Smelt nurdy aliens and blast their weapons into smoking piles
Out of Pocket: £7.99 cass
Author: Raffaele Cecco, graphics by Hugh Binns
When Nick Roberts was told there was going to be a sequel to his favourite thing in life (after banana and mushroom pizzas), he was delighted. Now, hard-working Raf Cecco's Cybernoid II is here at last, but how does it measure up?
Well, at first sight it's very similar to the original with similar pirate ships and backdrops. In fact, the status panel is identical to the one in Cybernoid. The 'fighting machine' itself appears slightly bulkier, ready for the highly dangerous mission awaiting it.
As in the original, the Cybernoid craft explores a host of alien-inhabited screens, trying to recover as much treasure as possible by shooting pirate ships and collecting their cargoes. Apart from a lasergun, the Cybernoid is equipped with 7 extra weapons. One change from the original is the replacement of mines with exploding time bombs. However, the only difference here is that the time bombs are detonated after a few seconds rather than on contact with the enemy.
But some extra features do exist, such as the positively huge gun emplacements and even more huge grotesque heads spitting bombs. There are also two maces (one in the form of a miniature Cybernoid) to collect instead of the prequel's one. Another addition is the inclusion of horizontal lifts as well as vertical ones.
Nevertheless, I can't help feeling that this is essentially just Cybernoid with different graphics - it's such a pity it's not different enough to be outstanding in its own right. Having said that, it retains the massive playability of its predecessor, and boasts some new catchy in-game music. Cybernoid II is a well-presented follow-up which derives rather too much from the classic original.
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor
Graphics: a slightly bulkier Cybernoid and some massive enemy installations; everything appears chunkier than in the original Cybernoid
Sound: a catchy in-game 128K tune and atmospheric effects
Options: defineable keys. Music can be turned off
The main ship has doubled its width - which unfortunately makes it look clumsy and unattractive, but to make up for this there are animated aliens, three new weapons and more colour than Playing Tips (surely not?). The scenario of the game's exactly that of the original, but with a new tune playing all through the game, four levels and even a new cheat mode, there's plenty more Cybernoid fun to get stuck into.
It may be my imagination - considering the game is very similar to its daddy - but the play seems harder than before (and it was tough enough then). The vicious security systems are as beautifully drawn and animated as ever, and all spit bullets at a frightening rate. I can assure you that on the first few games lives will be lost with extreme rapidity. Sound on the 128K version is also as good as before. Although it looks a little too much like its predecessor, Cybernoid II is a worthy successor.
Reviewer: Marcus Berkmann
Phewwwwwwwww ratatatatatatatatatatatatatatat, wheeeeeeeeeeeeee boom! Not that I'm a violent sort by nature, of course. GOT THAT? (Scrunch!) Good. But I do like a good shoot 'em up. It lets me release my more... er... anti-social cravings I mean, hoooooooooooooooooooo blammmmo! If it weren't for a good shoot 'em up now and then, what would we all be doing? Pillaging and plundering and looting like Visgoths, probably. Perpetrating untold acts of unimaginable cruelty and violence certainly. Or at least watcvhing Neighbours.
But society will be a much safer place with Cybernoid II around. This is a really cracking shoot 'em up. Those poor saps who never saw the original Cybernoid (which was to Exolon roughly as a BMW is to a rollerskate) will be saying, "Huh! The old boffer's always saying that! Every game's the bst thing since the toasted tea cake. He's really gone over the top this time. Let's go and buy Ninja Ghostbusters -that's only £1.99" To which I say - PAH!
Of course, by the time you read this, Cybernoid II will be number one in the charts. If you played the prequel, you'll know what to expect: the puzzle-solving megablast that was Cybernoid, but refined further, made harder and with neater graphics than you'll find this side of the 16-bit. You'll need speed of reaction, speed of thought and nimbler fingers than Paul Daniels.
Most readers will of course know this already, as they'll have bought the October ish, read the preview and played the playable demo that appeared on the front cover. (So what are you doing reading this review then? Go on clear off!) But for the few who have missed out and are wondering as ever, what the fuss is all about, here are the wizard extra features that Cybernoid II has in store, with subtitles for the hard of hearing (Eh? Ed).
First your Cyberniod super-spanky blaster ship has a few useful new weapon systems, some of which come ready fitted (you access them by pressing 1 to 5) and others of which you'll pick up along the way. Edge-following bombs are not fans of U2 (as far as I know, that is) but hug the terrain before blowing up whatever's at the other end of the scree. Smart bombs you'll be familiar with from countless other games, and time bombs are even more useful: plant them next to the nasty, leg it and watch from afar as it disintegrates with a wazzy new Defender-type blast.
