Atari 2600 – Defender

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“Oh noes, it’s the invisibility/enlarger-beam!”


This is the port of one of the bestselling-arcade games of all time, but you may already know the concept from older systems like the TRS-80 (Strike-Force).

Defender is a side-scrolling shooter that lets you move anywhere on an endless looping map with the goal to kill every enemy and save abducted humans.
The one thing all of these games have in common is the high difficulty.
Defender is no exception to this rule.
Enemies appear out of nowhere and fire at you relentlessly.
Thank god you have three bombs and a fast firing laser beam at your disposal.

Sadly, one fact is making the game harder than it needs to be: constant flickering.
Every time you or the enemy fires, the ship become invisible for the fraction of a second. And since you are in a nonstop battle you can expect a seizure-inducing rave party.
Same goes for the minimap on top of the screen but that thing is useless anyway.
Are you really expecting me to focus on a tiny map while dodging bullets left and right?

It’s quite a shame.
Defender has colorful graphics, some impressive effects (your beam for example) and constant sound effects that put you directly onto the battlefield.
You probably won’t enjoy it for too long tho as the flickering will strain your eyes and give you a bad headache after ten minutes.

4/10

1
Not in the screenshot: your ship that is shooting at this very moment (long, orange line).
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