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Defence Force

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Released: 1983

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Oric-1

Publisher: Tansoft

Developer: Andrew Moore

Submitted by: Nick Thorpe

It’s fair to say that Defence Force holds a special status amongst the Oric community. The game is iconic, to the point that its name has been borrowed by a demo group and a website. But what makes it so memorable?

Defence Force is very clearly inspired by the classic arcade game Defender, and follows the formula pretty closely. The main difference is that your laser fires automatically in Defence Force, allowing the player a little more space to think about movement.

The key to Defence Force’s enduring popularity is that it’s simply very well made – Andrew Moore did a remarkable job of imitating an arcade game that was still very recent on modest hardware. The game is visually close, with bright graphics and relatively smooth sprite movement. The effects on warp stages are impressive and the game throws around a large number of sprites, particularly during explosions. Sound is not quite as good, to put it kindly, but you can at least mute the game. Most importantly, the shooting retains the frantic feel that made Defender so popular with arcade players, which ensures that the game retains its loyal following to this day.