Castle Defender is a brilliant new game for the BBC micro

Every now and then a new game is developed for vintage computers. Built by computing enthusiasts these games are often better than the original offerings from the time that the machines were first popular, or include titles and ideas that come from the modern age.

Castle Defender is the BBC micro's first ever tower defence game, and it is really very good. Programmed by Chris Bradburne with graphics by John Blythe, this game is superbly well written and designed. The graphics are stunning and the game play is addictive. I have been playing all morning, with admittedly, a pathetic high score of only 40% to show for my efforts.

A hoard of orcs and goblins storm my castle defences on the BeebEm emulator.
The aim of Castle Defender is to protect your castle from the waves of computer controlled 'nasties'. You build towers at strategic points along the way to shoot your enemies to death. There are three different types of weapons which can be upgraded as you earn more gold. Indeed, upgrading your weapons is the only way you will succeed at this game.

There is an initial steep learning curve in Castle Defender. At first the cursor key controls seem a little counter-intuitive, and you will possibly long for a touch screen. The best approach is to only use the left and right cursor keys to navigate the battle field. The second lesson you will need to learn is how to read the display at the bottom of the screen. Some enemies have shields which make them almost impossible to kill unless you have weapons that can deal with shields. Choosing the appropriate mix of weapons is essential to surviving each wave of nasties in Castle Defender.

Snakes! I hate snakes, Jock! I hate 'em! Come on! Show a little backbone, will ya!
There are four levels of superb high-resolution MODE 1 graphics, with each level getting progressively more 'evil'. You can skip levels by pressing the corresponding key 2,3 or 4 at the start of the game, although if you do the game wont track your high score. The animation is very smooth and the enemies make a satisfying 'pop' when they die.

It really is a joy to see developers creating new games for vintage machines, particularly when the results are such superb quality releases. One geek experience point is awarded each to Chris Bradburne and John Blythe.

You can download a copy of this game for your BBC micro or BBC master computer, or run it on your PC in an emulator such as BeebEm.

Zap that nasty! The loading screen of Castle Defender.
More modern games for vintage computers are available on the Homebrew Heroes Facebook page.

Well that's all from me today. I'm off to squish some 8-bit orcs...