it is revealed that the plant is an alien invader that is using infilitration to conquer the planet by having humans unwittingly spread its seeds around the world.
- In Man of Steel, Zod comes to Earth in search of Clark, aboard a Cool Starship with a Wave Motion Gun.
- Mars Attacks! : A parody which drew inspiration from the trading cards of the same name. Like the trading cards the movie portrays a military invasion by the Martians.
- In Oblivion (2013) Earth has been invaded by a race called the Scavs. The setting is in the aftermath, about 60 years afterwards. Or so Jack believes. Turns out, the Alien Invasion was actually by the Tet, a giant autonomous AI, and the Scavengers are the human resistance.
- Signs:The aliens attempt a military invasion but are stopped by their crippling vulnerability to water.
- They Live!: Space aliens use infiltration via technology and manipulation of the human mind to take over or place themselves in places of power.
- The Thing (1982): A strange alien found in the artic with the ability to mimic any living creature. Whether it intended to go to Earth in the first place is unclear. It still threatens to take over.
- Skyline: A military invasion aided by a blue light that mesmerizes humans allowing the aliens to suck them up into their ships. They also use large walking life forms and squid like entities on the ground.
- Slither: The alien invader uses infiltration by taking over human beings. The movie Includes a homage to the movie ‘‘Thing’’, by naming the town's mayor after Kurt Russell's character, R. J. MacReady.
- A character who gets a glimpse into the mind of the creature reveals that they have already taken over several other planets.
- Inverted in Starship Troopers. After a series of attacks on human colonies and a direct attack on Buenos Aires on Earth, humanity declares war and invades the bug worlds.
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Everyone's favorite evil robots, the Decepticons, decide to give the All Out Attack a shot. The Autobots are of course the good aliens helping out humanity here.
- The War of the Worlds: A early work with aliens initiating a military invasion of the earth.
- In The World's End, extraterrestrial machines have invaded a small town in England. And 20,000 other locations on the planet.
- Spaced Invaders is a comedy about a crew of inept Martians who intercept a rebroadcast of Orson Welles's The War of the Worlds radio drama and assume their fleet is attacking Earth (in fact, their fleet is in the process of being obliterated by their enemy the Arcturians). They crash-land in a small American town and begin their "invasion". Hilarity Ensues.
- The Whisperer in Darkness (2011). The Mi-Go plan to open a wormhole to Earth to bring through an invasion force. This is different from the short story by HP Lovecraft in which they've already decided the conquest of Earth is too much trouble.
- Pacific Rim has a race of beings from another dimension create progressively-larger kaiju to obliterate humanity and prepare Earth for their arrival. They get to Earth through a portal at the bottom of the Pacific.
- Edge of Tomorrow is a typical example of an alien invasion with the aliens having extremely-advanced technology, and human militaries are barely holding on.
- The aliens in Battleship appear to be an advance scout force whose task is to notify their homeworld about humanity's defenses in preparation for an actual invasion.
- Animorphs: The aliens use infiltration, with only five kids armed with alien technology and one helpful alien available to fight the threat.
- Invasion by Mikhail Akhmanov : The novel details the arrival of a giant Human Alien starship from another galactic arm in order to conquer and enslave humans, who only have a tiny fleet of ships with no shields, Anti Matter, or FTL capability. After the humans barely survive (thanks to another alien), the following novels chronicle humanity using the leftover technology to build an interstellar empire (well, more of a federation but with Gunboat Diplomacy).
- Battlefield Earth: Has two of them, one a thousand years before the book starts when the evil Psychlos took over the planet, and then a coalition of other races swoop in after humanity retakes Earth. Thought it is more of an Alien Incursion or Alien Fracas than an all-out invasion in the second case, as the alliance is more interested in leftover Psychlo plunder and selling the humans into slavery than the planet itself.
- Bolo book series: Several of the all-out invasion variety occur in the stories, one ultimately resulting in a near mutual genocide of humanity and their alien opponents.
- Doom: Hell on Earth. As the name implies, is about the aliens and their genetically-engineered-to-scare-humans creations attacking planet earth.
- Footfall: The 1985 Larry Niven / Jerry Pournelle novel has a hard science look at this trope; the elephant-like Fithp ruined their own planet and have come in a SleeperShip to claim ours. A military type invasion is launched against the earth.
