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Released: 1982

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Atari 8-bit

Publisher: Atari

Developer: Atari

Submitted by: Anthony Staude

Conversion from arcade version.

The aim of the game is to defend the humans against alien attack on a horizontally scrolling wrap-around world.

The graphics are fast, colorful and the scrolling is smooth and flowing. Sound effects are good. Everything you would expect from a good arcade conversion is here.

The only major difference is the control system adopted by the Atari version. Whereas the original arcade had 5 buttons and a joystick, the Atari version uses only the joystick and a single button for firing the graphically impressive laser. There are also controls for the smart bomb.and hyperspace but you tend not to use these as much. (I usually end up using my foot to tap the space bar to activate the smart bombs).

The simplified controls are a blessing as it allows new players to begin enjoying blasting rather than trying to master the original coin-op's un-intuitive, multi-button nightmare. Many arcade players were  put-off by the seemingly complex (at that time) controls.

The Atari 8-bit version's controls are accurate and responsive. Collision detection is good. It's quite satisfying to just zoom around the landscape merrily firing away at the out-gunned aliens as they appear.

The more astute players will learn that the radar plays an important part of the game allowing you to quickly located humans being abducted by the evil aliens. Once a captive is brought up to the top of the screen, you lose one fo your ten humanoids that you were protecting and the alien goes crazy, ferciously making it's way to you with a matching frenzied sound effect. You can try to stop it be accurately shooting just the alien and then swooping down and saving your humanoid from the fall back to earth. If you lose all 10 huamoids, the landscape disappears and you faced with swarms of frenzied aliens.

Smart bombs are useful on later levels to wipe out everything on the screen. Replacement bombs are acquired reasonably quickly so don't be scared of using them after all, you can't use them when it's game over.

With difficulty settings and alternating two player supports, it's a great conversion – the best home version of Defender on any 8-bit computer.


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Released: 1980

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Colecovision

Publisher: Williams Entertainment

Developer: Eugene Jarvis

Submitted by: Sean O'Neill

Now at the peak of its time, Defender was a star, for videogames but also for pop culture.  Even people who weren't in the gaming scene knew what a "Defender" was.   But done with background and out with my review;  Its a good game, may not have topped others like Space Invaders or the genderless Pac-Man, but it was still a good game.  You played as a ship, which I propose is the "Defender" and you scroll from the screens left and right shoot any enemies in your way.  Considering the other shooters' at the time, Defender was a very original game.  The last time I played this game was on the Midway Arcade Treasures for PS2 (I recommend picking it up, its on GCN and Xbox), but my memory comes from the Colecovision version, which featured more impressive colors ad pixels than in the original… can't really blame them.