Review - Defender 2000

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Review - Defender 2000

Post by Trev » Mon May 03, 2010 10:55 pm

Image

It isn’t always easy to change long standing thinking, but doing reviews like this have helped me to honestly reevaluate many games. While most have held up to my memory, there are some that have not. This can be good (see Immercenary – 3DO) or, in the case of Defender 2000, maybe not so good.

Defender 2000 is really 3 games in 1. Classic Defender, which I grew up with on the 2600, is nostalgic fun. Short bursts are entertaining, but actually I think that it hasn’t aged particularly well in comparison to other arcade hits from the early 80’s.

The plus version (my favorite :) ) is close enough to the original, but adds some nice additions that compliment it. The option to choose a partner AI droid is helpful. The spiffed up graphics definitely make the game more pleasing to the eye too, despite the fact that there seems to be little rhyme or reason behind the shifting color scheme (I often found it distracting ... especially in intense moments)

Image Image

Defender 2000, for which this collection is named, is meant to be the main highlight. You’d think that this would be the best version on the cart ... but actually, in my honest opinion, it is the worst. :? True, it does have the best graphics of the bunch (although they aren’t great) but unless you are watching a friend play you won’t be able to notice much of them. Constant monitoring of the radar is a must to make any real progress in this version, and it stinks! :evil: It is antiquated design, which has no business in a mid 90’s games. This is my main gripe, though certainly not my only one.
Image Image
Another poor choice was deciding to let the screen scroll not just left to right, but up and down also. I don't not care for this at all. It makes the game feel too different. Add in your oversize ship (an easy target), and jacked up speeds and you have a game that nearly borders on unplayable in certain sections with so much going on! Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t! Go too slow, and the shrieking humans will be captured. Go too fast, and you’re bound to crash into something. It just isn’t fun, and is saddled in poor game design. All the more noticeable after the great Tempest 2000 in which Minter gained heavy fame among Atari fans, and (to a much lesser extent) the general video game public.

Like Tempest, the music is very good. 8) Quite similar actually (maybe too much so, though not quite as catchy) If you don’t like techno though, its doubtful you’ll like this. The score probably deserved a soundtrack release like Tempest, but it arrived too late in the Jag’s life to make it viable.

There is a 4th game, a bonus called Plasma Pong. Same pong its ever been, with the addition of more gratuitous amounts of shifting colors and paddles that seem stiffer. At first it was fun, but the fun quickly wore thin.

Image

Defender 2000 has its positives, but upon reflection it is not as easy to recommend as I thought. Classic defender is good, but I’m sure many already own a version (same w/Pong) The ballyhooed Defender 2000 is poor. So I find myself left with Defender Plus, which is flawed but fun in small bursts. Do I recommend Defender 2000? Yes … but I wouldn’t pay the high asking price you’ll normally find attached to it.

-Trev
Last edited by Trev on Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Austin » Sat May 15, 2010 7:26 am

In the mid-late '90s when I got into the Jaguar, I became addicted to Tempest 2000. Knowing that Defender 2K was made by the same person, I was stoked to try it. After eventually getting my hands on it, I have to say, I didn't know what to think. This game is so over-the-top it's outrageous. Tempest had a fine balance between a perfected gameplay system and the out-there visuals. Defender seems to forfeit this balance for loads of graphical effects that get in the way of the gameplay itself (Kind of like Jeff Mintor's later titles, Tempest 3000 and Space Giraffe being perfect examples). It also seemed like this game was much more zoomed-in than the original defender and it was difficult to see where you were going. Needless to say, I didn't play this one much.. But I DO want to give it another shot. Maybe I will enjoy it if I sit down with it again and actually give it some time. As it stands now though based on my experience a decade or so ago, I currently share roughly the same sentiments as the above review. :D

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Post by Trev » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:50 pm

This is the last of my Jag reviews to be updated w/a few pics. I do think they make for a more enjoyable read.

Does anyone know an exact date when this game was released? I couldn't find anything concrete, but it seems it was well after the Jag had been discontinued. Is that the case?
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Post by sneth » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:39 am

Trev wrote:This is the last of my Jag reviews to be updated w/a few pics. I do think they make for a more enjoyable read.

Does anyone know an exact date when this game was released? I couldn't find anything concrete, but it seems it was well after the Jag had been discontinued. Is that the case?
This was released well in the lifetime of the Jaguar around 1996. It was another Llamasoft title just like Tempest.

I used to love this game, but the frantic pace as it goes on is too stressful for me now. "Let go of my damn citizens you alien scum...aahhhhh!!!!!"

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Post by Martin III » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:37 pm

sneth wrote:
Trev wrote:This is the last of my Jag reviews to be updated w/a few pics. I do think they make for a more enjoyable read.

Does anyone know an exact date when this game was released? I couldn't find anything concrete, but it seems it was well after the Jag had been discontinued. Is that the case?
This was released well in the lifetime of the Jaguar around 1996. It was another Llamasoft title just like Tempest.
Yeah, I think it was Breakout 2000 which came out after the Jaguar was discontinued.

Good review by the way, Trev!

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Post by Trev » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:09 am

Thanks Martin, I'm glad you enjoyed my review. :)

I know there were a few games released from Telegames, Breakout 2000 included, that were released not too long after the Jag bit the dust (late '96 if I remember right) For most purposes, I think the Jag was dead after xmas '95.
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Post by Austin » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:15 am

Fight For Life was the last game officially released by Atari, and that wasn't until '96. I could be wrong but I am pretty sure Defender 2K was a '95 release.

