Tag Archives: defender

Nex Machina [PlayStation 4] – Review

If someone told you that 2021 was the year they got into Housemarque, you’d assume it was because they fell head over heels for the Finnish video game developer’s newest product, the brutal, beautiful Returnal. That game is a technical showpiece for the PlayStation 5; arguably one of the hard-to-get system’s must play games from its first year on the market. And yet, I have no firsthand experience with it but this was STILL the year I got into Housemarque. So, how’d THAT happen?

Continue reading Nex Machina [PlayStation 4] – Review

Alienation [PlayStation 4] – Review

Who else but Housemarque could’ve perfectly melded arcade-inspired twin-stick shoot ‘em up gameplay with class-based multiplayer, RPG character progression, and an addictive loot system? The Helsinki-based developers are after all, in their own words, the torchbearers of the classic arcade game ethos. They’ve been riffing on Asteroids since the early 1990s with their Stardust series, paid homage to Defender with Resogun, the best title to play on the PlayStation 4 at launch, and even collaborated with Eugene Jarvis, the man behind Defender and a few more of the most iconic arcade games of all time, on 2017’s Nex Machina. Fast-paced, responsive, good feeling gameplay is at the core of their best works, some of which represent my favorite games of the last couple of console generations. And now, after a few dozen hours with it, I can add Alienation to that list.

Continue reading Alienation [PlayStation 4] – Review

Choplifter [Sega Master System] – Review and Let’s Play


Of all the games I’ll play on the Sega Master System, Choplifter will likely be the only one that originated on the Apple II. Designed by Dan Gorlin and originally released in 1982, it’s a side-scrolling shoot ‘em up that emphasizes hostage rescue and accordingly, draws comparison to Defender. In truth, the version I played has more in common with the games I’ve previously written about since it’s actually based on Sega’s 1985 arcade release of Choplifter. Like most of what I’ve played thus far, I found it both enjoyable and challenging. Continue reading Choplifter [Sega Master System] – Review and Let’s Play

Chopper Command [Atari 2600] – Review

I also have some old games with Caldor stickers on them. This prompted me to read up on them via Wikipedia.
I also have some old games with Caldor stickers on them. This prompted me to read up on them via Wikipedia. I know, I know, everyone tells me not to have too much fun.

These Activision games I’ve written about recently originate in an era that was ripe with many forms of inspiration. As everyone was learning how to design video games at the same time, it wasn’t uncommon to take inspiration from other designer’s games and remake them wholeheartedly or riff off of their design. Bob Whitehead’s Chopper Command is one such game.

Released for the Atari 2600 in 1982, Chopper Command strongly resembles the arcade classic Defender. As the pilot of a military helicopter, it is the player’s responsibility to protect convoys of transport vehicles from enemy aircraft; the player is a defender in other words. As the player zooms and booms through stages, the camera follows their actions just as it does in Defender. When the player switches directions, the camera quickly follows suit and swivels to allow ample viewing to that particular side of the screen. These resemblances do not make Chopper Command less of a game though. I thought it played fantastically; it’s reportedly much better than the Atari 2600 port of Defender.

Of note, is the game's vital use of radar, showing players just what's off screen.
Of note, is the game’s vital use of radar, showing players just what’s off screen.

There are three related unlockables in Activision Anthology: a commercial (seriously lacking R. Lee Ermey), a patch, and a gameplay mode. They require 4,000, 8,000, and 6,000 points respectively and getting all three isn’t too hard.

Williams Arcade Classics (Game.com) – Review

These games are classics!

As with the last Game.com game I discussed, Williams Arcade Classics is a collection of multiple games. Unlike just about every other game I’ve played on the system, this one isn’t half bad.

Collecting together Joust, Defender, Robotron, Stargate (Defender II), and Sinistar it’s not a collection to scoff at – these games are arcade classics. Because these games are so old, they’re emulated fairly accurately on the system. Now they’re not perfect, but they’re close enough to still appreciate that special something that made these games so great in the first place. Still, these games are easily available on many, many other platforms, emulated much better, and usually in larger collections of games.

Revisiting these classics reminds how instantly fun and challenging they are. They’re not perfect on the system and they suffer from the system’s motion blurring effect, but these games are still worth playing, but on a different system.