Review by tgoldberg

Reviewed: 09/03/09

Defender feels like a college programming project that was never finished.

Defender was originally released by Williams in the arcades, and was a huge hit. Naturally, Atari wanted to make a version for their 2600 system. The Atari version was also a success, and unlike Pac-Man, did not get any flak for it's glaring flaws. Well, I'm here to tell you how bad this version really is, especially when compared to it's superb arcade counterpart.

Gameplay: 4.9

Like Pac-Man, all of the basic elements are there, but they're executed in a very bad way. You play as a space ship called The Defender who must shoot down the attacking aliens who want to kidnap and mutate the humans. In each wave, a certain number of aliens appear, which you must shoot to win the wave. This all sounds fine, but when you actually play it you realise what a travesty this game is. To begin with, the aliens flicker terribly and present very little challenge, your ship disappears when you shoot, aliens move like their feet are ablaze, and using the smart bomb and hyperspace abilities are annoying, forcing you to go off the screen to activate them. Couple that with awkward scrolling and you've got one half-busted game on your hands.

Graphics: 5.7

Defender doesn't look a whole lot better than it plays, either. The mountain ranges of the arcade version have been replaced with a city landscape, which, while it makes more sense, looks horribly blocky and seems far too short and wide for a normal city. Another gripe is the fact that the people are just little white blocks who look too large for those tiny buildings. Also, most of the enemy sprites look more blocky and generic than they did originally, as does your ship.

Sound: 4.0

Just like the graphics, the sound is hopelessly generic. All of it is just simple blip or fwoosh noises that don't suit the game well at all. There really isn't mush else to say about the sound.

Value: 2.0

All you're getting for your money is a horribly lackluster version of a great arcade game. Even with how cheap this game is, you'll still feel burned that you paid good, hard cash for this disappointing game.

Overall: 4.0

This version of Defender feels like a college programming project that was never finished. Even if you've never played the arcade version, this lackluster 2600 version will do nothing to satisfy you.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Product Release: Defender (US, 12/31/81)

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