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Title image from the game
Game No. 304
Voting 5.76 points, 25 votes
Developer Joe Simko
Company Atarisoft
Release 1983
Platform VC20, C64, Atari 2600, Atari 800 XL/XE, Amstrad CPC, Apple II u.a.
Genre Shoot'em Up, Defender, H-Scrolling
Gamemode Single player
Operation Icon Port1.pngJoystick Keyboard
Media DisketteCartridge
Language Language:english

Description[edit | edit source]

As the name already implies, you need to defend something in this H-Scrolling-Shooter - which are people that are threatened by an alien invasion. Flying saucers and other UFOs try to abduct the people standing on the ground and finally to kill them. The player is in a spaceship and has the mission to destroy the UFOs and rescue the captured people.

Controls and course of the game: At the start you can choose between three difficulty grades with the key F3  and with key F5  you can set if you want to play alone or with someone else. The ship is controlled with a joystick in port 1, but this unfortunately counts also for the second player. F1  starts the game. You can fly to the left and right ("bidirective" H-Scrolling). With fire you operate the laser, with Space   you can trigger smartbombs (all enemies on the screen are eliminated). The ship and also the laser cannot collide with the background, so you can ignore the mountain landscape. You should not shoot people. If you destroy a UFO that has abducted a captive, you have to catch the man or otherwise he will fall too deep. With a lower falling height, the rescued man will also survive without the player's help. Every 10.000 points you get a bonus life. At the end of the level there are bonus points for the surviving people.

Design[edit | edit source]

Obviously Atarisoft wanted to convert the Arcade original 1:1 concerning the linear mountain chain. So the graphics are very, very simple, particularly as in this time and also before that graphically better games were released for the C64, as e.g. Choplifter. It already contained scrolling into both directions in 1982 and the idea with rescueing people as a modification of a mere shooter. The sprites and explosion effects can be described as moderately detailled, at least they are partially a bit more complex than the arcade version. The map or "radar" is theoretiocally a nice feature, but only gives information about where the other sprites (humans, UFOs) are, because the course of the linear mountain-lines-landscape is due to the impossibility of a crash with the background irrelevant and only serves as an orientation.

... an animation from the game

There is no music, the FX are same as the graphics rather primitive and can by far not come up to the arcade machine. But at least there are different sound effects for different actions as e.g. the abduction of humans, receiving a bonus life, etc.

Hints[edit | edit source]

At the beginning of an Attack Wave (=level) you should instantly take orientation with the help of the map, whether there are more aliens to the left or the right and then fly into the direction where the most danger is. By raised hits and the number of rescued people the score rises and you get an extra life more quickly. As soon as 5 or more enemies or especially fast enemy sprites are on the screen, you should use the SMART-bomb.

Solution[edit | edit source]

Until now it is not known, how many Attack Waves there are or if the game has an "ending" at all.

Cheats[edit | edit source]

None known.

But with the difficulty "Novice" you should be able to cope well during the first three "Attack Waves".

Voting[edit | edit source]

Voting of the C64-Wiki users (10=the best vote):
5.76 points at 25 votes (rank 828).
You need to be logged in to cast a vote.
C64Games 6 13th January 2008 - "good" - 4212 downs
Lemon64 6,8 13th January 2008 - 24 votes 8,12 26th June 2011 - 8 votes

Reviews[edit | edit source]

Matthias: "My very first game that I played on the C64, I think I was 7 years old then, nice thing, gripping."

Robotron2084: "Another totally mucked-up version of a arcade machine classic by Atarisoft. Slow jittery graphics, scarce sounds, too little sprites at the same time and by this easy as a pie. In short: a single terrible horror. Then I'd rather have "GUARDIAN" or simply Dropzone, Defender clones that show unequally more dynamics. This botch gets from me full 2 of 10 points. Yuck!"

TheRyk: "Not too bad back then, but could neither compete with Choplifter nor Skramble if you only consider two similar games of that time. Not by a long chalk as good as the Arcade version if you compare gameplay or FX. The C64 version is so-so, which I rate 4 points, but only fans or true nostalgics really need it in their collection."

Shakermaker303: "Come on guys, it is not that bad. 5 out of 10 points is ok for me."

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Defender was originally an arcade machine already published in 1980, which was very popular, so that in the following years versions for almost all common home computer systems were released.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

The video to the Neue Deutsche Welle hit "Herbergsvater" by Joachim Witt starts with a sequence of the arcade machine.

Cover[edit | edit source]


Highscore[edit | edit source]

Topscore of Ivanpaduano
  1. Ivanpaduano - 999.999+ - all (28.08.2019)
  2. Robotron2084 - 807.525 (20.11.2012)
  3. TheRyk - 483.675 (16.11.2012)
  4. Equinoxe - 124.725 (01.06.2012)
  5. Equinoxe Junior - 58.100 (01.06.2012)

#2 Robotron2084 #3 TheRyk
#2 Robotron2084 #3 TheRyk

Links[edit | edit source]

WP-W11.png Wikipedia: Defender_(video_game)


  • Video at YouTube Joachim Witt - "Herbergsvater" (music video with Defender arcade machine)