- The Greks Bring Gifts has a unique form of infiltration; they make humanity dependent on their deliberately flawed technology.
- Legacy of the Aldenata by John Ringo is initially presented as a Benevolent Alien Invasion, but not too far into the first book of the series hints start showing up that the Darhel, the putative leaders of the Galactic Federation, have other plans, which aren't terribly beneficial to mankind. Earth is also invaded by the rapacious Posleen who conquer and devour their way across the galaxy. This invasion folds into the plans of the Darhel.
- The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein: A novel made into several movies. Of course, one of the major problems with making it into a movie is that near the end everyone walks around naked all the time, as it is a defense against the aliens. The aliens use, if you haven't guessed, the infiltration method.
- The True Meaning of Smekday: The Boov aliens are speaking to Gratuity's mother through a mole in her neck. They then abduct her to teach them English. Then they invade and force all the humans onto reservations in Florida. Then even more powerful aliens invade.
- Under Alien Stars a young-adult novel by Pamela Service: The planet is annexed as a military base by magenta-skinned Humanoid Aliens who are fighting a Bug War. Although generally arrogant, callous, quite willing to wipe out whole neighborhoods, and by no means fit the usual idea of a Benevolent Alien Invasion, they're by far the lesser of evils compared to their foes. Not that humanity doesn't have to find that out the hard way before the two races finally team up against the common enemy...
- The War of the Worlds: The Trope Maker and one of the earliest sci-fi novels. The alien tripods attack earth in a military invasion.
- When The Tripods Came: The tripods utilize infiltration by mind control. A tv show is used to assert temporary control with caps used to assert permanent control. The populace is manipulated with the mind control until “The Capped” are in control in a majority of places.
- The Wild Boy: The Lindauzi, who killed off millions with a virus, then showed up with a cure to draw what was left of humanity to them. After getting rid of humanity's companion creatures, they began keeping humans like dogs and breeding them to be replacement bond creatures for themselves.
- The World War series by Harry Turtledove: The aliens invade during World War II and this forces the warring sides to unite against them. Also, the aliens are deliberately given contemporary (at time of writing, i.e. 1994) levels of technology plus a little extra to allow them to travel between stars, rather than the usual insanely advanced aliens vs. present day humans. They are also really, conservative. Like, they've been ruled by the same dynasty for tens of thousands of years and are surprised that humans have advanced from the medieval era to the present in only a few hundred years, conservative.
- In Vernor Vinge's novella "True Names", this is discussed as one possible explanation for The Mailman's peculiar method of communication with the on-line world of The Other Plane. In particular, the time-lag would seem to place him in the Asteroid belt, far beyond where any human has visited.
- One of the books in Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat deals with a full-blown invasion of human space by hyper-advanced (even by human standards) ugly-looking aliens. In a slight subversion, it's revealed that they're under the Mind Control of a rogue human faction. Once the Man Behind the Man is taken out, the aliens decide that maybe they don't feel like fighting any more.
- The Hch'nyv from the fourth book of The Darksword Trilogy. They are basically an alien invasion taking place in a fantasy setting. Almost all of their actions take place offscreen, but from what little is mentioned about them, they seem to go for the all out attack.
- Subverted in the Choose Your Own Adventure book Invaders of the Planet Earth. The Taurons have conquered Earth and rendered all electrical devices useless since their own technology is extremely vulnerable to the slightest exposure to electricity. The protagonist in most paths tries (and mostly fails, this is one of the less forgiving books in the series) to find a way to defeat the Taurons. However, in one path which is canon according to the sequel Planet of the Dragons, the protagonist has a chance to get the Taurons' side of the story. The Taurons were actually pursuing a very dangerous criminal (a member of the "good" Vork aliens opposing the Taurons) who found his way to Earth. The Taurons' occupation of Earth was merely a desperate attempt to keep the criminal trapped on Earth while they hunted him down. He is apparently so dangerous some Taurons want to destroy Earth just to get rid of him. The end of this path has the protagonist joining the very aliens he originally opposed.
- Ender’s Game takes place after two barely-thwarted invasions by the Buggers/Formics. The titular character is part of a program to train commanders in preparation for the Third Invasion. Subverted in that the Buggers have no intention of attacking again, having experienced a What Have I Done moment after realizing that humans are not a Hive Mind like them but a collection of individuals. The Third Invasion is the reverse with humans sending a fleet to take out the Buggers.
