Defender


Title		Defender
Game Type	Shoot-em-up
Players		1 or 2
Compatibility	All
Available       Magazine coverdisk (Blitz Basic 2)
Submission	Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer

Review
Most of you will probably be aware of what Defender the arcade game was,
but for those that aren`t, here`s a brief description.

The game is essentially a sideways scrolling shoot-em-up, where you fly a
fighter craft over a lunar-type landscape, attempting to protect people,
wandering around on the ground, from hostile ships.  The graphics are
basic by todays standards, but in it`s time the game was not only
advanced, but radically so. You controlled the ship by means of a short
joystick for controlling height, a thrust button, and a reverse button
that swung your ship round to face the other way. You also had a
hyperspace button that would apparently disintegrate your ship into a neat
pseudo 3D explosive effect, and then (sometimes) re-integrate at another
location. Armament consisted of the forward firing laser, and the
devastating smart bomb, which would take out all the enemies on your
current screen. On the first level, you were attacked by a number of
Landers, that look very like the alien ships in Space Invaders, their main
objective was to abduct your people on the ground. After the Lander had
picked up somebody, it climbed gradually to the top of the screen,
whereupon it mutated into a far more deadly ship known as a Mutant. It
looked like a Lander, but you could see the man inside, and his head was
now flashing! Before the man was absorbed (at the top of the screen) you
had the chance to take out the Lander, and catch the man, as (like David
Bowie before him) he fell to Earth. This could call for some fairly nifty
flying, and this is another area of great strength in the game; the
control is superb, giving a real sensation of high speed blasting. If all
ten of your men were abducted, the landscape appered to explode in a very
dramatic way, and you were "blown out to space" where you`d typically face
hordes of Mutants, all obsessed with the idea of ending your worthless
existence. In general, life became more difficult with each successive
level, and several alien types appeared, including the Bombers, slow but
sometimes annoyingly tricky to kill, the Pods, which sprouted a squadron
of Swarmers, and the Baiters which were activated after you`d being
playing a given level for a certain amount of time.

An arguably innovative feature of the game was the scanner. Commonplace
these days, but at the time, it took a conscious effort of will to look
away from your ship, and up at the scanner, allowing you to approach
off-screen hostiles in a far more efficient manner, as well as keeping an
eye on the all important people.

So what`s been lost in the Blitz Basic 2 version of Defender? Well, not
much. The hyperspace feature no longer exists, but this was pretty much of
a last resort, high risk maneuvre anyway, so apart from the flashy effect,
I don`t see this as a major ommission. Other than that, it`s pretty much
all there. One thing, I have noticed, the Landers seem to know exactly
where you`re vulnerable when you overshoot them and then reverse
direction. They deal with the situation by lobbing an extremely well aimed
projectile right through your windscreen. You learn to allow for this.
Sonically, the game is as good as ever with the original effects bringing
back a wave of nostalgia. A definite thumbs up result, if you`re a fan of
the original, and well worth checking if you`re uninitiated.

I`ve tried to explain to my son that this game was actually fairly
signifigant for him. You see, many years ago I used to go to this cafe on
a regular basis because they had a Defender machine. The thing is, I ended
up marrying one of the waitresses. I blame Williams!  :)


Category list.

Alphabetical list.