The Micro User1st July 1986
Published in The Micro User 4.05
A shoot-out to give the keys some stick
With software houses currently tending to prefer levels and ladders games and multi-screen maze adventures, it's nice now and again to get back to a real hectic key bashing shoot out.
With this new release from Incentive that's just what you'll let yourself in for.
The original version of this game was very popular in the arcades when Defender was just arriving on the scene, and it's a reasonably faithful representation of it, even down to the catchy fanfare.
Against a backdrop of falling stars you arrive on the scene in a three stage rocket. Immediately stages two and three drop back out of sight to be on stand by, and you are let loose in only the nose section, stage one. This has a single laser cannon, and you use it to see off wave after wave of alien nasties as you dodge left and right across the screen trying to avoid contact with them.
Should you emerge successfully from four waves of attacks you move on to the first docking stage.
Here you must try to join with stage two ofyour ship, the object being to continue the fray with this stage attached. Fail and you must carry on with stage two, as your original ship explodes in fragments.
Whether using stages one and two, or just stage two on its own, a docking exercise with stage three awaits should you survive four more waves of aliens.
This stage also has two forward facing lasers further outboard providing a possible total of five should you dock successfully.
All the lasers fire virtually simultaneously with three rapid presses of a single key and this extra firepower is a situation to be achieved as often as possible.
There are 10 waves of aliens, with pairs of waves virtually identical, the only difference being their colour. For example, waves one and two are large swirling sprites looking rather like enormous eyelashes.
You can only destroy half of each alien when you hit it; half remains to carry on the fight, and they have the un-nerving habit of sometimes going off the bottom of the screen and approaching from the rear. One touch from these and you explode.
Wave 5 and 6 are devious beasts and caused me a lot of heartache. They dart around the screen erratically and hyperspace at random, re-appearing wherever suits them.
They sometimes materialise over your ship's position, resul ting in an immediate explosion and the loss of a ship. There's not a lot you can do about this and it's the only part of the game I disliked.
There's a reasonably safe zone to the extreme left and right of the screen, but it cramps your style to stay there.
The game has many of the extras you would expect from first class software - user-definable keys, a joystick option, one or two players, and a facility to turn off the well used sound. It's also great fun to play and extremely addictive, but I don't think it is likely to leap to the top of the charts.