Gameplay for the Defender Handheld Game
(Entex Electronics - 1982)
The game play for the Defender game can be as fast paced and exciting or slow and manageable using the speed control knob that makes this electronic arcade game unique. The good sized VFD screen features twin radar spotting screens as well as progressive levels of difficulty.
Just as in the original Williams arcade game, you must defend the Earth against alien invaders intent on conquering mankind. Alien landers attempt to capture humans on the surface and bring them to the top of the screen where they are converted into mutants who are much more intelligent and deadly than their lander counterparts. If all humans are converted, Earth is lost and you must battle wave after wave of alien raiders.
Movement is a little tricky because your directional control and thrust are controlled with separate buttons, instead of a joystick like in the original. But once you get used to this, the controls get easier to manage.
But as I mentioned before, one cool feature is that you can adjust the speed of the gameplay using the game speed control knob. There is also a difficulty level selector (1 or 2) and a mute switch for the sound if you want to play in silence.
You have unlimited ammo for your main laser cannon in which to battle the invaders, which comes in handy since they seem to have an unlimited number of ships... or you can use the smart bomb to destroy all of the aliens on your screen, but use these bombs sparingly as you have a limited number. If you get in a tight spot you can use the hyperspace button to warp to a new location to escape destruction.
You can save humans from the landers by swooping down and picking them up. But in the end it is futile as all humans will be converted and the real invasion begins... at which time you will have to deal with unending waves of alien raiders.
When I started playing this fantastic game, I never thought it would be so addicting, and I played for hours on end till my batteries died. This tells to me that it has the qualities you want in a great electronic handheld arcade game like this. This is a shining example of a port over from an original arcade game. I must say that in my rating of this game I must give Entex's Defender a solid 8-10 for playability that you would be hard-pressed to match in a vintage handheld game.