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Xtreme Classix - Defender


Defender Atari 2600 Screenshot 1
Defender (Atari 2600)

Earth's "friendship" signals, beamed into deep space and beyond the Milky Way, have attracted extraterrestrial beings, all right, but not the ones we expected. Now wave after wave of warlike Aliens from some unidentified solar system "home in" and attack. In the cockpit of Universal Space Ship Defender, you wait tensely, watching your scanner for approaching aliens. There they are! First comes a lone Bomber, laying space mines. You pick that off with your laser missiles with no trouble. But an innocent-looking Pod ship explodes when you hit it, releasing clusters of missile- splitting Swarmers. Whew! That was close! Now what? Your Scanner shows a convoy of saucer-shaped Baiters coming fast and escorting a squadron of Landers. Space Intelligence has informed you that the Landers' diabolical mission is to kidnap Earth's Humanoids and transform them into hideous flying Mutants programmed to destroy the cities and take over the Earth.

In the city below, Humanoids run helter-skelter through the streets like frightened ants. Some cower in doorways, hoping, no doubt, that the Landers will overlook them. No chance! Look! See that terrified Humanoid wriggling helplessly in the force of the Lander beam? No time to lose! Thrust out and blast that Lander with your laser missiles. There! That got him. Now dive down and catch the Humanoid. Hurry! Hurry! He's falling fast!
--From the Atari 2600 Defender instruction manual.

Defender is a very entertaining game. The graphics were not very good just like most Atari 2600 games. The game-play, on the other hand, was great. The side-scrolling fun never ends, especially since you can scroll either way. There are also warps that will take you somewhere else on the map. The radar at the top of the screen is a little tough to read, but helpful none the less. If you see a ship in the middle of abducting one of the people, shoot it down but be careful not to hit the victim. Defender is a great classic game, so give it a try!

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Defender Coleco Screenshot 1
Defender (Coleco)

Aliens from a distant solar system are swarming over the planet Humanis. They're kidnapping Humanoids and mutating them into a permanent part of the alien force. Their mission is to transform all of the Humanoids before destroying the entire planet. First, they infest the planet with Landers which close in on the planet, abducting the Humanoids.

Then the attack intensifies. Baiters, Swarmers, and Bombers terrorize the skies. And then, when you least expect it. A deadly Pod collides with your Spaceship, and blasts you to pieces.
--From the Coleco Defender instruction manual.

Defender is a very difficult space-based side-scrolling/wrap around shooter. Whew! Try saying that three times fast. Defender is very similar to Nova Blast (another Colecovision game) in its side-scrolling and wrapping format (which means that you can fly left until you eventually end up where you started from), but its appearance and game-play are rather different.

Defender lacks the colorful backgrounds that Nova Blast has. In fact, Defender looks more like Missile Command, very simple, bright-colored lines against a black background. Also, where you have four cities to defend in Nova Blast, you have many "Humanoids" to defend in Defender. Not only that, but the enemies are much more varied and deadlier in Defender. So, in Defender, you have a better chance of protecting your many Humanoids than you have to protect the four cities on Nova Blast, but you have a higher chance of getting killed by the enemy in Defender as well. Over all, I think Defender comes out to be the more difficult game.

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Defender 2 NES Screenshot 1
Defender 2 (NES)
Star date 7211, the distant planet, Ligaras, is being attacked by alien marauders. The residents of Ligaras are being abducted and turned into mutants. You as the top gun of the Defender team, must save these people. The aliens are mean and vicious. You must fight with Landers, Mutants, Yllabian Space Guppys, and more. There is a special gate in each screen which you can warp into the other side of the planet. You meet more enemies there to fight. You are the only one who can save the planet, battle with aliens at the speed exceeding the speed of light, in dark unknown space.
--From the NES Defender 2 instruction manual.

Defender is one of the biggest classics of all time. You get to defend the whole planet from the attack of aliens. Who could ask for more? This port onto the Nintendo was great. The graphics and controls were upgraded, but not too much so it still had that old arcade feel. I liked how you could actually see the alien craft picking up the innocent bystanders and carrying them off. You could still shoot the craft, but be careful not to hit the person being abducted. Play Defender and relive the past in style!

