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Defender II / Stargate

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Released: 1984

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Atari 2600

Publisher: Atari

Developer: Williams

Submitted by: Alex Reeves

Anyone who owned an Atari 2600 will remember the excitement of bringing home the latest arcade conversion and firing it up for the first time – sometimes rewarded with a faithful reproduction such Space Invaders, other times a complete dogs breakfast such as Pac-Man.

The original Defender game for the Atari 2600 very much fell into the Pac-Man category, with some terrible graphics and iffy gameplay that appeared nothing like the original aracde game.

Fortunately for fans of the Williams arcade game, the lack of a decent home port was addressed with the release of Defender II, also known as Stargate.

This version managed to replicate all of the main elements of the original, with graphics and sounds that seemed impossible on the humble 2600 machine.  The complex muti function controls were never going to work on the basic one button joystick,  but by cunning use of the second joystick, features like warp and smart bomb could also be accessed.

For most arcade fans there/s little required in terms of description of the gameplay, but for those who were not around in the 80's the game was a horizontal wrap-around shooter that required you to defend the earth from invaders, who were out to the kidnap humans from the planet's surface.  Shoot the invaders before they pick up the humans, or carefully shoot the invader and catch the human as they fall back to earth.  If the alien escapes with his human hostage, he will return as a mutant, relentlessly zoning in on your ship at high speed….

Up there in my Top 10 Atari 2600 games of all time and still a joy to play today.