Join our Discord to chat with fellow friendly gamers and our knowledgeable contributors!

atari gravitar

User Reviews

A classic VIC-20 Katakis | カタキス (42836)
A great game from the Atari era. Atari 5200 Dark Lord (46)
The Apple II version of Defender had none of the appeal of the arcade game. Apple II Droog (522)

Our Users Say

Platform Votes Score
Adventure Vision Awaiting 5 votes...
Apple II 10 3.8
Arcade 10 3.6
Atari 2600 25 3.4
Atari 5200 9 3.9
Atari 8-bit 8 4.1
Browser Awaiting 5 votes...
ColecoVision 9 4.2
Commodore 64 10 3.9
Dedicated handheld Awaiting 5 votes...
Intellivision 9 4.1
Macintosh Awaiting 5 votes...
PC Booter 19 3.5
TI-99/4A 8 4.3
VIC-20 7 4.3
Xbox 360 Awaiting 5 votes...
Combined User Score 124 3.8

Critic Reviews

MobyRanks are listed below. You can read here for more information about MobyRank.
Atari 8-bitHome Computing Weekly (Sep 06, 1983)
The game plays well, but I felt slightly that the attacking types lacked conviction - the swarmers sometimes wander off, whilst the baiters can change course for no apparent reason. Despite this, it is definitely not a game for people with less than three hands.
ArcadeAll Game Guide (1998)
Colorful graphics, explosive sound effects, and intense shooting action makes Defender challenging and loads of fun.
Atari 8-bitThe Video Game Critic (Jan 28, 2003)
This Atari 8-bit version is excellent, maintaining the same graphics, cool explosions, and frantic pace of the original game. It's great to trigger a smart bomb with a screen full of aliens, and watch everything be obliterated. There is some slow-down when the screen gets too busy, but nothing major. Although this version of Defender looks identical to the 5200 one, here you have the advantage of using a normal joystick and keyboard. The spacebar sets off a smart bomb, and any other key initiates hyperspace. I'd have to say that this is the best home version of Defender I've played.
ColecoVisionThe Video Game Critic (Mar 30, 2003)
Ahhh Defender - one of the toughest shooters of all time! This version of the arcade classic is rock-solid, and even features smooth scrolling - a rarity for a Colecovision game! Those Atari programmers were really on the ball when they made this one. The graphics are faithful to the arcade, except your ship doesn't shoot fire from its exhaust (I'm nit-picking now). When your ship is destroyed, the huge mushrooming explosion looks amazing. The control is so accurate that you can even pick off the tiny red "swarmers" with ease. The left button is used to fire, and the right is used for smart bombs. To engage hyperspace (only recommended as a last resort) you need to press zero on the keypad. The one thing I don't like is the single level of difficulty - it's quite a bit easier than the arcade version, and the gameplay is less intense as a result.
IntellivisionThe Video Game Critic (Sep 22, 2002)
As a result, the game is a lot harder than it should be, and your fingers pay the price. But as long as you can withstand the controller, you'll enjoy some first-rate Defender action.
Atari 2600Tilt (Jan, 1983)
Une adaptation rigoureuse du Defender de Williams, le jeu d'arcades. Dommage toutefois que le scanner et le vaisseau Defender clignotent par intermittence. Vraiment pour experts.
ColecoVisionneXGam (Jul 27, 2012)
Rein technisch gesehen ist Defender für das Colecovision sicherlich die beste Version. Zwar ist die Grafik schon ein wenig betagt, dafür sind die Sprites gut gezeichnet und auch die Spielgeschwindigkeit ist zu jeder Zeit flott. Eindrucksvoll sind auch hier die Explosionen, falls man doch einen gegnerischen Treffer abbekommt. Bei der Soundkulisse bediente man sich wie so oft nur an Schusseffekte, eine Musik ist nicht vorhanden.
Atari 5200The Video Game Critic (Aug 17, 2004)
Defender is one truly difficult game, but that's what makes you keep coming back for more. Unlike most shooters of its time, you can't just blast everything in sight because human lives hang in the balance. Alien landers abduct people from the planet surface, carry them to the top of the screen, and combine with them to form red mutants - your fiercest enemy! When you catch a lander in the act, you can shoot it, catch the falling human (500 points), and return him safely to the planet below (another 500 points). This edition incorporates all the complex controls (including the smart bombs and hyperspace) from the arcade. The graphics are very close to the arcade game, and the sound effects are practically identical. The animation gets a little choppy at times, and the screen tends to get messy as artifacts from explosions tend to stick around. That's okay, because chaos rules in this game. Overall, Defender is one of the more intense shooters for the 5200.
Atari 2600Game Freaks 365 (2004)
