Retail Price: £7.99 cassette, £14.99 disk
Author: Raffaele Cecco and Nick Jones
Evil pirates have ransacked the Federation's storage depots, stealing valuable minerals, jewels, ammunition, and the latest in battle weaponry. The player takes the part of the brave Cybernoid, picked to retrieve the valuable cargo and destroy the pirate hoard.
Apart from human adversaries, the Cybernoid also has to battle his way through the planetary defence system that the dastardly pirates have activated in order to stop the hapless hero from completing his mission. Add to that the time limit imposed on returning all the cargo for each level, and it can be seen why only the brave - or the foolhardy - volunteer for these tasks.
The Cybernoid isn't entirely defenceless, though: apart from the standard lasers, his arsenal also consists of bombs, mines, shields (used to provide limited invincibility), bouncing bombs, and heat-seeking missiles. Needless to say that stocks of these items are limited, although collection of the yellow canisters occasionally dropped by pirate ships increases the currently selected weapons stock by one.
Other items that may be collected include the Federation's stolen booty, objects that alter the appearance of the player's craft and extra external weaponry that can be used on the more difficult screens.
As the Cybernoid travels through the pirates' flick-screen territory, he is hampered by their activated defence systems. These take the shape of gun emplacements, missile launchers and so on - tricky to pass, but easily eliminated with the extra weapons.
Once a level has been cleared and the cargo collected, the Cybernoid then heads for the level depot, where he is informed whether or not he has collected enough cargo to warrant being given a bonus. If not, one Cybernoid ship is lost, and the player is transported to the next level.
Joystick: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: Cybernoid is so colourful and detailed you'd be forgiven for thinking it was an arcade version
Sound: an amazing 128K in-game tune, as well as some impressive spot effects
Options: sound on/off
Fantastic! Who needs 16-bit machines when Hewson and Raffaele Cecco can produce games like this on the 8-bit Spectrum. Cybernoid is perfect in every way that a computer game should be: it has excellent sound, excellent graphics and excellent colour. In fact I cannot find anything wrong with it at all! The animation is the best I've seen for a long, long time, and the way you can add equipment to your ship to make it stronger is great, too. The backgrounds are all well drawn, as are the sprites. Understandably there is some colour clash but this is bearable and even adds to the effectiveness of the explosions. There's a good 128K tune constantly playing in the background and the special FX make it sound even better. As I've said before, it's the little extra touches that make a game enjoyable to play, and Cybernoid has plenty of these: volcanoes, animated cannons, and scrolling borders all make the game pleasing to the eye. Well done Hewson: the ultimate Spectrum arcade game!
Cybernoid: the sensational mean fighting machine, collecting cargo and firing bombs - the idea isn't exactly unusual but the slickness of its presentation certainly is. The graphics, reminiscent of Exolon and Starquake, are extremely colourful; the destruction of each Cybernoid ship is accompanied by an explosion so spectacular it's almost worth losing a life to watch the effect! The nasties are numerous and have some engaging characteristics: I particularly liked the wriggly caterpillar that carries on squirming even after most of its segments have been blown away. Immediately playable, Cybernoid gets gradually more and more difficult. After a while, progress inevitably becomes a matter of sacrificing a life to find out how to negotiate new screens. The gameplay, complemented by the atmospheric music, grows very addictive. Calling Spectrum owners everywhere - this is one version of a well established theme that it would be a pity to miss.
An arcade game in your own home - you'd better believe it. Cybernoid is one of the most addictive, playable, attractive and downright unbelievable games you're ever likely to meet on the Spectrum. All the points that people used to criticize on the Spectrum could never be levelled at Raffaele Cecco's latest masterpiece. The graphics are astounding - fantastic use of colour and amazing detail. The (optionally) constant sound on the 128K complements the game superbly. Cybernoid sure is one helluva fighting machine - the weapons available are mean and monstrous, making the action really compulsive. Cybernoid defies all adjectives; it just has to be played to be believed - and once you do play it, you'll never leave it. If only all Spectrum games were like this!
Reviewer: David McCandless
Okay, take the best features from Manic Miner, Equinox, Zynaps and Exolon, plus a pinch of programming prowess (not forgetting the 'p' alliteration) and what do you get? Miner Willy Meets Some Aliens Just As The Sun Crosses The Equator? No! You get Cybernoid - The Fighting Machine.
