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Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

Other Links

Rich Pelley
Chris Bourne

Whilst swinging your pants on a Saturday morning you'll no doubt have caught a glimpse of Defenders Of The Earth on telly, I certainly have - probably 'cos watching pointless cartoons is about the only thing to do which doesn't involve getting out of bed. Anyway, ever seen it? Good, innit? But before you've had time to reduce yourself to the menial age of six, re-name yourself Trev and shriek "A-ducking and a-diving, a-wheeling and a-dealing - we're flippin' crazy", Defenders Of The Earth appears on the Speccy. Blimey!

In case you haven't caught on yet, Defenders Of The Earth the game, that is, is a conversion of the over-popular cartoon of the same name. Our heroes take the form of Flash-pants Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, Lothar The Phantom and pet Zuffy, who all, er... defend the Earth from the nasty, mean, evil and generally not-very-nice-at-all Ming the Merciless who's intent on causing maximum mischief, the scamp. This time, though, Ming's gone completely hatstand and decided to take over the entire world, kidnapping the Defenders kids into the bargain and threatening to kill them if anyone interferes. Cripes!

An extremely cunning plan is devised, dash in, grab the kids, deal with Ming, and dash out again. This is where you come iin, taking on the role of Flash who's been volunteered by the others to do the dirty work whilst they stay home in bed.

Luckily, though, should you get into any real trouble such as a locked door or an impassable chasm, then at the touch of a button one of your chums will be teleported along to help, do their bit, and then beetle off back home again. Funny how everyone else disappears when there's work to be done, eh, folks?

All this might seem terribly inspiring but actually has little to do with the game whatsoever. Basically, we're looking at your standard up-screen and shoot-and-shoot-things alike, where you simply just run about and shoot things all day.

Well, what do I reckon, then? On the plus side, it's quite fast and action-packed - you're not really on one screen for more than a few seconds before hurling yourself onto the next. Graphics are good too - lots of colour and smooth animation. A nice touch is the way you walk behind some of the scenery rather than in front of it - very effective. Should you be so sure, you could even sing along to the theme tune (a decent enough little ditty) which is played at the beginning, but personally I think that I'll skip that bit (I don't know the words). And I'm afraid that's your lot so far as good things go.

Actual games are rather on the short side because the thing is so ruddy hard - and the fact that the game doesn't help either. And another thing, there are no extra lives or weapons to collect. What this means is that you're stuck with the measly pop gun which you're given at the start, with no opportunities to upgrade at all. Sazzen krazzen frazzen. And as for the bit about summoning your friends - simply sellotape the "Call Help" key down and help'll be at hand every time you need it.

Overall I liked what was there, but there simply wasn't enough. All the levels (multiload by the way) are remarkably similar to each other and the whole thing gets slightly too boring all too quickly. Not too bad, but unfortunately still a bit of a turkey. Merry Christmas!

A 'could've been good' shoot-em-up - there's just not enough to do.


Screenshot Text

That's Octon but the way, an extremely large and nasty robot who's about as helpful as someone who's deliberately not being very helpful at all.

You can't have your cake and eat it - as they say - not that that's got much to do with what's going on here though. Simply jump over the water - and pick up that extra energy icon on the way.

A Kamikaze soldier who'll hurl himself at you - draining vast amounts of energy as well. Simply pop him one from the old gun.

There are lots of things about, including this monster bloke and on-screen cannons which constantly fire at you but can't actually be killed. The only solution is to scarper, quick!

Our hero (ie you).

This door was locked a minute a go - but pressing "Call Help" has just summoned one of my chums to come and open it for me. No probs.

Talking of my chums - here they all are. If they're able to help you they start flashing (oo-er) and pop up in the game itself.

Your score (not doing particularly well, are we, readers?).

You start life with three shields - each wears down every time you touch a baddy or get shot. We're on our last one now though. Yikes!

DOE - Defenders of the Earth.