Make no mistake about it. This game isn't arcade perfect by a long shot. But the Atari 2600 game, even if it isn't the exact same game, still does the name that it was given proud. This game can be replayed to increase one's score, although, of course, the Atari 2600 doesn't save high scores. Still, the game is worth replaying for the Atari gamer just because it's so much fun. I heavily recommend finding this game if you are a fan of the Atari 2600 and don't have it yet.
Atari 2600JoyStik (Dec, 1982)
Defender combines fast action and good audio/visual effects in a much better-than-average alien shootout encounter. The basic Defender concept remains true to the original arcade game. You command a Defender Ship saving Humanoids from the aforementioned Alien bad guys. You're equipped with Lasers and Smart Bombs that can clear the skyline of attackers with one shot. You can also Hyperspace your way to another part of town if the going gets especially tough (and the tough want to get going in a hurry). You can keep track of aliens that are out of your immediate view via a long-range Scanner at the top of the screen. Eliminate one wave of extra-terrestrials and another, powerful wave will move in on you. Nothing's easy in the big city.
ColecoVision8-bit Central Retro Gaming (2015)
Defender on the Colecovision is a visual delight and plays well to boot. It's an arcade classic and this is a great platform on which to experience it.
Defender is a classic shooter and if you own an Atari 5200 it would be criminal no to have a Defender cart to shove into it every now & then or daily.
80 (UK) (Oct 25, 2007)
Now regarded as perhaps the most difficult classic game of all time, Defender is more respected than enjoyed: a thing of worship and a harsh test in the education of the arcade stalwart.
Atari 2600The Atari Times (Sep 02, 2002)
All in all, however, this isn't a bad translation of an arcade classic. While I wouldn't swap it for my copy of Stargate, I do enjoy firing up this classic from time to time and protecting mankind from aliens up to no good. It sure as heck "feels" similar to the Defender arcade game, and that's good enough for me. This hated title has received a few knocks too many, I think.
Commodore (Mar, 2007)
Defender ist ein Kultspiel, und es bereitete mir damals schon sehr viel Spaß. So habe ich natürlich unzählige Münzen im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes an diesem Automaten verballert. Auch heute noch ist es ein sehr unterhaltsames Spiel, das man vor allem in den eigenen vier Wänden immer noch auf dem C-64 sehr gut zwischendurch genießen kann. An dieser Stelle bitte ich um Applaus für Williams Electronics für das Original und für Atari für die gute Heimumsetzung!
VIC-20Commodore User (Jun, 1984)
Defender is a fast-moving and enjoyable one or two-player game. Well-defined graphics and good-quality sound make full use of the Vic's limited memory, and it is on cartridge too. The main hitch with Defender is that it sometimes puts you on to the next screen arbitrarily, but who really minds extra points and more lives?
Atari 5200Digital Press - Classic Video Games (Feb 14, 2004)
Along with 5200 Pac-Man, Defender showed very quickly why the Supersystem was super. 2600 Defender was actually pretty good-for the 2600. But it wasn't remotely like the arcade game either graphically or in intensity. The 5200 version is very close to the Williams classic, and certainly represented a quantum leap that made the 2600 cart seem, well, puny. All the familiar evil alien guys are here and they do the nasty things they are supposed to do. The sounds and explosions are at least reminiscent of the arcade experience, if not dead on. If you can find a working joystick, response is very good.
It's the speed that foiled previous conversions and even this cartridge-based Defender would benefit from a little extra pace. Having said that, all the game's challenging features are faithfully reproduced. (...) If you're a Vic-owning Defender fanatic then this cartridge is compulsory silicon.
Atari 8-bitComputer and Video Games (CVG) (May, 1983)
This is a reasonable conversion of a complex arcade game, although for £29.95 you may be able to buy two equally, or even more playable games for the money.
Defender looks OK and plays a little less than OK, but it's fucking Defender! In '81 it was a must-have... now? Not so much. But - it's fucking Defender!! It's not such a bad game and being able to play it at HOME in 1981 was awesome! I can't rave about this release, but I insist you play it often regardless!
VIC-20Micro 7 (Jun, 1984)
Ce superbe jeu de scrolling horizontal ou, dernier rempart de toute une civilisation, vous avez pour mission d'empêcher les envahisseurs de kidnapper vos contemporains, est bien rendu sur le petit Vic.
Xbox 360GameSpot (Nov 20, 2006)
