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Best Home Version of Defender?


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Atari 5200

 

It looks better on the ColecoVision but the CV version is too easy.

 

Only thing I don't like about 5200 Defender is there's too much crap on the screen when you kill somebody. When you have all this debris on the screen it's easy to run into mines.

 

FWIW the 2600 version was applauded by Electronic Games when it was released. I had a copy when it came out and it wasn't a bad game.

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Same. 5200 version. Before emulation and 16-bits consoles, I think 5200 had many of the best arcade ports.

 

Sucks that non-centering analog controller is so tricky to use in games that aren't made for analog controller.

 

Definitely the 5200, the best sound chip perfect for the early 80s Arcade games. The graphics are also very very close to the Arcade.

 

I like the non centering "float" control for Defender and especially (no kidding) instant place ship on the screen Gorf. The crappy buttons are an issue without the foil contact mod or gold circuit pads. I use 5200 Wico sticks with Wico Keypad and flip the Joystik centering tabs off for games such as Defender and Robotron.

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The 5200/Atari computer version of Defender is the best of a bad lot, really. There was no truly great 8-bit port of Defender. 5200 Defender is certainly playable, but technically it's a bit of a janky, flickery mess that doesn't use any of the hardware's advanced graphic features, and the sound effects are wimpy at best. Dropzone showed how fast and fluid a proper Defender port could have been.

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Atari 5200 by far. It's great having the triggers for both the Smart Bomb and Hyperspace at your fingertips instead of having to do some convoluted maneuver or mash the computer keyboard in a panicked attempt. Controls aside, the next one down the list would be the TI99/4A version followed by the C64 one.

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Wow, I didn't think the 5200 version would get much love, let alone a near-unanimous vote! All things considered, it's the version I'd choose, as well.

 

1. Atari 5200 - The greatest common denominator of home Defender versions; fairly good graphics and sounds, reasonably challenging, best control setup. Agreed about too much crap on the screen when something gets blown up.
2. Atari 400/800 - All of the general positives of the 5200 version except for controls, which force you to reach for the keyboard for smartbombs and hyperspace. It also seems easier for some reason, but that might be my imagination.
3. Colecovision - A great-looking version; only real quibbles are it's too easy, and the Coleco controller isn't quite as nice to use as the 5200's for this game (not the game's fault), although it's still better than the keyboard + joystick arrangement of the computer versions.
4. TI99/4a - At first blush I feel like this one shouldn't be ranked this high; it's got that telltale TI jankiness about it, single-color sprites, and the scrolling isn't especially great. And yet, its pace is brisk, the controls are responsive, it's moderately difficult (at first), and it's one of the better-looking versions. Moreover, it's fun as hell.
5. Commodore 64 - Possibly the best-looking port apart from occasionally glitchy missile animation and spotty hit detection. Moves a little on the slow side, sounds are oddly weak, and it's too easy.
6. Atari 2600 - Going by looks, this *should* be the worst. Its other flaws are well-known, but this remains a very fun game. I like that smartbombs and hyperspace can be used without a keyboard, even if the method limits their tactical application. Biggest problem (say it with me!): Too. Easy.
7. Apple II - Pretty midline all around. It looks pretty good by Apple standards, but there's a slowness about it. Controls aren't good or bad. Sound is distinctly Apple, so 'nuff said there. Not a bad game but somehow manages to be one of the least interesting versions.
8. Intellivision - This is one of the few cases where I will agree that the controller disc makes the game very difficult to play. A solid effort otherwise, and for once, here's a Defender game that's suitably difficult, only for the wrong reasons. All controls are on the controller, which is a big bonus, but this one nevertheless takes a LOT of practice.
9. VIC-20 - Good graphics for a VIC-20 game, but the audio manages to be more obnoxious than exciting. Movement is even clunkier than the TI99/4a version, almost Aquarius-like, and the controls are less responsive. This one's just kind of "eh."
*10. IBM/DOS - I don't think I've actually played this one, but judging from gameplay videos, I think I can live with that. It looks almost unplayable.

Honorable mention because I don't count homebrews: Vectrex (Protector) - Amazing game. Everything about this game is great except for two things, and one of those things can't really be helped. First, the vertical screen orientation makes this already difficult game (more on that in a second) even harder by shortening your field of vision; you will rely on radar even more than in other Defender games. Second, where earlier Defender ports from the classic era tended be about as tough as a bag of marshmallows, Protector went completely the other way; this game is HARD. Like, "f@#$ you!" hard. This game will murder your face and shoot you the bird while it does it. So in that respect, it's a lot like the arcade original. :-D Still, for us mere mortals, a slightly less brutal difficulty option would have been nice.

Edited by BassGuitari
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Does Defender 2000 for the Atari Jaguar count?

 

To me, the game is awesome. It embodies the fastening pace of the original Defender, with awesome music.

 

There are times when I can't get past the first level, and then there are times when I'm on level 1000 (or whatever) and I just can't die because I'm in the "groove." And... the music is going nuts, and everything's moving so fast, that by the time I finally just have to stop, and I'm like... holy crap... and my heart is racing.

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Of the systems I own, would have to say the TI version and the regular Defender game inside of Jaguar Defender 2000 are the best. Have Revenge of Defender for the Amiga, but can't remember the last time I played it.

Oh and remember the 3D Defender for the PS2? That game is kinda cool for what it is. Reminds me of Cybermorph a little. Okay, maybe not. :lol:

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Coin-op Defender is brutally difficult. I know it has its experts, but I've personally never seen anybody get past level 10.

 

5200 Defender is easier, but not too easy. Especially if you play on a higher difficulty. Some of those Landers' shots , and also mutants and baiters, really home in on you, you have to be very careful. It has all of the play action that the original has, its just more rewarding to play it because the average gamer can actually accomplish the tasks and survive longer in the 5200 version. I personally like all the carnage o' pixels on the screen!

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I fired up the C64 cart version of Defender today by Atarisoft. It is better than I remember. I still think the 5200 version is more fun, but I'm going to give the C64 version more playtime for a better comparison.

 

It's a little weird-feeling because as often as not, your shots are off center, like the ship is firing from the wings or tail or something. I don't think I've seen that in any other version. It's not game-breaking or anything, just a quirk. It's still a very good game IMO.

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