Flash Gordon, Mandrake The Magician, Lothar and The Phantom are the square jawed heroes from the golden age of comics now enjoying a revival in the Saturday morning cartoon show. Flash Gordon's old enemy Ming The Merciless is the chief baddie: he's kidnapped the fab four's kids and is holding them in the depths of his fortress. Ming's message is clear: the foursome must stay out of his plans to take over the world. If they don't, the kids die! - isn't comic strip life simple...
You control gun toting Flash as he attempts to penetrate Ming's fortress against stiff opposition. He is not alone though: a press of the keyboard buttons and his pals come to his aid. Lothar and The Phantom are very useful opening doors, Mandrake can create optical illusions and their cute pet, Zuffy, generally gets in the way.
That's basically it! Guide Flash around the fortress and keep out of trouble! The game's initially very playable and the backdrops are quite colourful, though for the main part the sprites are monochrome. Defenders Of The Earth may appeal to fans of the cartoon series.
Graphics are really good with plenty of colour splashed about, and some of the screen effects are excellent too - with multi-coloured writing filling up the Spectrum's border. Add good tunes and effects - and you end up with a game which is fun for a few goes but soon wears thin with the lack of things to do. All your time is spent blasting away the same monsters each go and following the same paths. Little brain work is involved, except at the start when you have to choose which doors to get your mates to open for you, but after the first go you know exactly what to, killing all fun. Defenders of the Earth will keep fans of the cartoon happy awhile, but they'll soon be looking elsewhere for more playability.
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