Like most of the other arcade classics hitting Xbox Live Arcade, this one is viewed best with a heavy dose of nostalgia. Defender is certainly a classic, but it doesn't hold up so well that you'd love it to death if you just started playing it today. But if you spent any serious time in arcades during the early- to mid-'80s, chances are there's a soft spot in your heart for Defender, and it's worth playing again.
Atari 2600Oldies Rising (Jun 13, 2012)
Defender est un précurseur à bien des égards. Outre le fait qu’il proposait pour la première fois un scrolling horizontal et un radar, cinq boutons étaient prévus quant à son utilisation, ce qui ne dessert évidemment pas ce support Atari 2600, limité à son seul bouton poussoir. On regrettera également un clignotement ininterrompu entravant la progression classique dans un shoot’em up et rendant le tout quelque peu brouillon. Mais exit ces quelques défauts, ce soft est le parfait exemple de la formidable capacité des développeurs de l’époque à s’adapter avec les moyens du bord et à proposer un gameplay varié malgré moult contraintes technologiques.
Atari 2600neXGam (Nov 08, 2014)
Dem in der Arcade sehr erfolgreichem Game wurde leider das gleiche Schicksal wie Pac Man zuteil. Leider fehlt dem Titel gerade dieses gewisse Etwas um auch als Defender erkannt zu werden. Das Original bestach durch eine gute und schnelle Vektorgrafik welche auf dem VCS leider der Blöckchengrafik gewichen ist. Weiteres großes Problem ist auch das extreme Flimmern, welches nahezu alle Objekte auf dem Schirm und bei einem Schuss sogar das eigene Raumschiff verschwinden lässt und somit die Kollisionsabfrage kurzzeitig ausser Kraft setzt.
ArcadeRetro Archives (Mar 07, 2022)
C'est qu'il y avait de quoi être ébahi, en 1980, en posant les yeux sur ce qui était, déjà, le premier shoot-them-up à défilement horizontal : entre une action extrêmement exigeante, mais aussi très technique, un concept très original et une réalisation qui en envoyait plein les yeux, allant jusqu'à vous faire vivre la destruction d'une planète en temps réel (!), la borne développée par Eugene Jarvis et Samuel Dicker avait effectivement de quoi frapper fort. Aujourd'hui, c'est peut-être par son extraordinaire difficulté que le titre reste encore le plus saisissant : quoi que l'on parvienne à accomplir, ce sera par le mérite, par les réflexes et par la stratégie, quitte à prendre en considération des dilemmes inhabituels (« dois-je sauver cet humain ou le tuer ? »). De quoi laisser les joueurs les moins patients sur le carreau en un temps record, mais pour ceux qui mordront, le mieux est que c'est toujours aussi bon. À (re)découvrir.
Atari 2600Atari HQ (2001)
If you're a seasoned Defender who can live with the many shortcomings found in the 2600 version, then you may find some enjoyment -- don't bet on it, though. Do yourself a favor and pop in the much better Defender II.
Xbox (UK) (Nov 25, 2006)
If you're a long-term fan and haven't already bought it on one of innumerable compilations out there, then 400 points is just about tolerable for a game of this importance and stature - just be aware that unless you have some sort of emotional attachment to it that it'll feel like you've just bought some kind of gaming endurance test, rather than a piece of actual entertainment. After that, you can get back to chainsawing people in half and do the whole time travel thing in reverse.
Xbox 360GamesRadar (Dec 21, 2006)
Then again, as noted, we suck. If you don't (and really, we're betting you do), this lovingly preserved Defender's well worth the 400 Microsoft points. But there's more pure fun to be had for $5 in the Arcade - and what's the profit margin on 5% of Xbox 360 owners again?
Xbox 360Game Chronicles (Dec 18, 2006)
Unless you just have to have every gamer score point available or need to dominate all the Xbox Live leaderboards, I’d probably pass on Defender. Then again, I suck at this game so it could be just sour grapes….nahhh…
Xbox 360IGN (Nov 16, 2006)
Defender is a game that needed much more than what was put into it to make it worthy of a download. Like other classics on the Live Arcade, you can find it on compilations along with many other games for a cheaper average price. With the poor multiplayer options and lag-filled Live experience, there isn't anything other than leaderboards that sets this apart from other Defender releases. Hardcore Defender fans will love it just to be able to compete for the highest leaderboard score, but everyone else probably won't need to give this a look.
Commodore 64Retro Archives (Mar 07, 2022)
Defender se présente sur Commodore 64 avec les mêmes arguments que les autres portages distribués par Atarisoft, mais en parvenant malgré tout à se montrer bien équilibré, fluide et un peu plus abouti sur le plan sonore. Rien qui ne soit surpassé par la borne, encore une fois, mais il y a néanmoins matière à s’amuser un peu.
Atari 8-bitRetro Archives (Mar 07, 2022)
