Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Defenders is a menu driven RPG which resembles the Final Fantasy series rather closely.
Move round the country, select commands, Fight battles, solve puzzles and defeat the Snake King.
They say history repeats itself, and sometimes that's correct. Take the kingdom of Shanadar. Its troubled history began in ancient times, at the hands of a wicked old mage called Amhiran. His personal crusade to bring bad times to Shanadar was foiled by a clever wizard, Jamseed. But, wouldn't you know, the Snake-King popped up and the nation had a 1000 (count 'em) years of misery!
Then the great warrior Fallidoon arrived and overturned the evil, and all was well... until a mysterious new power arrived — the Empire of Eflaat began to prosper by the old evil powers. As the young Prince of Shanadar, Eflaat's rise troubles your mind as you wait for your guest, Princess Mahamood to arrive. Little do you know that the land will soon be embroiled in strife yet again...
You are not alone! In fact, the Prince finds three other allies, each of whom have an interest in fighting Eflaat. The first, and most important, is the Genie of the Lamp. His powerful magic proves to be essential. Saleem, the Captain's son joins you to avenge his father's murder, and the last recruit, Agmar, is a scallywag you meet in a dungeon.
The Genie hos access to tons of spells, but his magical powers are limited by his magic points. Rest restores these, but you should look to improve his powers by plating the lamp and wrapping it in Silks. A pretty lamp makes a happy Genie, and he increases your strength, heals your wounds or shields you from attack in return. Genie learns new spells by reading wall inscriptions — so keep eyes peeled for dungeon graffiti.
The way for human characters to become stronger is to fight lots of battles. For each victory, a certain amount of experience points are given. With enough, a character moves up a level, and all his stats for speed, power and hit points are increased too!
Shops and dungeons contain all manner of goodies: herbs to restore hit points, keys to locked doors, weapons and armour. There are also some special items like the Barbado — which plays lulling music to put your enemies to sleep.
Combat is a very common feature of Defenders, since most wild areas are chock-full of nasty monsters. As you progress further into the game, they generally become nastier — with extra powers. When a fight begins, your party's stats are shown at the top of the screen, and the monsters appears below. The speediest
The Genie whisks you far and wide, with one mutter of a magic incantation. This lets you see the variety of terrain around Shonadar. There's a hidden Temple, that may only be reached by boat. Shanadar is a thriving port, as is Mahamood, a tiny kingdom that has escaped the Empire so far. The country of Ulk has places to rest and stock up, but also has its fair share of lawless bandits!
Anyone familiar with the Nintendo Final Fantasy games will instantly recognise this. The gamestyle is identical with the same mix of monsters, magic and frequent combat. Graphics are simple, but that's not where the appeal of the game lies. The great thing about this neat little game is the brilliant way the plot develops, and the sense of humour contained in the 'script'. It's pretty big too, with lots to do. All the new spells and monsters stops the combat becoming dull. Having three save game positions is an excellent feature. It's a bit more pricey than the average GG title — but then it's not your average GG title! A brilliant RPG for the Game Gear.
I'm not so enthralled by RPGs, but I know a quality game when I see one. Defenders of Oasis may have rather simplistic graphics, but the quest itself is very deep and extremely compelling. I was first drawn to the game by the brilliant music — it's fab and adds plenty of atmosphere to the proceedings. I like the automatic game save feature as well — whilst you're playing, it's continually resaving your position, which negates the worry of having forgotten about saving the game. I found the mixture of combat and exploration entertaining. It's the best example of the genre I've seen on the Gear. Unless you're only after action games, give Defenders of Oasis a whirl.
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