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Post by Trev » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:29 am

Austin wrote:Fight For Life was the last game officially released by Atari, and that wasn't until '96. I could be wrong but I am pretty sure Defender 2K was a '95 release.
It's a shame the Jag had Fight for Life as it's swan song ... it deserved better.

Moby games has Feb '96 for the release of Defender 2000 ...
http://www.mobygames.com/game/defender-2000

I've seen a few different dates ...
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Post by Austin » Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:39 am

The instruction manual states '95. Possibly it was released in '96? Who knows.

http://www.atariage.com/manual_page.htm ... axPages=20

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Post by Trev » Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:11 am

Check out this review ...

http://www.atarihq.com/reviews/jaguar/d ... _2000.html

It makes it sound like it didn't get released until after the merger. I don't believe that, but it goes to show you that a concrete date seems to be lacking.
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Post by Austin » Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:30 am

It's blocked from here (at work), but it's hard for me to believe it was released that late. Maybe I can post something over at AtariAge (or maybe T2kfreeker can pop in and say something) and see if I get any clarification.

Edit: posted a thread over at AtariAge. Either keep track of it, or I'll post here if anyone is able to clarify: http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/19 ... -95-or-96/

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Post by Austin » Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:47 am

You know, I guess '96 doesn't sound so far out considering sites also say that Zoop, NBA Jam TE, and Attack of the Mutant Penguins hit that same year (that's not counting FFL, of course). I had always thought FFL was the only release in '96. I guess I was probably wrong.

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Post by Austin » Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:57 am

Someone responded over at AA:
Based on old USENET posts, it looks like it shipped in February 1996, but probably was finished in late 1995.

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.game ... 132b73dad0

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Post by Trev » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:58 am

So Feb '96 was when Defender 2000 was released ... that's good to know. Too bad for Atari though. A fairly high profile game like this deserved to have been released when the Jag was viable, not when it was pretty much dead.

Thanks for helping to confirm the release date Austin.
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Post by Austin » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:12 am

Yeah, it also somewhat explains why it's less common than some other titles, being it was released so late. Granted, other titles like Zoop and Attack of the Mutant Penguins seem to pop up on a more regular basis though and were released in the same year (you can still get sealed copies of the later on eBay easily). On the other hand though, Defender 2000 is probably also a good bit more desirable.

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Re: Review - Defender 2000

Post by huw1990 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:42 pm

Trev wrote:Image

It isn’t always easy to change long standing thinking, but doing reviews like this have helped me to honestly reevaluate many games. While most have held up to my memory, there are some that have not. This can be good (see Immercenary – 3DO) or, in the case of Defender 2000, maybe not so good.

Defender 2000 is really 3 games in 1. Classic Defender, which I grew up with on the 2600, is nostalgic fun. Short bursts are entertaining, but actually I think that it hasn’t aged particularly well in comparison to other arcade hits from the early 80’s.

The plus version (my favorite :) ) is close enough to the original, but adds some nice additions that compliment it. The option to choose a partner AI droid is helpful. The spiffed up graphics definitely make the game more pleasing to the eye too, despite the fact that there seems to be little rhyme or reason behind the shifting color scheme (I often found it distracting ... especially in intense moments)

Image

Defender 2000, for which this collection is named, is meant to be the main highlight. You’d think that this would be the best version on the cart ... but actually, in my honest opinion, it is the worst. :? True, it does have the best graphics of the bunch (although they aren’t great) but unless you are watching a friend play you won’t be able to notice much of them. Constant monitoring of the radar is a must to make any real progress in this version, and it stinks! :evil: It is antiquated design, which has no business in a mid 90’s games. This is my main gripe, though certainly not my only one.
Image
Another poor choice was deciding to let the screen scroll not just left to right, but up and down also. I don't not care for this at all. It makes the game feel too different. Add in your oversize ship (an easy target), and jacked up speeds and you have a game that nearly borders on unplayable in certain sections with so much going on! Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t! Go too slow, and the shrieking humans will be captured. Go too fast, and you’re bound to crash into something. It just isn’t fun, and is saddled in poor game design. All the more noticeable after the great Tempest 2000 in which Minter gained heavy fame among Atari fans, and (to a much lesser extent) the general video game public.

Like Tempest, the music is very good. 8) Quite similar actually (maybe too much so, though not quite as catchy) If you don’t like techno though, its doubtful you’ll like this. The score probably deserved a soundtrack release like Tempest, but it arrived too late in the Jag’s life to make it viable.

There is a 4th game, a bonus called Plasma Pong. Same pong its ever been, with the addition of more gratuitous amounts of shifting colors and paddles that seem stiffer. At first it was fun, but the fun quickly wore thin.

Defender 2000 has its positives, but upon reflection it is not as easy to recommend as I thought. Classic defender is good, but I’m sure many already own a version (same w/Pong) The ballyhooed Defender 2000 is poor. So I find myself left with Defender Plus, which is flawed but fun in small bursts. Do I recommend Defender 2000? Yes … but I wouldn’t pay the high asking price you’ll normally find attached to it.

-Trev

I want this game very badly... Defender is my favorite 2600 game... id love to play it oon the jag

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