Comme souvent, l’Atari 5200 et la gamme d’ordinateurs 8 bits d’Atari héritent du même portage du même jeu, et cette itération de Defender n’intéressera donc spécifiquement que les joueurs préférant aller chercher la moitié des fonctions du jeu sur le clavier.
Atari 5200Retro Archives (Mar 07, 2022)
Plus de compromis ou d’effets de manche, cette fois : Defender sur Atari 5200 propose une expérience qui commence à se rapprocher de celle de la borne – et le fait de déplacer son vaisseau intégralement au stick plutôt que d’utiliser deux boutons pour cela fait assurément un bien fou. Cela va un peu vite et la réalisation reste vraiment basique, mais on peut néanmoins encore s’amuser par courtes sessions, le temps de se faire pulvériser par une difficulté redoutable. Correct.
PC BooterPC Magazine (May 29, 1984)
Both Defender and Stargate make selecting between one or two-player games a confusing process. Neither game maintains a permanent record of high scores. And, though both games allow you to choose a starting wave number, there is no indication of what the numbers mean in terms of difficulty of play. Finally, Defender does not seem to penalize you for shooting the very humanoids you are supposed to rescue. I cannot admit to much enthusiasm for either of these games. Like Pac-Man, they have been surpassed by newer games with more creativity and value. These two are just another blast from the past.
Commodore 64Micro 7 (Apr, 1984)
Le premier d'une longue série de hits d'arcade que la nouvelle division d'Atari, Atarisoft, sort pour le 64. Il faut défendre la Terre et ses habitants de toute incursion étrangère. Peut-être encore plus réussi que la version originale des micros Atari.
ColecoVisionRetro Archives (Mar 07, 2022)
D’une machine à l’autre, Defender suit les même règles en improvisant divers petits tracas. Sur ColecoVision, la lenteur de l’appareil confronté à des ennemis ne souffrant pas du même défaut tend à gonfler artificiellement une difficulté qui n’en avait probablement pas besoin.
PC BooterRetro Archives (Mar 07, 2022)
Un PC, en 1983, était une machine conçue pour la bureautique, et on sent bien en lançant Defender que ceux qui pensaient le contraire avaient de bonnes raisons d’être déçus. Une nouvelle fois, hors curiosité, difficile de consacrer plus de quelques minutes à un portage qui fait dramatiquement son âge.
IntellivisionRetro Archives (Mar 07, 2022)
Defender sur Intellivision s’en sort relativement bien si on se souvient des capacités du hardware qui l’héberge, mais cela reste une expérience de jeu extrêmement primitive pour un joueur du XXIe siècle. De quoi s’amuser deux ou trois minutes.
Apple IIRetro Archives (Mar 07, 2022)
Adaptation paresseuse d’un portage déjà assez basique, Defender sur Apple ][ aura besoin d’une sacrée dose de nostalgie pour parvenir à faire rêver quiconque de nos jours. C’est jouable et l’essentiel est là, mais entre la réalisation ultra-datée et des input lags malvenus, on préfèrera plutôt retourner sur la borne.
Atari 2600Woodgrain Wonderland (Dec 04, 2016)
Defender has a lot of problems, but as a kid I enjoyed it immensely. It’s also the first game I ever “turned over” (999,999 points). As long as you can overlook its flaws, there is enjoyment to be found in this humble port.
Atari 2600Retro Archives (Mar 07, 2022)
Defender était déjà une borne trop gourmande pour l’Atari 2600, mais ce portage prévient à conserver l’essentiel, en parvenant notamment à faire tenir sur un seul bouton un gameplay qui en nécessitait cinq. Le résultat, s’il est correct, est surtout beaucoup trop limité : on en fait le tour en cinq minutes, et la difficulté n’étant pas à la hauteur, on a assez peu de raison d’y revenir. De quoi combler les joueurs de 1982, mais pour ceux qui ont quarante ans de moins, autant dire qu’il ne reste plus grand chose.
Xbox 360UOL Jogos (Nov 24, 2009)
Sem grandes atrativos multiplayer, faltou munição para "Defender" conquistar a Xbox Live Arcade. Em testes online, não era raro receber a mensagem que não havia jogador disponível. Quando isso acontece, o jogo oferece a opção para criar sua própria sala, mas pode demorar minutos até que um adversário apareça. O visual renovado não proporciona uma nova experiência em jogo, mas a dificuldade elevada deve agradar admiradores do clássico que têm um bom desafio para subir no ranking da Xbox Live Arcade. Para o público geral, os 400 Microsoft Points (US$ 5) é um investimento sem retorno.
Atari 2600The Video Game Critic (Jul 14, 2002)
This is the game everybody had but nobody loved. In the arcade, Defender was a huge hit, distinguished by its horizontal scrolling, complicated control scheme, and ultra-high difficulty level. This sloppy Atari 2600 adaptation retains the same basic features, but its graphics and gameplay aren't even in the same ballpark as the original.

atari mania