So tough it'll make you cry!

Defender earns itself the dubious honour of being one of the most brutally difficult games on Xbox Live Arcade. Even back in the '80s when it was first made, the game's developer nearly only made a few levels, thinking that nobody would ever get past them. Although they added more, we still haven't been able to beat Stage 3!

The general concept is fairly unique for a shooter, you have to eliminate the alien landers before they kidnap your astronaut buddies. If they manage to lift them to the top of the screen, the landers evolve into terrifyingly fast and powerful mutants.


It's very much a game of co-ordination, being able to stay two steps ahead of the aliens at all times. You really have to keep one eye on the radar to intercept the next alien abductor. Classic mode's graphics are arcade perfect and still look strangely beautiful. Unfortunately, the updated graphics mode does little to deserve its 'enhanced' moniker.

Defender is definitely a game for the hardcore, but casual gamers won't enjoy it to the same level as Joust or Pac-Man. We think it's too unforgiving, but try telling that to the people who've maxed out the scoreboard!

The verdict

Too hard for sustained play

Xbox 360
Digital Eclipse
Shoot 'em Up