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3D Defender

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Released: 1981

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: ZX 80/81

Publisher: J K Greye Software

Developer: J K Greye

Submitted by: Alex Reeves

If you have not seen 3D Monster Maze on the ZX81 then check out my review, its probably the best game ever on the machine.

A close second though is 3D Defender, also by J K Greye, and rather than set in a maze, it is set in the depths of space.

The object of the game is to fly you ship through space in search of alien ships. Flight was in 3 dimensions, allowing you to turn left an right and also up and down with the flight stick (or rather the 4 keys). The fifth key activated the fire button for your photon torpedoes, which could be launched at any passing alien ships.

The 3D effect was very convincing, with Alien ships expanding in detail as they zoomed closer, and you had to time the firing of your torpedo to hit the ship as it arrived in the centre of the screen. But don't hang around too long or they will shoot you back.

To help you in your hunt you had a proximity meter which hinted at the position of an alien.

A simple concept but difficult to master until you got the hang of the timing, and very well executed.

Like 3D Monster Maze, difficult to believe that this kind of effect could be acheived with such basic graphics. At a time when most games involved a “C” chasing an “X” around a block maze, this was head and shoulders above the rest.