After months spent beavering away over a hot micro, Jeff Minter has finally unleashed his latest masterpiece - and it's a sequel to one of the greatest coin-ops of all time! Defender 2 not only contains Jeff's own sequel to Williams' classic coin-op, but also has versions of the original Defender and the classic Stargate thrown in for good measure - and at no extra cost!
Defender 2 contains elements from both Stargate and Defender (I'll assume you're familiar with the basic "protect the humanoid and shoot the meanies" gameplay), cunningly re-mixes with original ideas to produce this sequel. The first thing you'll probably notice is the fact that your defending craft now has a dinky little sidekick that contains four methods of dishing out mega-laser death. The toothpaste laser cuts through enemies requiring multiple hits, whilst the bomb pod releases a volley of bombs to ground-based targets. The upshooter blasts in an upward direction (makes sense) whilst the AI drove generally acts as a Nemesis-style multiple that actually homes in and dispatches the opposition! There's also a lightning bolt-style smart laser that releases deadly photons that rip all known enemies to shreds!
The gamplay is divided into distinct sections. First off, you'll have to blast away a Mission Wave (this usually involves destroying a certain breed of alien) and then normal Defender-type waves. To round the level off a Theme Wave has to be annihilated - these are much the same as the Mission Waves.
But along with the slightly re-jigged gameplay, there are also new breeds of alien to destroy and each new type is identified in a special tutorial section. There's also a comprehensive options page where the difficulty level, control method and choice of sonics can be selected.
Defender 2 was an incredible disappointment when we first booted it up on the office Amiga, mainly because it seemed to be an incredible effort just to survive five seconds without meeting a photon-laden doom. Also, the control method (using the mouse for movement and the keyboard to fire your various weapons systems) is extremely hard to get to grips with and the intuitive skill needed for the arcade original had been replaced with trying to find the right key at the right time.
However, once I'd dusted off my old Defender skills, I began to have a flippin' good time! I'm all for synthesized digital destruction on a grand scale and Defender 2 more than fits the bill. The promise of having Stargate and the original Defender thrown in sounds rather good, but neither plays much like its coin-op parent for some.
The package itself is fine, but for that adrenalin surge required by the gamesters of today, Datastorm is far superior.
Just as good as the Amiga game, with a little bit of speech thrown in for good measure! As Datastorm isn't available on the Atari ST, check this out.