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by The Big Bad Wolf
These are dark days. Some may even call it the Last Stand of the Jaguar. The struggle continues, but the times look bleak. The troopers at the gate video gaming originality continue to fight but they are outgunned and outmanned. Then we see .. Him. A fiery blade of screaming fury strength comes smashing through the ranks of the enemy. In one hand he holds the sword of Gameplay, in the other he holds the shield of Revolutionary Grahics. On his head, he wears the helmet of Awesome Sound Effects and Music. The friendly troopers see and rally behind him! These may be the last days. This may be the very Last Stand, but by god we'll go out with a scream and die with a sword clenched in our fists. Yes. That's right. Defender 2000 is here and is in stores now! Most of the comments here will pertain to 2000 mode, as it is the mode I play the most with a short note pertaining to the Classic and Plus modes at the end.
Defender ship: Incredible! Each line, each marking, every detail exquisitely modeled on a 3D frame.
Enemies: They don't have a 3D shape but the amount of detail on them is still formidable. The landers are nicely done, the UFOs are done very well.
Humanoids: Very detailed! Their movement is lifelike, either when jumping up and down, walking around, or being frantic when caught by a lander. One could wish for different colors for humanoids, but really, who cares?
Backgrounds: Not as good as I expected. These range from OK to Awesome!. For example, level 16 was not as good as the level 9 background. I managed to count at least 4 levels of parallax scrolling, but there may have been more. Really though, who is counting parallax layers when they are busy blowing away or being blown away?
Bonus levels: Oh no. Not the 'follow the green path' bonus level. I sucked on doing this on T2000, and I suck on it with D2000. On the 10th time, I was much better at it tho' :). Graphics looked and felt good, no slowdown of any type, and really trippy.
Sound Effects: Crisp! FEEEEL that *crunch*. Laser blasts, explosions, and Humanoids In Trouble are very reminiscent of the original Defender sound effects, with a bit more added on. Other sound effects were equally impressive. Nothing missing here and more than you expect.
Music: EXCELLENT! Real Stereo music! Although I haven't tested if it will work with my surround sound system, it still kicks some major ass. Who says the Jag can't handle great music? Although for the most part I am a headbanger, the techno on this cart is something I can appreciate. Great starting music on the first level, enough to get anyone going. I loved the techno rendition of Beethoven's 9th for the bonus warps! Just how many songs can you pack on cart??
The play is fast and furious! Speeding along the screen will not do it, though. You need to apply different strategies for each planet type and for each different type of 'wave'. There is a bit of chaos in the play, which I LOVE! You don't get the same type of attacks and enemies in the same place which forces you to learn general low level and local heuristics instead of memorizing a pattern. Both the mind and body are tested here. Now if I could only get past level 31. Got a warp at level 26, jumped to level 31, and wham! Death-in-a-can. Looks like that chronic case of Jaguar thumb is coming back.
Classic and Plus modes--
Classic: Stayed pretty true to the arcade version, even with original controls for the ProController. I compared it to the version that I have for my PC and they looked and played similarly. This is about as perfect as you can get w/out buying an arcade machine.
Plus: Groovy! Psychedelic! Boy those awesome mountains sure are distracting to play .. which is not helped by your giant ship, which makes for one big bullseye. It's nice to look at, it's trippy to play, but I'm just not all that good at Plus mode.
If you don't have it now, GET IT!
-Keith C. Estanol, "Big Bad Wolf"
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