The Eliminator

written by Matthew Reed

Title:The Eliminator
Authors:Wayne Westmoreland and Terry Gilman
Publisher:Adventure International
Compatibility:Model I and III, disk and tape

Adventure International advertisement from the April 1983 issue of 80 Microcomputing

The Eliminator, distributed by Adventure International, was an adaptation of the arcade game Defender, released by Williams Electronics in 1980. Adventure International sold The Eliminator (the definite article “the” was part of the title) for several computers:

  • the TRS-80 version, written by Wayne Westmoreland and Terry Gilman, was released in 1981
  • the Apple II version, written by John Anderson, was also released in 1981
  • the Atari 400/800 version, written by Steve Coleman, was released in 1982

Here is the description of the TRS-80 version of The Eliminator from a 1981 Adventure International catalog:

Wayne Westmoreland and Terry Gilman, the creative team that brought you Armored Patrol, have pulled out all of the stops to bring you a game of skill, action, and derring-do that will cause your micro to crackle with excitement! Your mission is to prevent the marauding alien hoards from recovering your energizers from the planet’s surface — and we’ll tell you now that it isn’t easy! There are several types of alien ships — each with its own deadly method of firepower — and their sole mission is your rapid destruction! Realistic sounds, running high score, two-player option — it’s all here — it’s all incredible! The ultimate in arcade action!!!

Title screen of Space Defender

Title screen of Space Defender

Gameplay in Space Defender

Gameplay in Space Defender

The TRS-80 version by Wayne Westmoreland and Terry Gilman began life as Space Defender, a fairly close clone of the Williams Electronics arcade game Defender. Adventure International was concerned about the liability of such a close clone and requested changes to lessen the similarities to Defender. The new version, which was known as The Eliminator, replaced the scrolling landscape of Defender with a series of platforms.

Title screen of The Eliminator

Title screen of The Eliminator

Gameplay in The Eliminator

Gameplay of The Eliminator

Despite the changes made, there was still a threatened lawsuit from Williams Electronics. In response to the lawsuit, Adventure International chose to license Defender from Williams Electronics. This meant that the TRS-80 version of The Eliminator became the “official Defender” for the TRS-80, but the Apple II and Atari versions remained unchanged.

Apple II version of The Eliminator

Apple II version of The Eliminator

Atari version of the Eliminator

Atari version of The Eliminator

John Anderson’s Apple II version of The Eliminator (his first Apple II game) also began as a clone of Defender. Like the TRS-80 version, Adventure International wanted changes to limit similarities to Defender. John Anderson decided to change his version to take place in open space, making it vastly different from Defender. Much later, he stated that he regretted that decision and felt that he should have kept it closer to Defender.

In 1995, Wayne Westmoreland released all of their TRS-80 games into the public domain. You can download Space Defender, The Eliminator, and all of their other games here:

Games by Wayne Westmoreland and Terry Gilman

Categories: Arcade Games


Pat Henderson says:

As an employee of Adventure International in the early 80’s, this was always my favorite game of theirs. If you notice on the ad shown above, that’s me making that quote about how great the game is. My best friend, and fellow employee was the other “arcader”. Fun times working there.