Defender - Xbox

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Also for: Xbox 360, PS2, GameCube
Viewed: 3D Combination Genre:
Shoot 'Em Up
Combat Game
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: 7 Studios Soft. Co.: Midway
Publishers: Midway (GB/GB)
Released: 14 Mar 2003 (GB)
Unknown (GB)
Ratings: 11+
No Accessories: No Accessories


One of the greatest arcade games of all time finally gets its 3D remake and is appearing on a TV near you, courtesy of Xbox. Picking up where the original 2D side-scroller left off, this latest incarnation of Defender plunges players into the famous spacecraft and pits them against an onslaught of vicious aliens.

This time, however, the action is all in 3D, in very similar fashion to the Star Wars: Rogue Leader/Rogue Squadron games, as players take to the controls of the Defender and pilot it across an array of intergalactic environments. There are over 20 challenging missions to wade through, each packed full with a mass of hideous, insect-like aliens that need to be dispensed of with the aid of a hefty arsenal of weaponry.

After working your way through a couple of quick tutorial levels, designed to get you accustomed to the controls and various objectives, it's straight on to the missions themselves. As in the original Defender, there's an abundance of little fellas who need rescuing from the ground, but this time there's a more strategical element to the proceedings, with certain objectives requiring you to escort a ship to safety or pick up a tank and carry it to a warp gate.

Being in 3D, there's a lot more scope for manoeuvrability. The Defender ship is therefore capable of a much wider range of nifty moves, such as barrel rolls and 360 degree turns, all of which come in handy when escaping the hordes of incoming attackers. One particular move that might be familiar is the quick 180-degree turn around. This was an integral part of the original Defender's gameplay and, although not quite so important this time around, it's nice that Midway have kept certain elements faithful to the coin op.

But on the whole, it really is only small factors like this that have carried through to this remake. Although an entertaining blast, if it wasn't for the name on the box, this game could be any one of a number of space shooter clones.