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Publisher: Awem Studio    Genre: Arcade
Min OS X: 10.4    CPU: G5 @ 1830 MHz

Star Defender 4
September 25, 2009 | Ted Bade

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Star Defender 4 is a fast action shoot-Ďemíup game that will keep you coming back for more. It offers great action, graphics, and sound effects, lots of different power-ups, and loads and loads of alien ships to destroy. What more could one ask from a top of the line game like this?

SD4 is essentially a 2D shooting game. Your star fighter can move back and forth along the bottom of the screen and the alien attackers, power-ups, and bonus points come down the screen from above toward it. You need to decide if you should try to intercept (for the good stuff), destroy (for the aliens), or avoid (for attacks). According to the publisherís write up on this game, there are 100 levels to keep you playing for a long, long time. I have to admit, I have only seen the bottom third of this number, so far.

The 100 levels are broken into 8 missions, each ending with a ďBossĒ alien, which isnít all that easy to defeat. The bosses are large, can take a lot of damage (they have multiple parts that each have to be destroyed), and can attack in a lot more ways then the standard alien craft. If you succeed with destroying the boss, you move onto the next mission.

Capturing power-ups is a critical aspect of this game. Doing so improves your weapons, making it easier to survive. You star fighter has two attacks. The standard, essentially unlimited one is always available. It improves as you gain power (by collecting energy power-ups), starting with simple energy shots, and moving up to energy shots that spray all over, higher powered energy shots, seriously damaging rays, combination shots, and more. One particular power up turns the star fighter into a multi-weaponed destroying machine for a short period. Pull the trigger and all types of particle, energy, and other attacks spew from your little star fighter, often clearing a busy screen full of aliens in seconds.

The second weapon is limited in quantity and often provides a more powerful attack or at least a very useful function. You start off with a few high powered missiles that scream up the screen, significantly damaging anything they hit. Other useful ones I have found are a flame thrower that burns any ships near the bottom of the screen (it has a short range), one that shoots out a group of guided missiles that lock onto one target, and my favorite, an obliterating ray gun that essentially destroys any aliens in its path. This one is really useful for taking out some of the more nasty aliens. As I said, the number attacks provided by the power up is limited. If you are doing okay with your main weapon, save the special ones until things get a bit more complicated. The bad news is that if you loose your ship, you loose all the extra ammo and energy you acquired, so things can get really rough.

There are other power ups that donít affect your weapons, but are of benefit. One lets you put up barriers, which the aliens cannot shoot through, but you can. Another bursts into a group of stars that attack any aliens on the screen either damaging or destroying them, stars left over continue to attack new aliens until the stars are used up. Another sets off an array of missiles in an arc around it, destroying anything they hit. A final one I will mention is a short term immortality. Get it and go ahead, stand in the way, they canít hurt you, for a short while that is. You hear an audible alarm warning you that the effect is ending.

There are several different extras that fall as the game progresses. How and when these extras fall is a random process. You essentially take what you can and hope they are a benefit. There is nothing more annoying then when you get a pack of homing missiles with no aliens on the screen.


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