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A review by Cynical_1
People have complained that it is not an exact port of the arcade original, citing control nuances and laser decay rate, but it's pretty damn close! Now I may not have the best memory (ask my wife <g>), but differences cited are not noticeable enough to readily discern Classic from the arcade version. Sound FX and control-wise, it is virtually identical to the original. There is a ProController option so you can get control exactly as it was in the original (separate thrust and directional movement). Luckily, you don't have to use this option, because it reminded me how frustrating this type of control was for me as a kid when playing the original...
A souped up version of Classic mode with nice touches such as Aurora FX in the landscape. To me, this version is the closest equivalent to T2K's 2000 mode in style. You have the same enemies as usual, although they look different than the original (as do the humanoids). Also, you have larger, new enemies, like the floating space stations (?) in level 3. The ship and droids are rendered. Unlike Classic mode, the laser can be fired continuously by holding down the fire button. The Lightning Laser is kinda cool, although it has only limited use (i.e., you can only use it a certain amount and then its gone)... You can play the game with two AI droids or with none (I didn't see the option to play with just one droid). There are warp boxes a'la Stargate that take you to other places where the action is, but be careful in using them - you often get warped right into enemies, leading to a lot of cheap hits.
Completely graphically different. No more line/ray based graphics (sorry, cannot for the life of me think of the term for the type of graphics used in the original - so sue me...). All graphics appear to be rendered graphics including backgrounds, with include landscapes such as desert, city, and industrial. Game play is similar to the original, although now you have powerups a'la T2K (droids, shield, lightning laser, etc.). Also, if you catch humanoids (who appear to be digitized people, although not sure) in air, they hang underneath you ship and fire as well, creating a wall of attack. If you are lucky enough to pick up a couple of powerups early, as well as a couple of humanoids, it becomes very difficult to die (read, "it becomes kinda easy."). Enemies tend to be destroyed as soon as they appear on screen... I used this tactics early, and got to level 16 and scored 640,000 in only my second time playing 2000 mode... Graphically, with so much going on, (your fire, enemies, background graphics, etc.) you tend up playing a lot by simply watching the radar screen - otherwise it is occasionally hard to see what to shoot and what not to shoot...
These consist of a good mixture of original sound fx, with a few new twists (my favorite is hearing humanoids scream as you shoot them <g>). Overall, sound FX are _excellent_ providing both the throwback sounds taking me back to the early 80's and these new (sadistic) new ones....
The music is good, but in my opinion not near as good as T2K's. I mean, with T2K, I'd find myself jumping around to the music as I played, "becoming an extension of the music" as I played, almost seeing through the screen as if the game were playing itself - truly a transcendental experience... <g> But with D2K I found myself saying, "man good music," and then pushing it to the background of my consciousness the way you do with most video game music.... Also, and I know this is cart music, but it sounds even more staticy than T2K's music. Let's hope Yak put in that CD hook code somewhere...)
Nitpicks: Even though D2K was long in development, I feel a few things are missing:
(1) more options - you can only control the music volume, not the sound FX volume
(2) customizeable button configurations
(3) apparently the music is only available in 2000 mode, not in Plus mode
(4) maybe I just haven't gotten far enough (although I've gotten to level 16 of 2000 mode), but where are the "big bosses that fill the screen" that we heard about? are they in Plus mode (I only got to level 4 there...)?
Personally, I like the game very much, even with it's few shortcomings. I think that the 3 modes offer something for everyone's tastes. If you're strictly a retro gamer, then Classic is for you. If you like Classic but want a souped up version similar to T2K, and can live with no in-game music, then Plus mode is yours. And if you want the Defender concept with all-new graphics and powerups, and can live with the sometimes overly cluttered screen and occasional easiness (due to too many powerups) then 2000 mode is yours for the taking...
Classic (virtually) spot on, Plus reminiscent of T2K, 2000 has great rendered graphics, but cluttered tendency can be a problem and reduced the score.
Sound FX: 10
All the great originals, plus a few new twists.
Good, but not as rockin' and T2K's and quality (static) hurt the score.
Tight, although quirky at times (slow change of direction, must completely stop in 2000 mode to change`direction, with option of arcade control in Classic mode with ProController (although I personally don't like it).
Fun Factor: 9
Great fun! And different modes offer something for everyone!
Only the inevitable comparisons to T2K are what hurt D2K's score. If T2K didn't exist (perish the thought!) D2K would easily scare a 9, possibly a 10.
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