Two sides with identical capabilities vie to destroy each other's headquarters by escorting a demolition team to the opposite end of the battlefield. In addition to dispatching these teams and other ground units, players directly pilot a heavily-armed helicopter.
Tropes found in Rescue Raiders:
- Anti-Air — Copters are the target of anti-aircraft gun emplacements, and of the missile carrier (a unit which self-destructs upon launching its single missile).
- Attract Mode — The computer plays itself while displaying credits and high scores.
- Enemy-Detecting Radar — Displays everything on the entire length of the battlefield.
- Garrisonable Structures — Bunkers.
- Gunship Rescue — The player can effect these.
- Idiosyncratic Wipes — The intro uses a wipe suggestive of helicopter blades.
- Make Wrong What Once Went Right — The game's Excuse Plot—omitted from the remake—has terrorists going back in time to aid Hitler, while your forces use another time machine to track and stop them.
- My Rules Are Not Your Rules — You lose if you run out of copters. The AI player has unlimited copters.
- Scoring Points — The point system is loosely based on morality, penalizing protracted and costly battles.
- Shows Damage — Your copter emits smoke until repaired.
- Tank Goodness — Tanks are the most powerful mobile ground unit...
- Vulnerable Convoy — ...but are as powerless against a bomb-dropping helicopter as the demolition vans they protect.
Tropes specific to Armor Alley:
- Captain Obvious — One of the "Battle Hints" is "Low fuel means low fuel."
- The Computer Is a Lying Bastard — Another Battle Hint is "Never believe everything you read."
- Motion Parallax — An optional feature, in case you find it distracting. You can also disable the scenic background altogether.
- War Is Hell — The snippets of story in the game and the manual have this theme.I don't recognize any of the guys I'm with here, and I don't know if it's because they're green troops and all my friends are dead, or because I'm losing my mind.