What would you do if aliens came by the hordes and threatened your existence? Easy.you shoot the living crap out of them and ask questions later! Your protector, the only defense there is for the inhabitants of Haven-7, you must destroy the aliens, and save the planet..not very hard to do, or is it? Like many other games of this type, you have the simple basics; your protecting something and you must destroy everything to keep it. The Jaguar doesn't have many shooters, and the closest we have had to a "defender" clone was Defender 2000 by Jeff Minter, but it seems his classic version of Defender didn't quite cut it in the eyes of players, but was good none the less, it just lack that certain something. After what seems like a very long time, Carl Forhan of Songbird Productions managed to get the rights to finish and publish this lost game, it's out, it's hot and it's non-stop adrenaline pumping action!
Upon starting you journey, you notice a very familiar layout, makes you feel right at home, the graphics are crisp and done very well, some nice backdrops accompany the battlefield and there is some decent parallax scrolling in the background, your ship is detailed nicely, kinda small (I tend to lose it in a crowd of enemies when going real fast) but you get use to it, what I like most is the Defender like radar that is at the top of your screen to show your location in respects to your enemies (and the people your protecting). The main problem with Defender 2000 was the action was so fast that your game play was based on your radar and not on the main screen, simply cause it was all a blur. Protector changes that and makes the game not so radar intensive, you focus more on the action and keeping your butt out of trouble (rather than watching dots on a screen). There are a great deal of enemies, anything ranging from Landers, to ships that just about kamikaze attack you, with all this action going on, there is no drop in frame rate or anything, the game says on the back of the box, that it runs at 60+ frames per second like 90% of the time, I'd say that is really great, since some good Jaguar games suffer simply because of the frame rate being so low, and sometimes making the game not very enjoyable. For a game of this type, the graphics are done really well and inviting to any avid game player, it gets a pretty good grade in my book.
Nothing gets your blood pumping faster and the action more intense then a good dose of music, the main song (which also serves as a track in some of the levels) is pretty cool, kind of a cool techno beat, but repeats too much and gets on your nerves, some of the other tunes are good as well, although I feel there were too little tracks to hear, you seem to get repeating and you wish you had some more to listen too, course maybe I just didn't get that far in the games and didn't get to hear music that was different. Overall, not too bad, just needed a little bit of work, hey music adds a lot to a game ya know.
Control is always a major factor when you zipping around blasting everything in sight and living to tell about it. The control layout is very basic, consisting of a bomb button, fire button and a special button you will get use to it in no time at all. The control itself (Maneuvering) is very tight; you can go and stop on a dime with no problem at all. It just couldn't get any better than this.
Your ship can handle itself in a fight pretty well, but in order to even out the odds a little more, you have to have a little more oomph in your defense. When you destroy some enemies you can pick up power ups, they can do anything from enable hyperspace, having your energy restored, getting rapid fire or being in "PROTECTOR" mode, in which the enemies cannot lock onto you little human friends and take them away. Aside from getting this power ups via the main game, in between levels you get to stop at "Ye Olde Shoppe", and use your credits to buy extra ships, rapid fire, smart bombs and shields. One thing you find out when playing this game is a great deal of staying alive is by using your arsenal of power ups, without them you will have a very hard time getting anywhere. Ok so you've got your power ups, and that is all good.helps you out a lot, but I personally had a hard time with the game overall, I just found the game to be very very hard, it kinda starts out simple and easy but the learning curve is steep and I found many a time getting pissed off and throwing down the controller, I just think the difficulty could have been tweaked a little more (but then again that is why they created cheat codes for hehehe). Overall Protector is a great new addition to the slowly growing library of Jaguar games, and anyone who likes shooters and wants to try a defender style game that focuses more on game play and action rather than flashy graphics then this is your choice. Some people may like it more than other, it's an pretty good title in my book, but you know what they say, "Different strokes for different folks"