- The prequel novels describe the First Invasion (although differently from how it's remembered in Ender's Game).
- In Harry Turtledove's "The Road Not Taken" short story, the Roxolani try to invade Earth, first by impressing humans with their Artificial Gravity-powered ship and then by their advanced weapons. These advanced weapons? Napoleonic muskets and appropriate tactics. To say "Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion" would be an understatement.
- Subverted in Supreme Commander by Nikolai Gudanets, loosely based on XCOM. This is the initial assumption for the alien attacks, and an international task force is created to combat them. When a new type of alien is taken captive, they find a way to communicate with it, and it reveals that the aliens are, in fact, Hunting the Most Dangerous Game. They have no interest in Earth beyond treating it like a fun outing. They do have a base on Earth, but it's actually a re-purposed Nazi sub pen far north.
- Dark Skies: A series on NBC was pretty much a textbook infiltration, infiltrating with parasites and (at the end) electronic implants. The point of the series was that many of the events of the 20th century were secretly part of the infiltration, such as the Kennedy assassination.
- Doctor Who has featured invasions from such things as shop dummies to satellite navigation systems. The series also inverts this tropes in many future-based stories, humans are themselves the invaders. We're usually not outright malicious, but we're often quite destructive to native species, paralleling historical imperialism and colonization. Notable invasion-themed serials:
- "The Sensorites": The first 'alien invasion' story. The humans are the invading aliens, with the relatively peaceful Sensorites shown as mild-mannered victims.
- "The Dalek Invasion of Earth": Plays it absolutely straight - Daleks invade the Earth and it's up to La Résistance and the TARDIS crew to stop them.
- Falling Skies: A TNT Show takes place about six months after an alien invasion devastates most major cities and wipes out a large percentage of the population. The show describes a ragtag group of survivors trying to find food and shelter to get by, while avoiding murderous aliens and roving bands of outlaws and trying to survive and fight back. While the series avoids showing the actual invasion (the background is told by a child and a series of drawings in the pilot), it involves huge circular Ominous Floating Spaceships appearing over major cities. They hang there for a while, but the world leaders decide not to strike first, hoping the aliens are friendly. They aren't. The ships emit powerful EMP waves, shutting down power grids and defense systems before proceeding to obliterate most major cities. They land ground troops with infantry and mechs (the survivors note that the mechs are bipedal, despite the aliens having 6 legs) that proceed to wipe out much of the adult population, while capturing children and putting Mind Control harnesses on them (presumably, to make them slaves). The large ships depart, while the invading forces begin constructing large structures in places of destroyed cities. The human survivors are forced to retreat and use only basic weaponry (rifles, machineguns, and C4), as any heavy munitions tend to piss off the aliens, and their bombers simply level the entire area.
- It's eventually revealed that the actual aliens are indeed humanoids; the Skitters are mutated human children.
- First Wave: Presents an infiltration approach. The Gua aren't quite sure what to expect from humans and are trying to find ways to weaken Earth's defenses. Their goal is turn humans into slaves in preparation for an all-out attack.
- One episode revealed that the government was secretly preparing for an alien attack, building a series of satellites armed with nukes which were set to face away from Earth. However, the Gua have no intention of attacking in a typical manner. Their goal is to grow an army of husks on Earth and start the invasion that way.
- It's revealed early on that the Gua have themselves suffered this. After throwing off their oppressors, they have sworn to never be weak again (they used to be a race of scholars). A later-season episode reveals that they have destroyed at least one other civilization (that of Nostradamus).
- Invasion : A 2005 ABC show is a bizarre case of the infiltration type in which the main aliens are seen only as glowing orange lights in the water, but the infiltrating "hybrids" have the exact appearances (sans scars or other non-genetic marks) and memories of the dead humans they replace. This makes (most of) them unaware that they are are infiltrating aliens. It was cancelled after one season, so the actual goals of the invaders are never made clear.
- The Outer Limits both versions did several infiltration invasion plots.
- One episode dealt with a group of people locked in bunkers completely unaware of what was happening in the world. The last thing they heard was that a fleet of alien ships was heading for Earth with suspicions that they were here to colonize. The episode ends with only one of these people alive, as he is preparing to be rescued, unaware that the invasion has already succeeded.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: First Contact : The Borg invasions of Earth Shout Outs to The War of the Worlds (e.g. one of the ships fighting the Borg is named Thunder Child).
