Defenders of the Earth – Enigma Variations Ltd
Developed by Enigma Variations Ltd, the Defenders of the Earth video game was released in 1990 in the UK for various gaming platforms, including Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, SAM Coupé and ZX Spectrum (see below).
It’s a futuristic science fiction action game with a side view perspective and an arcade shooter feel for one player per play.
The defenders, four super heroes from the golden age of comics are:
FLASH GORDON – The Team Leader.
MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN – A Master of illusion.
LOTHAR – The strongest man in the world.
THE PHANTOM – Has the strength of ten tigers at his command.
They are aided and abetted by their pet mascot ZUFFY.
A Team – invincible, ready, able and willing to defend the earth at all times.
The courage and skill of the defenders is put to the ultimate test by the evil of their arch enemy MING THE MERCILESS. He knows that only the defenders stand in the way of his plans to be master of the world. To stop them he abducts their children and takes them to the dark dungeons of his fortress. He issues a dire warning – interfere and your children die.
A daring plan is conceived and put into action. Detection by the highly sophisticated intruder alarm would mean instant death of the children and so flash will enter the dark and dangerous fortress alone in hope that he will be able to pass undetected through the intruder systems. Flash agrees to summon the other defenders to his aid should he need it. Lothar and the Phantom will use their incredible strength, Mandrake will use his occult magical powers to confound the forces of evil under Mings command and even Zuffy offers his help in whatever way he can.
Flash, armed with a powerful handgun, transports into Ming’s fortress with the future of the world in the balance.
Flash starts the game with a number of power shields which will be worn down by contact with enemy fire and direct contact with Ming’s forces. The shields are shown in the bottom left of the screen. Flash is invisible to the detector system while he is on his own but watch out for the special field generators. Crossing the generators while they are still active will set off the alarm and bring the full might of OCTON against him.
Flash can jump or duck to avoid the attacks by the vicious creatures inhabiting the fortress and he must be careful of the secret weapons concealed in the wall. When flash needs special help of the other defenders, he activates the ‘CALL HELP’ key. He will need them to help open some doors, cross chasms, deactivate the intruder detection system etc. The defender most able to help will be sent by DYNAK-X. If they are hit by the enemy forces a loss of energy level will occur. The defender will have to leave if his energy level gets too low and will be unusable until his strength is built up again. If no one is available to help then flash will have to survive on his own.
Flash can give his weapons extra charge if he can find power packs scattered in the fortress. He can also find and use more powerful guns that will be useful in dealing with some of Ming’s special bodyguards such as Mongor the serpent. He may also come across extra energy and extra shields. Ming’s main throne room is the scene of the final battle where the fate of the children and of the world will finally be decided.