But what have you really got? At first butchers it seems just like another mass carnage of extraterrestrials game, but a long, lingering gawp ( and perhaps a play or three) will tell you that this is a game of reflex, of judgment and of strategy, that will keep the hardest of the hard game players (ie me), quiet for weeks.
Apparently the Massive Federation intergalactic storage depos (MFI to you), have been plundered by pirates. All the latest battle weaponry, minerals, jewels and ammo have been ripped off (definitely MFI!), leaving the Federation floundering in defencelessness. So who do they call? Yep, Cybernoid, who has five lives with which to deal with all the juicy planetary defence systems and pesky pirates (as well as the recurring 'p' alliterations). One word can sum up the graphics in this game: effervescent. From start to finish, each screen is strewn with bubbling and fizzing action: kaleidoscopic explosions, spinning pirates, stray laser beams, and some more explosions - the whole lot usually concentrating around your ship. The graphic design is very Equinox/Exolon-ish, but upgraded to complement this totally brilliant game.
As seems the trend these days with sci-fi games (Zynaps and Sidearms to name two), extra weapon add-ons suffuse this game. To obtain more weapons of destruction you must vaporise a likely looking pirate and collect any icon that may fall from its burnt-out shell. Features range from a windmilling CyberMace (the nuclear world's equivalent of the Tyson fist), a backfiring gun, and extra-weapons in the form of canisters. All are worth extra points. And why not?
But suddenly a fumbling reviewer accidently presses keys 1 to 5 and comes across six more types of weapon. Gosh! First of these options is BOMB - these flare up, blatting anything stupid enough to get in the way. Second are IMPACT MINES, which are subtle little circles that detonate any vagrant aliens Then there's the DEFENCE SHIELD, making you invulnerable for a spell. After that there's the BOUNCE BOMBS that make four mega-balls (cue Phil South jokes), boing all round screen with explosive effects. Last but by no means least, is SEEKER, a beautiful invention that has a fatal attraction (I've seen dat film, mate) for anything remotely alien. Holding down fire activates all these options, a gentle change from feverishly pumping down on the fire key.
All these features alone could make a game, but the real attraction doesn't come in the excellent graphics, fast gameplay or even the sheer variety of everything, but instead in the tactics and planning needed to pass each screen. As in Manic Miner (you've been wondering where the connection would come in, haven't you?), there is a select route or safe-area which you must find to leave the screen -and once you've left it there's no turning back, boi (to be said in a John Wayne voice). And it is the promise of ever more weird and wonderful screens that lures you on. Totally brilliant.
One thing I feel I must warn you about: never play this game in the presence of parents and volatile relatives, because, be most assured, Cybernoid will have you swearing till your tongue drops off and Eddie Murphy blushes. You have beer warned.
Now to get hacking. Hur-hur-hur! (Evil Hacker type chuckle.)
THE COMPLETE YS GUIDE TO SHOOT-'EM-UPS PART 1
Where'd we all be without shoot-'em-ups, eh, Spec-chums? Well, we'd all have much smaller games collections, that's for sure! Join MATT BIELBY for an epic blast through nearly a decade of firepowered Spec-fun...
Blimey! The complete guide to shoot-'em-ups, eh? A bit of a mammoth task you might be thinking (and you'd be blooming right! It's taken me absolutely ages!). It's so blinking gigantic in fact that we've had to split it in two to save the whole ish from being packed to the gills with ancient shooty-shooty games and very little else!
So how's it all going to work? Well, this issue we spotlight those hundreds of games where you control a little spaceship, aeroplane or what have you, while next time round we'll be wibbling on for ages about those blasters where you command a man, creature or robot - things like Operation Wolf, Gryzor, Robocop (the list is endless, I'm sorry to say). Yes, I know it's a bit of an arbitrary way to divide the whole subject up in two, but it's the best I could come up.
Anyway, if you 're all ready, let's arm the missiles, oil the cannons, buckle our seatbelts and go kick some alien ass! (Or something.)
SO WHAT EXACTLY MAKES A SHOOT-'EM-UP A SHOOT-'EM-UP?
Well, at the risk of stating the obvious, it's a game where simple reaction times count for (almost) everything, and the actual shooting of various baddies constitutes the major part of the gameplay. It's just about the oldest form of computer game going (Space Invaders was pure shoot-'em-up, for instance), short of mad Victorian chappies crouching down inside big wooden cabinets and pretending to be chess machines. It's one of the most enduring forms too - hardly an issue of YS goes by when we don't review at least a couple of newies, and it's the rare arcade-style game (sports sims and puzzlers excepted) that doesn't include at least a small shoot-'em-up element in there somewhere as part of the gameplay.
