Some people say that 1982 was the year of the sequels. Synapse's contribution to the sequel craze is Protector II and, as hard as it may be to believe, it is the sequel to Synapse's classic, Protector.

The idea of Protector II is to save the people (all 20 of them) of a great city from being kidnapped by vicious aliens who, besides fishing, also enjoy throwing a human or two (or four) into a volcano. You, of course, are the city's only defender and have to pick up the citizens of the beleagured city and carry them to the relative safety of the city of New Hope. Then you have to pick them up again and carry them to a secure mountain fortress, which for some inexplicable reason is full of enemy cannons and missile bases. To keep you from being bored outside the fortress, there is some native wildlife which enjoys flying around and munching up the occasional fighter as well as laser cannons and missile bases on the ground.

Protector II has some excellent features like being able to decide how many ships you want to start with. You get to choose a set of three or five. You also get to pick the starting level of difficulty, ranging from one to six. The game also has some very nice special effects, such as gravity and the way your man parachutes to safety when you get hit.

But there are some things missing from this otherwise excellent game. For example, you can't shoot the laser cannons and the missiles can only be destroyed when they turn red, which happens roughly every 50 years or so. The game would have been much, much better if there was more opposition.

Frankly, Protector II doesn't have the potential to generate the same cult following as the first but that doesn't mean it's a bad game. Considering the state of the games market today, it is one of the better buys for the money. I have to admit that I prefer the original.

You can fly right through buildings without suffering any damage, so you don't have to maneuver around them.