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Earth Defense/Earth Defend

Genre: Shmup Developer: AV Austin Publisher: Realtec Players: 1-2 Released: 1995

In my quest to review all of the Genesis’ most obscure and forgotten games I’ve decided to make it a point to write reviews for each of Realtec’s games. Earth Defense is the last one, and let me tell you, this is a pretty depressing game to write a review for. My passion for obscurity is often a burden, since many of the games in the category are there for a reason – because they suck – and Earth Defense is the epitome of the word.

Upon first playing the game, I took a look at the box. For the most part the cover art is drawn nicely but cheesy, and the same goes for the back cover. The inside, however, is another story. Like all Realtec Releases, the manual doesn’t fit in the case right. It also says The Earth Defend, which is only one of the game’s many Engrish problems. The end credits (like all six of them) are just as bad. The game says “programer” and “graphic” instead of “programmer” and “graphics.”When you have this kind of quality control it says something about the company’s motives to make quality games.

Once you start things up you are treated to a decent screen with your Phoenix Spitfire ascending into the sky. Unfortunately, it all implodes after that. What follows are five missions of some of the worst shooter gameplay ever released on the Genesis. The game would have been much better if they only eliminated the slowdown, as just about anything on the screen other than your ship causes massive slowdown and flicker, and it’s neither graphically intense nor processor intense; it’s all due to bad programming. The power ups are generic and weak, and none of them are original. The bosses are decent-looking and large, but each share the exact same pattern, and once you realize that you can activate your shield and blow them away it’s not much of a challenge. If you want to see something rather hilarious, many times once the first boss is defeated the game forgets to register, and the stage doesn’t end. It plays the boss music and lets you fly around until you reset. How’s that for programming quality?

The graphics look like they were ripped out of a toddler’s story book about airplanes, and nothing even remotely fitting a shooter. Enemies look terrible, and backgrounds are generic, often repeating many times before the end of the stage. Furthermore, the sound effects are horrendous at best. Anyone of you remember those horrid unlicensed NES games by American Video Entertainment that were almost unplayable? The sound effects seem like they are ripped straight from one of those games. Everything is generic blips and beeps, and it really brings the game down severely. Musically, Earth Defense is very high pitched, and while each stage has its own tune, each one is no more than average at best.

The game is laughably bad throughout. It is a tribute to programming at its worst. One last example: the last boss is this tiny little ship, and you can’t tell if your doing any damage to it since it doesn’t change color or flicker. It was an underwhelming ending to an already bad game. There was only about five of six people listed in the credits, and they were all spelled wrong. It’s seems like they made this as a joke just to see how bad they could make a game. Earth Defense is a game you might be tempted to play out of morbid curiosity, just to laugh at it, and it won’t take more than an hour to finish at most since it’s so easy. My suggestion to you is to not waste your time here. You’re better off if you just pretend it doesn’t exist.

SCORE: 3 out of 10

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