- Stargate SG-1 The protagonists spend all their time trying to stop aliens from destroying Earth (and the Galaxy in general), only to end up with a Goa'uld infiltration of the NID on their hands. Several characters comment on this, citing the low priority this infiltration has compared to more pressing matters, such as the building of the McKay-Carter Intergalactic Gatebridge.
- Several episodes show us alternate universes where the aliens do succeed in taking Earth.
- The BBC series based on The Tripods book trilogy. The aliens utilize mind control for their infiltration and subsequent invasion.
- V: is about a Villain with Good Publicity form of The Infiltration, with familiar overtones.
- War of the Worlds: A television sequel to the 1953 film adaptation of The War of the Worlds novel, showing heavy influence from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
- "The Invaders" (1967) with Roy Thinnes as a man who accidentally sees a flying saucer land and can't convince people that we've been invaded. They use the infiltration method, altering their bodies to look like humans. Because of the year there was a lot of heavy handed storylines involving race and the youth culture.
- Extremely common as a source of villains in Power Rangers and Super Sentai. Always an all out attack, but the aliens never attack anywhere other than where the protagonists live (sometimes handwaved as being because they want to take out the threat first).
- In an episode of Earth: Final Conflict, two characters end up in an alternate universe where the Taelons are in the process of conquering Earth through their human subjects with La Résistance actually having more advanced weapons technology than Prime!Earth. Despite this, the Taelons are clearly winning. In the Prime universe, the Taelons come to Earth bearing gifts and claiming to seek peacefull cooperation. Their true motives remain hidden. The key point appears to be the arrival of an ancient Taelon named Ma'el to Earth in the Prime universe, which he never did in the alternate one. Ma'el, apparently, encouraged humans to urbanize and form centralized civilizations in order to resist the arrival of Taelons in the future. The alternate humans live in villages with the closest equivalent of cities being trading centers.
- Running Wild's "Iron Heads" from the Death Metal split-album and Masquerade is about and alien invasion. While the chorus shows alien invaders in positive light ("They're coming tonight to make the world alright"), the end result is rather bleak ("Ruins are everywhere, the whole world is empty and dead").
- Weird Al wrote Slime Monsters from Outer Space, which is a version 1.
- Creature Feature's "Look To The Skies" from The Greatest Show Unearthed details an alien invasion that starts by a meteor falling to earth that goes full Invasion of the Body Snatchers to conquer the world.
- X Japan's original 1994 anime PV for Rusty Nail centers around fighting an Alien Invasion of the combined types: an infiltration involving a Hypno Trinket, followed on by a full-scale invasion that destroyed the world. Humanity fights back with phallic weapons, the summoning of Mary Sue / Crystal Dragon Jesus, roses, and roses as phallic weapons.
- Monsterpocalypse has two extra-terrestrial factions, both launching All-Out Attacks at the same time. The Martian Menace uses Tripods and Flying Saucers whereas the Planet Eaters use Kaiju and a Horde of Alien Locusts.
- The point of the Alien monsters in the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game.
- No prize for guessing what the old Hero System supplement Invasion: Target Earth was all about. It even discusses both styles of invasion and analyzes some of their most common narrative elements. (The sample "invasion" campaigns themselves are then sadly a bit less impressive, most likely due to lack of space.)
- Happens quite often in Warhammer 40,000, obviously. Said aliens include brutish, fight-happy green-skinned barbarians who vaguely resemble English football hooligans, hyper-advanced space elves with psychic powers, the evil rape-happy space pirate cousins of said space elves, vaguely-East Asian grey skins with mecha, death-ray armed genocidal killbots, and a gigantic horde of galaxy-consuming bugs from across the universe. They usually come in the form of All-Out Attack, but for the last one, they sometimes infiltrate.
- As a mild excuse for Imperium Absolute Xenophobe policies, quite a lot of isolated and defenseless colonies were invaded by either some of the guys mentioned above or worse during the Long Night. It got so bad that even in Solar System multiple colonies were enslaved and/or annihilated by aliens.
