Is Defender II really a sequel to the original Defender? The original arcade game from which all Defender II ports were derived was called Stargate. There were never any Defender II arcade units, and while a Stargate port was released to the 2600, a later re-release was re-titled Defender II.
Then again, what’s in a name if the game in question satisfies? In Defender II, your goal is to protect the pixelated people at the bottom of the screen from any alien invaders. The green circle ships are the worst when it comes to lugging your people away, but beware also the purple and orange squiggles. Once you destroy all of the enemies, you move on to the next level or “wave.” This should go without saying, but don’t shoot your people as they’re being captured. Rather, shoot the enemy carrying the person, then collect the person by flying over them.
Defender II is from the early 80s, so there is no real “ending”; just wave after addictive wave of enemies to kill and people to save. Side note: space looks wonderfully grand and empty in Defender II. The black background with white, twinkling pixels, while quaint by today’s standards, still evokes a desolate beauty.
Whatever name you call it, Defender II is a true arcade classic from yesteryear.
PUBLISHER/DEVELOPER: HAL Labs GENRE: Arcade
RELEASE DATE: 09/24/87 – (JP), 07/1988 – (US)
ALSO AVAILABLE ON: Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Amiga, Apple II, ARC, C64, PC