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Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits Super Nintendo Screenshot 1
Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits (Super Nintendo)
This is one of the compilations that game companies occasionally come up with. The games are as follows:

Defender: In this side-scrolling space shooter, you have to defeat all the enemies to continue to the next level.

Defender II: The sequel to Defender. In addition to all the features in the original, you can warp to the other side of the planet.

Joust: Knock all the enemies off the vultures and collect the eggs.

Robotron: 2084: Shoot the robots with your laser to proceed to the next level. Remember, the last human family's fate is in your hands.

Sinistar: Your goal in this game is to mine Sinibombs from asteroids and defeat Sinistar (the big white guy floating around). Also beware of the little aliens waiting to attack you.

I like the fact that Williams ported these games to SNES, but I don't get to see the attract screens. I would rather play the games in their Shockwave versions and in Midway Arcade Treasures (PS2, Xbox, GCN) than play ports that don't have the feel of the original.

I will list the controls for the games in the order that they're presented in the main menu.

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Arcade Classic 4 Gameboy Screenshot 1
Arcade Classic 4 (Gameboy)
Two memorable arcade games in one! In this bundle game, you get two beloved arcade games, Defender and Joust.

In Defender, aliens are trying to take over the Earth, and only you can help protect it. Get in your ship, and blast 'em all!

In Joust, you are in a medieval world, and you are a warrior. Clad in armor, and with your trusty ostrich steed, you must engage in battle, and fight other gladiators!

This game is good for nostalgic purposes. The graphics are not much to talk about. Pretty plain, in this gamer's opinion. The sounds are also lukewarm, with the only saving grace here being the music you must turn on by yourself at Options. The gameplay is classic, though, and will keep you going for a good time. I recommend this, if you don't mind the graphic or sound quality.

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Arcade Hits Joust & Defender Gameboy Color Screenshot 1
Arcade Hits Joust & Defender (Gameboy Color)
Classics being remade and ported wasn't to uncommon in the 90's! After the big video game bust, many companies were afraid to show their roots or stray too far away from them. In the late 90's when it was finally shown the gaming industry was here to stay, many companies wanted the new generation to know where gaming came from and to preserve their history. Where better than systems that never saw these games and a system that millions already owned. Make the classics portable, someone must have said at a meeting. Where some failed to deliver, Midway did the right thing and kept as much of the originals they had as possible!

The game play in these games was so simple that it made them both a blast to play. Sure, many games of their time were simple, but not all were easy, and while these games weren't meant for children, much of the general public felt comfortable playing both of these games. It may seem odd that these two games are paired, because in many people's eyes they are already paired. Ask some parents what their favorite games were and they'll say these two together. They are both fun, and both contained original side scrolling action. One on a constant platform, the other on a linear field that would change after multiple waves to another planet. You simply had to know one button for each and move fluidly, with some early physics that could judge momentum. These small enhancements are what made these games so addictive and fun, and thankfully have been practically untouched for this pack. Two games in one, and this pair couldn't have been any better. Had any of the original formula been touched in either of these ports, there would have been a tragic loss of game play value and nostalgia that would have severely ruined these games as they did in other compilations!

The graphics have been left nearly untouched as well. They tried to keep them as classic and yet upgraded as possible. It worked out very well. They remain as large as they need to be, detailed and colored while retaining the old feel with similar colors and designs. Both games are handled well for switching to the smaller screen and limited space. Nothing feels too small or left out. It keeps it amazingly close to the arcade counterparts! I was actually genuinely surprised that so much was intact. Every platform in Joust and every enemy will be easily visible, and no misjudgment will be made. Planets still change uniquely in Defender, and your laser will remain as trailing and colorful as ever. You'll be impressed to see the classics running so well on these tiny ports!

The sounds are also implemented well and manage to keep you engaged in the action, just as they did so many years ago. They didn't bother to update the cracking booms or other familiar sounds. This is very good, because many remade games suffered from uninspired and ignorant sounds that felt like they were made for kids. Not the case here. Again I was surprised, and you will be too. For once I wasn't turning the volume down on a GB game!

These games were classic then and classic now, and since nothing has been touched there isn't a thing to complain about. Sure the small resolution may make it a bit more difficult for some, but reliving these classics in full arcade glory will make you forget all about it being on the GameBoy to begin with!

That is why, Arcade Hits Joust & Defender, receives an 8.5 out of 10!

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