- Achron: The game starts immediately after the greatest space fleet humanity has ever assembled has been all but completely destroyed by the alien invaders. They did this despite actually being outnumbered and outgunned by the human forces. It turns out that Time Travel actually gives you a hell of an advantage.
- In Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator you defend a sector of space from an alien invasion.
- City of Heroes: Takes place in the aftermath of an extra dimensional alien invasion, which was hard-won and remnants of the Rikti forces still infest the world. And of course, it turns out that the Rikti are mutated humans. BUT, that leads into another possible future invasion by different aliens. The Rikti's weakness? Magic. The Shiva in Bloody Bay are the remains of a planet-devouring entity that was destroyed in deep space but is now trying to rebuild itself by conquering Earth for its resources.
- An invasion by Lovecraft-inspired aliens is the main conflict in Code Name STEAM. To combat it, Abraham Lincoln assembles a team of Public Domain Characters.
- Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars marks the debut of the Scrin, whose arrival throws the ongoing GDI-Brotherhood of Nod conflict into chaos and force the two sides to work together. But it's more complicated than an "All-Out Attack" example: the Scrin are trying to harvest the Tiberium they seeded the Earth with, and expected for the xenoforming crystals to have wiped out the planet's indigenous population, but Kane tricked them into arriving early. The Scrin expedition is actually a mining operation, not a formal army, and once they're driven back by the humans they vow to return with a proper invasion force... a Sequel Hook utterly ignored by Command & Conquer 4.
- The Conduit: It starts off with an invasion by the Drudge, a race of Big Creepy-Crawlies. Later, it is revealed that the invaders are actually human-created clones as part of a Government Conspiracy.
- In Destroy All Humans!, YOU are the invading alien. Crypto utilizes both infiltration and outright military force.
- Doctor Who: In the first chapter of the adventure game "City of the Daleks", The Doctor and Amy arrive in London to discover it has been conquered by Daleks and have to travel back in time to stop the invasion.
- The second chapter "Blood of the Cybermen" has a cybership discovered in the Arctic by a group of scientists. It turns out it crashed there thousands of years ago, and the discovery triggers a reactivation. The Cybermen's goal is to thaw out their army and "upgrade" humanity. Naturally, the Doctor and Amy have something to say about that.
- Duke Nukem 3D with an all out assault and in Duke Nukem Forever the aliens come back. And they come back angry.
- Ecco The Dolphin: Both game storylines involve aliens. In the first game, the Vortex aliens have been content to just suck up critters from Earth's seas every 500 years, but after Ecco beats them, their Queen follows him back to Earth in the second game, where she and her children proceed to mess everything up. Eventually, she flees back in time to infiltrate Earth from there. Word of God has it that it worked, but not the way she wanted it to; the Vortex lose their identity as a species and give rise to arthropods. The third game involves some completely different aliens called the Foe; their time travelling shenanigans actually work to change Earth's future, until Ecco stops them.
- Gungrave: A race of parasitic aliens called "Methuselah" came to the planet eons ago and just wanted to infect all living things with the substance that the main characters know as the designer drug called "Seed". It turns humans and animals into mindless mutants subservient to the alien consciousness. It was these beings that manipulated and corrupted Harry in the original game, provided the technology that created the Necrolization Project, and gave Garino, the Big Bad of Overdose, power beyond imagination. Garino was even planning to leave the planet to continue spreading seed.
- Half-Life is about aliens from Xen coming through a portal to Earth, albeit unintentionally (though given the chance, the Nihilanth was more than happy to conquer, or try it anyway). The second is set in a dystopia where different aliens, the Combine, came through and defeated both the Xenians and Earth in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
- Halo: The Covenant attack Earth colonies before finally taking the fight to Earth. In order to prevent an alien invasion, all ships that are losing a battle are commanded to wipe their memory banks and self-destruct, denying the aliens knowledge of human colony locations, as well as Earth. In the end the Covenant find Earth anyway though they were looking for something else, but this particular strategy allowed humanity to fight for years, when otherwise they would have been defeated in weeks or months.
- Iji Starts six months after the almost all-out attack has succeeded. Then looms the danger of a really all-out attack.
- Invasion The Abductors is a light gun rail shooter that revolves around saving the Earth from an invasion.
- Mario and Luigi: Partners In Time The main plot has the Mario Bros. team up with their infant selves to thwart the invasion of the alien Shroobs.
