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While it is a heap of fun, Defender is not as big of a breakthrough as the original was. On the plus side of things, being able to pickup and deliver colonists, tanks and missile crawlers does add some strategy to what could have been a mindless space combat game. However, the game could have been made more intense simply by adding three or four wingmen to your side. Having ground forces helps but they are your support, not your comrades. Perhaps Defender II could throw in a few wingmen and maybe even a branching storyline. As much as I enjoyed Defender, a little something more would have made this a stellar title.
The Next Level
For all the flack Midway gets from most gamers, this has been a breakout year for them. After their incredible run of sports games that included the superb MLB Slugfest 2003, and the successful revival of Mortal Kombat, Defender is another notch on the belt for one of the oldest American publishers. While many gamers can’t appreciate a good shooter nowadays, those who can are recommended to give this one a try. You might be surprised at what you find.
There is plenty of great action that will appeal to fans of the original, and even the kids of those same fans. So whether you want to save the universe from oppressive aliens one more time or just bond with junior, Defender is the perfect game for the job and one that is guaranteed to entertain everyone who plays it. With so few games in the simulation/shooter genre, this should probably be a part of everyone's game library.
Defender is a bit of a surprise in that it's a decent game that builds upon the arcade original and delivers a fun mission-based 3D space shooter. There are some let-downs in the lack polish outwith the core game and the bare bones offering of basic single-player and two-player modes, but it's an overlooked title that Gamecube and Wii owners should definitely check out.
With this whole slew of Midway games. Mortal Kombat: DA, Dr. Muto, Haven... the one that shines the most is Defender. I didn't have super high expectations of the game so I wasn't let down at all. Sure it's no Starfox or Rouge Leader and it doesn't have the impact that the classic Defender had, but it is a darn fine flight shooter that most gamers can enjoy. So if you're waiting on that next "big" game on your favorite console, Midway's Defender is a good buy to occupy your time.
The stages of Defender are mostly a wash, rinse, dry, & do it again(over and over) gameplay. The new Defender has you picking up the colonist and dropping them off at a drop zone. Of course, the Manti aren’t just going to let you get away with their dinner so you have a short time to get the colonist to safety. The Manti will try and capture the colonist as well. If a colonist is captured, you have to be careful to rescue the human, by killing the Manti and catching the human as he falls(in slow motion). Failure to rescue the colonist will result in a mutation where the Manti that captured him becomes a more difficult and pretty damn fast opponent to beat. Since it’s so hard to aim anyway. The more humans you rescue, the easier the level, and the more points you earn.
The original Defender is one of those games that practically every old-school gamer has played, and the mention of its name usually brings a grin to their faces as a bit of nostalgia starts running through their head. The original game is a classic, and the new version aims to stay true to its predecessor more than completely revamping it.
When it comes to releasing remakes of classic games, Midway, having one of the richest arcade histories in the entire business, is one of the best-equipped companies. Midway successfully delved into its back catalog last year with an update to its popular arcade game Spy Hunter. Now, one of the company's most famous properties, Defender, is getting an update of its own. The original was a feverish side-scrolling shooter in which the player needed to defend earthlings against a relentless alien invasion. The remake has many of the same themes and elements as the original, but it now plays from a behind-the-ship perspective and has a much heavier emphasis on scripted missions. And while it isn't quite as successful as Spy Hunter at re-creating the feel of the old game, Defender still puts on a decent show.
In the end, Defender isn’t entirely without merit but it is a game that keeps itself from being easy to recommend for anything more than a rental, if even that. Even fans of the original, unless they really want to go back to the one-dimensional “shoot things and repeat play” of the original, will probably find it hard to be compelled to play through the game with enthusiasm. Defender, in the end, just comes off as a reasonably well-made game that desperately needs a soul.