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Defender is my all-time favourite video game and naturally I welcome any sort of conversion or derivative with glee, especially one as good as this. Guardian is about the best conversion around on any micro and contains nearly every feature of the arcade game. There are a couple of things which are slightly inaccurate, but they are pretty minor and don't detract from the game. If you want a definitive Defender clone then look no further than this (*) -- although old it's not showing its age at all.


Guardian is one of the few games I come back to play time after time and has bean a personal favourite since its release way back in early 1984. Though the graphics and sound are of a simplistic nature, they are very effective and the game wouldn't be the same without them. It's a shame Guardian didn't elicit much enthusiasm from the gamesplaying public, as it is certainly an all time classic and makes a worthy addition to the software library of anyone who lusts after a superlative shoot em up.



Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
1984 Alligata Software
Programmed by Steve Evans
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the eleventh issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: February 9th, 1986).

Alligata, 7.95 cass (since deleted), joystick with keys or keys

Right then, no beating about the bush, Guardian is an excellent version of Eugene Jarvis' classic arcade game Defender. For those of you who haven't seen Defender (Oh come on you must have seen it, everyone's been to the little arcade at Southend. You know, the one next to the gift shop that sells those funny shaped bars of soap and the cute battery powered puppies), I will explain. You play the goody and the idea is to save the innocent people from the baddies. The baddies' aim is to capture and destroy all the humanoids on the planet surface. Each humanoid captured boosts the aliens' sum energy and with all the humanoids in their possession the enemy is strong enough to destroy the planet and concentrate on attacking you.

Your vehicle of vendetta is a starship -- and a versatile beast it is too, as it is capable of some quick manoeuvring and very rapid gunfire. The ship is able to move up, down, left and right by using thrust in the right direction. The weapons system is quite comprehensive. First there is the rapid fire laser cannon which destroys any aliens in sight. Then there's the smart bomb which is lethal and is only meant to be used in emergencies. A tap on the relevant key results in all alien life currently on screen vapourising instantly with a blaze that'd bring a tear to the eye of any pyrotechnician. However, you only have a limited supply of smart bombs, an extra one being gained every ten thousand points along with an extra life, so they must be used wisely. Finally, hyperspace is another emergency-only piece of equipment that transports you to another part of the planet, but may well plonk the ship in the middle of an alien. Risky stuff.

As a Guardian, your reason for living is to protect the humanoids to the death and destroy the alien aggressors. The aliens attack in waves and at the end of each wave a bonus is awarded for every humanoid alive. At the start of the game eight humanoids live on the planet, but if all of them are kablammed by landers the end of the world happens. Guardian challenges the player by making the different aliens more frantic as you progress so they fight harder and faster. Your ship benefits from no such performance improvement so things can get pretty tough.

There are a number of different breeds in the alien troops that scour the planet, each performing a special task. Landers are the main attack force and their prime task is to capture, airlift and destroy the humanoids. Other baddies in the cast are mostly concerned with hindering your attempt to protect the humanoids.

Quite prolific are the Bombers -- these gleefully dispatch stationary air bombs as they traverse the skyline. Pods are seemingly harmless creatures but, as the name implies, they carry a load -- in the form of a host of Swarmers, which home in on the ship, continually firing furiously. Nastiest of all are the Baiters, which materialise in the vicinity if your efforts to cleanse the world of all alien life forms take too long. Moving at a truly furious pace, Baiters head straight for your craft. Only a quick eye and a deft hand can save you from death from a Baiters body blow.

There are two different types of screen to keep track of the mayhem. The largest is placed on the base of the display and is the main scanner showing the planet ground and your ship. While the ground scrolls left and right the ship stays relatively steady. The scenery itself is none too exciting -- it's a mountainous terrain represented by zig-zag lines and is where the humanoids live and from where the Landers snatch them. Landers wander along the landscape until they find a humanoid and then swoop to carry their pray to the top of the screen. Once at the top, the energy liberated from the consumed humanoid causes the Lander to turn into an extremely vicious Mutant -- a nasty that fights and dies hard.

The other scanner sits at the top of the screen and shows all off-screen activity, such as the location of the enemy and the humanoids. Use of the scanner to good effect is an important part of the game, as it's possible to see the landers picking up humanoids. If you're quick enough in getting to the scene of the crime, the Lander can be shot and the humanoid caught as it plummets groundwards. Five hundred points get thrown your way for this piece of trick flying.

If all the humanoids are destroyed then the ground disintegrates and every Lander mutates. This makes things very hard indeed, but the humanoids are replaced every fifth sheet.

(*) And despite being 'deleted', you can still obtain a copy of Guardian, thanks to the special ZZAP!/Alligata offer. See page 99.


I hate giving anything a GL 5 (you know the thumbs up special), the picture looks so tacky. Life would be so nice if everything could be given the finger choking good GL 1. With
Guardian there's no option -- a gormless grin special GL 5 just has to be used. Though games flow in and out of the office, Guardian is the only one I can still go back to and that's after two and a half years! That's real value for money. Technically it's still amazing, using very clever sprite sharing routines to get lots of things on screen at once. This is a truly excellent game that deserves the time and money of any 64 owner. Buy it now.


Presentation 78%
No options but there are a lot of 'nice' touches to make up for this 'deficiency'.

Graphics 72%
Simple, but very effective.

Sound 68%
Again, simple but used to good effect.

Hookability 95%
Although the keyboard layout may prove initially awkward to some, the game is very easy to get into and great fun to play.

Lastability 96%
The highly addictive nature of the game ensures plenty of lasting interest.

Value For Money 94%
Excellent value at eight quid, but even better value if purchased as part of the Fistful of Fun package.

Overall 95%
A classic game that shouldn't be overlooked by those even vaguely interested in the genre.




Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (25 Nov 2004)

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