- Mass Effect: The Reapers, the Man Behind the Man in the first two games, directly assault Earth (having already gone through the batarians) in a massed invasion in the opening of Mass Effect 3. Next on their list are the turians, and the krogan, and so on.
- Mega Man Star Force : In the story, alien life forms, called FM-ians, must fuse with humans who are very lonely through manipulation in order to attack other people. This is because being energy waves they have no physical form and thus can't harm physical beings under normal circumstances. They can't even be seen normally. Fusing with humans allows the FM-ian to materialize and thus cause physical harm. They can also disrupt electronic devices or if there is enough electromagnetic energy being emitted, turn people into energy waves to attack them.
- Kid Hero Geo Stelar and a renegade FM-ian, Omega-Xis, merge into Mega Man to defend the Earth from the FM-ians who, in turn, attempt to draw the pair out in order to defeat them and reclaim an item Omega-Xis has to unleash their Dooms Day Device on Earth.
- Metal Slug 2: The Mars People arrive The War of the Worlds style aliens who attack using flying saucers. When they're driven off, one of them impersonates Morden and tries to use the Rebellion Army as a weapon in Metal Slug 3. Once that's uncovered, the heroes attack their mothership and destroy their leader, Rootmars. Properly chastised, the Mars People become a bit more peaceful, and serve as allies in the sixth game to fight an invasion from Beneath the Earth that considers them snack food.
- Space Invaders, of course. The Invaders use the all-out attack approach.
- Starcraft: the Terrans are facing two invasions: the Zerg and Protoss. The Zerg favor infiltration infestation as a way to soften up targets for the Swarm. The Protoss, on the other hand, employ a range of tactics, from "shoot missiles at it" through "shoot more missiles at it" past "throw in lasers for good measure" and on to "screw it, let's just sterilize the planet". Notable in all of this is the Battle of Tarsonis, where the Zerg, Protoss, and Terran rebels all try the All-Out Attack on the poor planet at the same time. The Protoss were not as much invading the Terrans as they were containing the Zerg who would then perform an all out invasion on the Protoss.
- Universe at War: Earth Assault: An all out attack, In a subversion, humanity fails utterly at repelling the invading Hierarchy and are reduced to bit players, forced to watch as a race of mechanical Laser Guided Tykebombs arrive on Earth and the ancient Atlanteans awake, both species intent on bloody revenge against the Hierarchy for crimes committed against them in the past.
- X-COM: The various aliens in the game series are generally set on utterly destroying humanity. The infiltration method they attempt in the first game was merely a tactic toward the goal of total destruction.
- X-COM: Interceptor is an inversion, of sorts, as it's the humans who are trying to muscle in on the aliens' turf.
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012) changes things up a bit. The aliens are still invading, but world domination or the extinction of humanity are not their goals this time around. They're actually testing humanity to see if we can A) survive their limited but devastating onslaught and B) see if we can develop Psychic Powers, and thus join the Ethereals as equals.
- And the theme returns in the X-Com series' Spiritual Successor, Xenonauts. The game even comes up with a plausible new reason for the escalation. It turns out that the alien ships are not designed for atmospheric flight, much less Old-School Dogfights, but the aliens are slowly modifying their craft with the smallest craft modified faster.
- The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (which occupies an Alternate Continuity, despite being touted as a prequel), has the aliens as Planet Looters who need to constantly take other planets, as they quickly use up any planet under their rule. Any new race is added to Mozaic to be used as soldiers for the next invasion.
- The first two Escape Velocity games featured space combat against alien invaders. In the original, the Confederation nearly wiped them out completely. In Override, the United Earth pushed the Voinians back pretty darn far; the war continues (apparently. There is a peace treaty, but no one seems to bother about it outside the treaty station of Pax), but has devolved into frequent border skirmishes.
- In the UFO After Blank series, the aliens are launching all-out attacks. Unlike many examples, the first invasion was not only successful, but devastatingly so, and the human resistance is made up of the survivors of the initial invasion. In addition, the first invasion force, made up of the Reticulans, is actually a small renegade force from their main, benevolent empire who have limited resources, which is the only reason you're able to hold your own against them at first. The subsequent alien invasions in the later games have their own reasons for being limited in overall force. Ultimately, it turns out that all of the alien invaders from the first two games are subsets of larger civilizations, and have been mind-controlled by another alien force that are engaging in a massive interstellar mating ritual in which the "males" take over civilizations and have them fight to prove themselves worthy to mate with a female, which the first Reticulan invaders brought to Earth.