But back to the case in hand. What we're talking about here are the pure shoot-'em-ups - games where the wiping out of waves of aliens or other baddies is everything (though let's be fair, the violence in most of these is very abstract and minimal). They easily divide into four major types, depending on how you view the action. And you can read all about them over the page.
THE FIRST EVER SHOOT-'EM-UP
Goodness knows - Space Invaders is the obvious answer, but most of the other early arcade games were shoot-'em-ups too - Defender, Asteroids, Galaxian and the rest. To find out what made it onto the Speccy first, well, we'll have to look back in the vaults and see what we come up with, shan't we?
Right, here we are with the very first issue of Your Spectrum (later to evolve into Your Sinclair), cover date January 1984. Flick to the review section and we have two Space invaders-type games, both from long-forgotten Anirog Software - Galactic Abductor and Missile Defence. The second issue (Feb 84. believe it or not) brings us such delights as Xark (Contrast Software), a Defender-type game and Alien Swoop (a Galaxians rip-off), while in issue three had Bug Byte's Cavern Fighter (a tunnel-based jobbie, like an early version of R-Type).
Hmm. Let's go back a bit further, shall we? All the early computer games mags were listings based (ie had lots of crap Basic games printed out line by line over oodles of pages, as if Program Pitstop had run rampant over the whole mag!) so we might find something in there. Believe it or not find something in there. Believe it or not, I have the very first issue of the very first computer games mag in the country sitting right here on my desk, cover-dated November 1981. There's only one Sinclair game in here (for a ZX80 or 81 - a Speccy forerunner - and taking up a whole 2K!). It's called City Bomb, and it's a sort of shoot-'em-up. Apparently you're in a plane at the top of the screen and have to bomb the city beneath you, flattening out a landing strip so you can put down safely. Thrilling stuff, eh? As for commercially available stuff, it's all lost a bit too far back in the mists of time to be sure. Still, shoot-'em-ups started emerging for the Speccy pretty soon after the machine came out, certainly by the end of '82. Throughout 83 people like Quicksilva and Bug Byte were churning out Space Invaders, Asteroids and Scramble clones advertised as 'being in 100% machine code and in colour' too, so perhaps it was one of those. Exciting stuff, eh?
In the great YS Guide To... tradition, for a one-off-only special occasion we've adapted our normal rating system to accommodate the shoot-'em-up theme. Here's how they work...
Are there oodles of inventive, nasty and extremely difficult-to-kill baddies all over the place (including the biggest, meanest muthas ever at the end of each level) or do you end up fighting a fleet of Trebor Mints?
Are there oodles and oodles of well-thought-out and spectacular weapons available to pick up and use, or do you have to make do with the same crap little peashooter throughout the game?
Unusually, the lower the score the better here. Basically, is this exactly the same as every other shoot-'em-up ever (in which case it'll get a high score for being chronically unoriginal) or does it have something innovative and special about it to set it apart from the crowd?
Does everything make a degree of sense in Speccyvision, or is it all a jumbled mass of pixels, with bullets, missiles and even little spaceships winking in and out of view willy-nilly?
This flip-screen shoot-'em-up and its very similar (but slightly souped-up) sequel are notable in a number of ways. For a start there's the colour - absolutely loads of it littered about, especially when programmer Raf Cecco's famous explodey bits come into play. Then there's the gameplay - the first few screens aren't too tricky, but you soon find yourself coming across some of the most ludicrously packed and complicated problems ever - it's often a real triumph to get half way across a screen, let alone onto the next one! Neat touches like the use of gravity (some bullets drop in a little arc as opposed to zooming on in a straight line, and your ship squats firmly on the ground if you don't tell it otherwise) add to the infuriating fun.
Raf's been quite generous in one way though - if you find you're having really insurmountable problems with any one obstacle you can always sacrifice a ship to get past it with the few seconds of invulnerability that come with each new one (I wouldn't recommend you try this tactic too often though!). A couple of essential purchases.
Author: Raffaele Cecco
Reviewer: Graham Taylor
OK admit it. Exolon was the best game of 1987. It had better gameplay, bigger graphics and more colour with less colour-clash than any of the competition.
