Thursday, January 15, 2015

Nerdicus NES Review #165: Defender II

Title : Defender II

Publisher : HAL Laboratories

Developer : Vid Kidz

Genre : Scrolling Shooter

Players :  1 Player

Release Date : 1988

Estimated Value (as of today's date): $3-$5

Some of you oldies may remember this gem from back in the early 1980s. Heck, I wasn't exposed to this game until I was in my teens when I ran into it at a local arcade. Of course, I saw it as Defender Stargate, but when it was pushed over to the home console it's name changed to Defender II. Not sure why, I prefer the name Stargate but it really has nothing to do with the famed series that came out many years later.

Apparently there was a whole trademark thing going on, but I don't really want to get into that because it's not my cup of tea. So if you're interested in hearing about lawsuits, legal issues, and all that good stuff, go to wiki. It's quite funny though, because Atari released it under Stargate, but the other consoles didn't, so the naming wahoo for this game is an absolute mess.

You know what, I actually think I have an old atari cart lying around for this game. I better go dig through my closet later.

But forget about names, let's talk about games. Defender II is your bloggers favorite scrolling shooter (seriously, I know there are system limitations but did every company have to pump out like three or four scrolling shooters?). I'm just craving a variation and something different. So let's see how defender II holds up.

Here's the deal, Defender II doesn't follow your traditional scrolling shooter format. In fact, it gives you a very specific objective: DON'T LET THE LITTLE PEOPLE DIE!! See those little things at the bottom of the screen? Yup, those are your loyal subjects. They die, and it's game over man. At least it's better than mindlessly destroying enemy drones. In this game you actually feel like you're accomplishing something.

The screen is an endless loop, so regardless of how far left or right you travel, you'll always end up back where you started. Incorporate the use of stargates to quickly transport to friends in need, and you've got yourself a nice little fast paced game.

And don't worry, there's a radar at the top of the screen that let's you know just where you are, so you don't get lost.

You've got your standard attack fare. A straight forward laser that'll cut through your enemies like butter, or your good 'ol "God save the queen" bomb that'll destroy every enemy on the screen. Handy for when you find yourself completely outnumbered. Which you will. A lot.

And that's the great thing about this game. There are so many different enemies that you'll have to take care of throughout all the levels that each stage feels like a whole new challenge. You've got Landers who try to capture the humans and blast you out of the sky. Then you've got the Baiters who zig-zag around the screen and basically try to suicide run into you. There's Bombers that launch stationary air mines, or Pods that explode into tiny little mini alien fighters. There's seriously over a dozen enemy types that you're going to encounter. Much more entertaining than just one or two simple ships that fire at you.

Defender II proves its worth and stands the test of time. Somewhat - visually there's absolutely nothing to it. It's from the early 80's and the ports don't do much justice so I won't harp on it, but seriously it's bland. For a NES game, it feels like an Atari rip. BUT, that doesn't take away from the fun factor.

And hey, guess what? I ACTUALLY ENJOYED MYSELF! It's a highly entertaining shooter, and the fact that I have lives to save gives me a sense of accomplishment every time I beat a stage. I mean, I'm a God damn hero!


Final Score (out of 5) :

Until Next time - Keep on Gaming!



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