- The Kreegans of Might and Magic and Heroes of Might and Magic turn out to be this. The twist is that it looks like a Demonic Invasion to most natives (the Kreegan look similar to the actual demons of the setting, and they are unambigiously evil), to the point that Heroes only presents a slight hint that there's something else going on.
- One of the special challenge paths you can play in Kingdom of Loathing involves an invasion of super-intelligent bugbears from outer space.
- In Saints Row IV, the plot revolves around the Zin invading Earth, and it's up to the Saints to kill them and save Steelport and Earth altogether.
- Super Mario Fusion Revival has Martians invade World 2, which is based on our Earth (with a good helping of Metal Slug thrown in). In World 6, the Covenant and other alien forces are making war with each other.
- Elite Beat Agents: In the final level, a race of aliens known as the Rhombulans take over Earth and outlaw music. If anyone is caught singing, dancing, or trying to enjoy music in general, they either get Taken for Granite or sent to what's basically a concentration camp. But as it turns out, they don't just hate music, music actually hurts them. Which leads to their inevitable downfall as a result of a worldwide rock concert.
- This is Hello Kitty Roller Rescue's plot. Following his last, disastrous attempt at conquering a planet, the evil Emperor Block-O stumbles upon Earth and decides that this time, he will succeed.
- A variation in Freelancer, where it's not Earth that's under threat but the humans living in the Sirius Sector. The aliens are infiltrating the four Houses and are attempting to cripple the human fleets before making their move.
- Inverted in FTL: Faster Than Light, the premise of which revolves around the human-supremacist Rebel fleet trying to destroy The Federation, which is comprised of other humans and, more importantly, various united alien races.
- The Burning Legion from Warcraft looks like a demonic invasion, but it's really this. All of them are beings from other worlds who were united under Sargeras' banner. All of them are evil either because of fel energy or because, as is the case with the Nathrezim aka Dread Lords, that's just who they are. The Old Gods are a similar case, being horrific Planetary Parasites that infested Azeroth long ago.
- The First and Second Wars can also be seen as this, as Orcs are not native to Azeroth, having come through the Dark Portal from Draenor. They were meant to be the vanguard for the Burning Legion, but failed when the Alliance defeated them in the Second War.
- It says something about the world of Nier that an alien invasion that occurs sometime after the events of the game actually makes things better if only because it convinces the Shades and Replicants to work together to fight it.
- The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!: Subverted, where the Nemesites have legally owned Earth since before mankind even evolved. Until we develop good enough technology to leave Earth, they don't particularly care whether or not we know they own the planet. Space Pirates do attack Earth once, not to conquer it but to randomly steal stuff. Nemesite Princess Voluptua comes to stop them, informing them, "Earth is a nature preserve, you feebs! This isn't even piracy—It's poaching!"
- Titanzer: They not only invaded but punched the head off the statue of liberty.
- The webcomic Hexenringe starts with a meteor crashing to Earth from which an alien Kaiju emerges. Soon after A very hip HenshinHero who is also an alien arrives to save the day.
- The Earth of Deviant Universe has had two of them, led by the same individual.
- In The Last Angel, this is how the compact grows. Standard first contact protocol is to jump a fleet in above an enemy world and ask it to join. If they decline, the fleet starts shooting until they say yes.
- SCP Foundation, SCP-2069 ("AEGIS"). SCP-2069 is the debris that washed up on the shore of Australia after falling into the Foundation's Earth through a transdimensional breach. In an Alternate Universe, an alien space fleet attacked the Earth and destroyed all major cities, then invaded. The Foundation and the Global Occult Coalition teamed up (calling themselves "AEGIS") to fight them, and ultimately deployed a weapon of mass destruction that caused the breach.
- An Introduction to Planetary Defense by Travis S. Taylor, Bob Boan, R.C. Anding and T. Conley Powell: A nonfiction look at the possibilities of an alien invasion of Earth. They make various suggestions, discuss issues regarding first contact, and possible ways to help deal with an invasion.
- When Aliens Attack: A production on the National Geographic Channel, and takes a look at the trope, using input from scientists, military personnel, and various other professionals.