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Defender [Model CX2609]

Atari 2600 cart. published 43 years ago by Atari, Inc.

Listed in MAME

Defender [Model CX2609] screenshot

Defender © 1981 Atari, Incorporated.

As Commander of Universal Space Ship Defender, you have been assigned by Earth Security to rid Planet Earth of the Aliens and rescue Humanoids from the Landers. You score points for each Alien space ship you destroy with your laser bombs and smart bombs and for each Humanoid you save. In one-player games, your object is to top your highest score. In two-player games, the player with the highest score wins the game. A game ends when the Aliens finally destroy Defender and conquer Earth.

Take your choice of 20 different DEFENDER games. Games 1 through 10 are for one player; Games 11 through 20 are for two players; and Games 10 and 20 are for young children.


Model CX2609


ATARI DEFENDER is very similar to the Williams coin-operated DEFENDER game. However, you will find some differences in the game play as well as in the graphic images and game controls. For example, in the coin-operated DEFENDER game, two or more Alien Landers can kidnap Humanoids simultaneously, whereas in the ATARI version, Landers can abduct only one Humanoid at a time. In the coin-operated game, you can accidentally kill a Humanoid with your own missile fire while attempting a rescue, and even lose a life in Hyperspace. Such tragedies cannot happen in ATARI DEFENDER. ATARI Humanoids are invulnerable to missile fire, and Universal Space Ship Defender will always emerge from Hyperspace intact.

Scoring is the same in the ATARI and coin-operated DEFENDER games, with one exception: ATARI gives you 500 points instead of 150 points for blasting a cluster of Alien Swarmers with your laser missiles.

The game differences are mostly minor and technical. We feel sure that they will not detract from the fun you will have with this exciting and popular ATARI game.


LISTEN TO THE SOUNDS: DEFENDER sounds are important to you and a life-and-death matter to the Humanoids. A high-pitched 'chatter' like an excited chipmunk is a Humanoids's cry for help. When you hear it, immediately go to the rescue. If you let a Humanoid free-fall to earth and hear 'crash' or 'crunch' instead of a short happy tune, you know that you Humanoid crash-landed and you did not score 250 bonus points. You don't even have to look at the score counter.

USE THE SCANNER: Practice using the Scanner to find out where Aliens are coming from, which Humanoid is being kidnapped, and which Humanoids remain to be defended. the Scanner is an important strategic element in any game. When you learn to rely on it, it will help you improve your score. See USING THE SCANNER and RESCUING HUMANOIDS in GAME PLAY for help in reading the Scanner.

SPEED IS IMPORTANT: Keep Defender moving forward at the highest speed you can manage without losing control. Remember that a moving target is harder to hit.

SUDDEN REVERSALS: Reversing direction suddenly is a good ploy. It confuses Aliens and stops them in their tracks. In the instant it takes an Alien to recover, you can get Defender into a strategic position, reverse again, and blast the Alien with your laser missiles.

SMART BOMBS: If you don't want to let loose a lot of Swarmers at the start of a wave, use smart bombs instead of laser missiles to destroy Pods. But use the bombs sparingly. You may need one to save a Humanoid in the nick of time, or to blast enough aliens to cross a 10,000 point boundary and win another life and smart bomb.

CATCH AND CARRY: If you are in a fast wave, catch and carry a Humanoid. Remember that a Lander can't pick up another Humanoid while Defender is holding one. A good strategy in the later waves is to wait until you've destroyed all but one Alien before you set the Humanoid down.


Programmer: Bob Polaro
Graphics: Alan Murphy


Game's ROM.