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Defender of the Future is actually a pretty good game.
Okay, up front: I'm an old school Ecco the Dolphin fan. Defender disappointed me in a lot of ways - mainly because of the storyline, written by David Brin (Uplift series). That said, it's a fun game and I'd recommend it to anyone. I'd just recommend the Genesis/Mega Drive games first.

I played the DreamCast version. There's also a Play Station 2 version, but I couldn't tell you much about it. Gameplay wise, it really is Ecco in 3D. You have an oxygen meter on top of a health meter - Ecco's a mammal and needs to surface to breathe every so often. The game is set around progressing through levels, solving some at times pretty clever (and at times infuriating) puzzles in a truly 3D - you are underwater - environment. Over the course of the entire game, you will also collect powerups both for Ecco's sonar and for Ecco himself; things like the ability to turn invisible for a short time or to double the health meter for a while.

There are a lot of subtle references to the Genesis games, and some not-so-subtle ones like the hidden sidescrolling levels and the entirety of Hanging Waters, a loving and awesome tribute to the Good Future from Tides. Oh, and this game is, as usual, very hard. As far as gameplay goes, this game is nearly perfect as a member of the Ecco series; there are a few places where Ecco can get stuck, and I would have liked a better sonar map, but that's about it. The graphics are also some of the very best the DreamCast had to offer.

So. The story. The... story.

Guys, it's like this. I was expecting season three of SatAM and I got Sonic X. Both stories are good, it's just that I really did want to know what the hell happened after Tides of Time. And, sorry, Brin is a prick when it comes to this series. It became blindingly obvious he doesn't give much of a crap when he got the Genesis games confused for Defender. Which, you know, is fine - the man's gotta eat - but it still annoys me.

Still, to be fair, the story's actually pretty cool for a videogame if you pretend that this game is called "Dolphin Sim DreamCast". I don't give scores, so I'll just say this: if you enjoy hard, puzzling games, you owe yourself this game. You owe yourself the Genesis Eccos even more.
Thanks for your opinions. I've never played Defender but I'm sick of seeing biased fanboys bashing the game for what it wasn't.
comment #2280 SoRiku 16th Apr 10
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