Cybernoid is Exolon II. Plotwise it's maybe marginally less original but it takes the brilliant graphics of Exolon a stage or two forward and puts them in a flip screen space shoot-em-up of astoundingly destructive proportions.
Cybernoid is a fighting machine - an ultra powerful spaceship just itching to take out hoards and hoards of wibbly alien blobby things. Why kill them? What's the plot? Who cares? Let's just assume they jumped ahead of you in the bus queue or something.
Cybernoid grows in firepower as gameplay progresses. As you survive you discover, dumped in odd corners of the screen, some of the most truly spectacular and destructive weaponry yet seen in a computer game. Things start well with an awesome electromace which swings around your spacecraft leaving a train of sparks behind it. The explosions in this game are better than Exolon as things smash into a thousand multicoloured pieces.
There is more. Aliens come in dozens of different guises. Some are tiny and can be easily taken out with standard lasers, others are gigantic monstrosities - particularly deadly are the bizarre things which look like wasps' nests and throw out deadly bouncing bombs.
Parts of the game remind me of the old Caverns of Mars - it isn't just blasting things, sometimes to get further into the game you need to time your way past some of the most fiendish obstacles known to arcadekind - tiny channelways needing precision steering and split-second timing.
For the wimpish there is a shield option which will get you pretty safely through the early screens, but there is a problem - it runs out. If you use it up in the early stages - well you're going to be pretty stuck when the going starts to get really tough aren't you?
It's a real player's game this - you can start to develop strategies for different obstacles. Certain kinds of flying bomb follow specific patterns and no obstacle is impassable - just very, very difficult indeed. Someone somewhere is going to solve it in about two hours but the average blasthead should get days and days of challenge.
Game of the year so far? You bet. It has everything Exolon does but it's harder and the graphics are probably even better. Cybernoid is also certainly the most completely destructive game I've ever seen.
I think all of that adds up to a pretty strong recommendation don't you? The best flip screen shoot-'em-up ever seen on the Spectrum. A worthy successor to Exolon.
Hewson fight piracy.
Cargo collecting, alien shooting, obstacle avoiding - it's all in this latest offering from Raffaele Cecco (he of Exolon and Equinox fame). The plot's simple enough; it would appear that pirates have raided a number of Federation storage depots and plan to make off with the precious cargo.
You're given a Cybernoid ship in which to retrieve and return the cargo to a depot within the specified time, and just to make life difficult the pirates have also activated all the planetary defence systems, and there are still loads of pirates in the vicinity. The pirates are not so tough to deal with as you're armed with a front-firing gun and a small supply of bombs to start with, and you can find extra weapons scattered around the planet, making the task of destroying aliens a mite easier. The planetary defences are another matter though. Timing is the key to getting past most of the obstacles (if you can't destroy them with a well-aimed bomb) and some very careful positioning.
All this makes for a very good-looking, very playable and very frustrating game that is also very unoriginal. Cybernoid adds a new twist to the Exolon genre of games but it doesn't add anything that hasn't been seen and done a hundred times before. If you're a fan of this type of game then you'll probably love it to bits, but if you're looking for something new and innovative, then perhaps you should look elsewhere.
Reviewer: Andy Smith
Spec, £8.99cs, £14.99dk, Out Now
C64/128, £9.99cs, £14.99dk, Out Now
Amstrad, £9.99cs, £14.99dk, Imminent
Predicted Interest Curve
1 min: 75/100
1 hour: 80/100
1 day: 75/100
1 week: 60/100
1 month: 50/100
1 year: 20/100
MACHINES: Spectrum/Amstrad/CBM 64
PRICE: £7.99 (Spectrum)/CBM 64 and Amstrad (£9.99/£14.99)
VERSIONS TESTED: Spectrum/Amstrad
If you thought your Spectrum has been looking a little lack-lustre lately, that there was no sparkle to the games, then think again. Make way for Cybernoid - The Fighting Machine. It's a stunner.
So just in case you were planning to junk your faithful Speccie and upgrade to an Atari ST or Amiga, delay that momentous decision for a while and get Cybernoid.
The game is the creation of Raffaele Cecco, the brain behind Exolon. Cybernoid has a similar feel to Exolon but for me has the edge in playability and style.
