Yet more Retro goodness although rereading this, not one of my better reviews. Pretty shabby. Sorry.
Save the humans! Defender 2000 has arrived and it’s blasting time.
Once again, Jeff Minter has woven his magic to create an updated and enhanced version of the timeless arcade game Defender. There are three versions to play, Classic, Plus and 2000.
For those who aren’t old enough to remember the original, Defender has you controlling a ship that flies over a scrolling landscape protecting humans from invading nasties. There are several kinds of enemies. The main ones are landers that steal humans and use them to turn into mutants which are faster deadlier versions of landers. Other targets includes ones that break into swarmers when blasted. These are small,fast and very hard to shoot. You can either be shot or collide with trails left by certain invaders. Each level has a fixed number of enemies and when they’ve all been destoyed you get a bonus for your remaining humans. Your basic weapons are a laser and smart-bombs that destroy everything currently on screen. You get an extra life and smart-bomb every 10,000 points. If all the humans are lost then the planet explodes. It’s then wall to wall mayhem as you get attacked from all sides. The action is fast and exciting. On later levels the adrenaline really starts pumping. In my opinion, Defender is probably one of the finest games ever designed. Atari brought in the original designer and coder of the arcade version, Eugene Jarvis for final approval and he was very happy with the conversion.
Starting with the Classic version, this is a near as dammit perfect copy. The sounds effects are sampled straight from the original game. The game plays and feels just like the arcade version in almost all respects. I couldn’t find a real arcade machine to check but the end of wave graphics did seem a little different though.
The Plus version adds updated graphics with detailed, shaded sprites. The ground features some psychedelic swirling colours that only Mr Minter could provide. Finally, there are some power-ups to enhance your weaponry. This too is very playable.
Last and unfortunately least comes the 2000 mode. Whereas Tempest 2000 was a superb variation, Defender 2000 sadly doesn’t cut it. The graphics are just far too fast. The background is completely different and it’s quite hard to keep track of where you are and what’s going on. The scrolling is rough and leaps along in quite large jumps. There are some nice bonus items to collect to help make your ship a bit more powerful though. Despite many attempts at playing this version, I found it more a case of luck that skill when achieving a high score.
Each flavour of Defender has its own high score. The high score letters have those Minter sparkling trails as you add your name. There are some nicely drawn static screens too.
Another plus is some excellent techno music that’s even better than that in Tempest 2000. Crank up that volume and enjoy!
Defender 2000 has a lot to live up to after Tempest 2000. If you want an almost perfect copy of original Defender then this game is a must. The Plus version is a bonus and in some ways can be more fun to play. However, the star of the show, Defender 2000 is really just a case of ‘nice try’.
The bottom line for me though is that when I send this review cart back to Atari, I’m going to go straight down the shops to buy my own copy, just for playing Classic Defender.
Product Name: Defender 2000
Telephone: 01753 xxxxxx
Pros: Classic version. Sound effects, Music.
Cons: 2000 mode too hard.