Again, to be perfectly honest, the game idea isn't the most startlingly original concept and has cropped up again and again. But what game is truly original nowadays? Okay, I can hear you all shouting Nebulus, another Hewson offering by strange chance.
The basic idea is to control a space battle fighter, collect weapons, explore, survive and destroy the aliens.
Federation storage depots have been raided by space pirates. The have stolen valuable minerals, jewels, ammunition and superduper space weaponry. And, not surprisingly, the Federation wants them back. And that's your job. You must retrieve all these goodies and return them to the space depot before time runs out.
The opening screens on both the Spectrum and Amstrad versions are very impressive.
The Cybernoid sits beside a volcano spewing molten rockets into the air. Surprisingly, I thought these would destroy me straight away. But no, I sailed safely through. It's as you descend into the second screen that the nasties come at you. And it's here that you begin to pick up bits and pieces, including the add on weapons.
And it's not only the aliens you have to look out for. The pirates have activated a defence system which deals death to invaders.
Once you start playing, you're hooked. And there's eight levels or so to keep you playing.
Cybernoid is one of the best Spectrum releases for ages and probably the best Amstrad game around at the moment.
Reviewer: Paul Boughton
A let-up in the action. A Commodore shot.
Beware the hiddent traps.
Floating death coming your way.
Peril lurks at the end of the narrow passage.
Destroy the "beehive" object.
Spectrum 48/128/+3 Cassette: £7.99, Diskette: £14.99
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Amstrad CPC Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Raffaele Cecco, author, among other games, of Hewson's 8-bit big shoot-'em-up hit Exolon, teams up with Nick Jones to provide yet another orgy of death and destruction - initially on the Spectrum 48/128 and +3 and Amstrad. This is Nick Jones's first original game. His pedigree is more 'backroom' - he used to be with Mikro-Gen, designing music packages and background game graphics. He was also responsible for the Commodore 64 conversion of Exolon and is doing the same for Cybernoid.
Once again the Galactic Federation is in dire straits. This time the pirates have hit them right where it hurts, in the storage depots.
The solar system's surreptitious scourges have raided the depots and milked them for all they are worth. Valuable minerals, jewels, ammunition and the very latest in state-of-the-art weaponry have been stolen. Now with their resources at an all time low, the Federation has commissioned your mercenary skills to recover the stolen supplies and restore order to the galaxy.
And you are going to need all the available destructive power at your command, because your ship's presence has been detected, and the pirates' planetary defence systems are activated. The planet in question is a maze-like structure of interlocking rooms leading to a depot where any recovered items can be deposited. Each room contains some sort of defence device which has to be immobilised or avoided for that screen to be negotiated successfully, and once a room has been entered the only way out is through the exit leading to the next screen.
In addition to the planet's defences, there are the pirates themselves. Some pirate ships contain an item of the stolen supplies, or additional weaponry, which can be picked up once the ship has been destroyed, but a constant stream of deadly plasma bolts must be avoided while trying to accomplish this.
ARMED TO THE TEETH
Your ship is armed with six weapons systems. Laser bolts ate unlimited, but are the least effective weapon in that they are only able to destroy pirate ships, otherwise glancing off planetary defences. The other five weapons accessed through keys 1-5 are used by keeping the fire button depressed. These systems have a limited supply and can only be replenished by picking up special canisters sometimes deposited by a destroyed pirate. Bombs can destroy large emplacements which are immune to laser fire. Impact Mines can be placed at strategic positions on the screen to halt pirate craft. The Defence Shield temporarily renders your ship invincible. Bounce Bombs ricochet around the screen destroying any emplacements they touch. Seeker tracks down emplacements and destroys them.
Your craft is controlled using left, right and up movements, with gravity pulling it down. Counteracting the effect of gravity takes a while to get used to; especially as some screens require exact positioning of your craft for that screen to be overcome successfully. On arriving at the depot a bonus is calculated based on your success at retrieving the stolen supplies within the a limit, then it is onto the next and harder level.
Cybernoid is instantly playable and addictive. From the word go it is compelling and keeps the player coming back for more and more. It is pitched at just the right difficulty level, not so easy as to be bored within a few games and not so hard as to put the player off, with the Spectrum version probably just a touch harder than the Amstrad. The idea of using several weapons systems as opposed to the standard laser gun adds a new dimension to the genre as different problems require a different weapon, or in some cases more than one is required to overcome a particularly tricky screen. Precision timing and a good deal of luck are the keys to success with this game.
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