Your aliens too are a mite more advanced, having learnt perhaps from their mistakes the last time you tangled with them. There are baiter aliens which appear when you have been faffing around on screen far too long. There are armoured emplacements which can only be destroyed when open, and when destroyed suddenly spit out more aliens. Alien waves, before completely predicatble, now alternate on the same screen - nasty, eh? And so on.
So what you're getting, in the end, is a souped-up, all-new-version of the bestest blaster we've seen on the beermat this year. If you went for Cybernoid Un, as the French would say, Deux will be music to your ears. If you didn't, it'll be Shakin Steven's Greatest Hits. The choice, mon ami, c'est a toi!
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: Rafaele Cecco
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
Attack of the sequel people! Cybernoid 2 is nothing more or less than a remix of the impressive flip-screen blaster Cybernoid, by Raffaele Cecco. If you were expecting something completely new and original, forget it; if you're happy with an even bigger and better Cybernoid, you're going to be in Bliss City Wyoming.
Once again, you and your highly dangerous killing machine have been horribly offended by aliens who have stolen your luncheon vouchers or something equally insulting. You set out to massacre them regardless of your own personal safety, and along the way encounter numerous deathtraps, weapons systems and alien growths determined to blow you to bits.
As before, the animation and colouring are immaculate, with very little attribute clash, even in the most spectacular explosions. The background design is similar to Part One, but now the organic bits are even more slimy and horrendous, and the mechanical bits more threatening and futuristic.
The main differences lie in the weapon systems, which as before are discovered by destroying major enemy installations. You still have a limited number of smart bombs which will destroy everything on the screen, and shields which last for a short period and will see you through the most frightening hails of fire.
You'll find, though, that the aliens have become tougher too, probably enraged by the last trouncing you gave them. New threats include guided missiles which drop from the roof, homing in on you with speed and accuracy; pod emplacements which explode into a hail of small projectiles; ramrods which crush you against the wall or ceiling; gravity traps which pull you to your inevitable doom; and horrible caterpillar-like aliens which follow you around the edges of the rooms, trying to squash you in the narrow corridors.
Rather than the straightforward chamber-after-chamber approach of Cybernoid 1, the new game offers alternative exits from some chambers, so you don't have to play the rooms in the same order each time. There are also horizontal "lifts" which transfer you from one section to another.
Your new super-dooper spaceship boasts an even sleeker, sexier design than the original, but you'll be pleased to hear that the old war-horse turns up as an additional weapon, a probe which follows you around guarding your back.
Faultless arcade entertainment, then, not much in the way of originality but the state of the art in shoot-'em-ups.
Pirate pranging with Hewson.
Those pirates are back again and stealing Federation cargo, so naturally you've been delegated to slap a few wrists, pop a few heads and get it all back again.
The mission is not dissimilar from the original game, although additional features have been added to try to jazz it up. It's a flick screen cross between a shoot-em-up and an arcade adventure, with the emphasis firmly on the blasting. Each screen presents a bunch of nasty aliens who have to be turned into ex-aliens or just avoided.
The bad guys come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and behaviour patterns. On most screens they come in great numbers and you'll need all your skill and weapons to survive.
The weapons have been beefed up, which is just as well with all those vicious aliens around. You're now armed with bombs, time bombs, shield, bouncing bombs, seeker, smart bombs and tracer. These can kill virtually all known aliens, dead, but are in short supply at the start. Extra killpower can be picked up along the way as ammunition, or extra weapons in the form of a backward firing gun and a large sphere that circles the ship.
Despite the impressive firepower it's still an extremely difficult game to play. The odds are stacked against you and after dying once, losing weapons in the process, it's even harder to survive. This sort of manic gameplay appeals to many game freaks but there's not much originality and no concession to those wanting a less demanding task.
Reviewer: Bob Wade
Spec, £7.99cs, £12.99dk, Out Now
Amstrad, £9.99cs, £12.99dk, Out Now
C64/128, £9.99cs, £14.99dk, Out Now
16-bit versions under development
Predicted Interest Curve
1 min: 68/100
1 hour: 90/100
1 day: 68/100
1 week: 55/100
1 month: 35/100
1 year: 10/100
Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £7.95, Diskette: £12.99
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
SON OF A CYBERNOID
The space pirates are back! And they're not just annoyed, their Cybernoid! Raffaele Cecco's first big hit, the original Cybernoid, was programmed in conjunction with Nick Jones and has only recently been converted to 16-bit formats (see the Amiga version update in this issue). With another pirate complex to destroy and updated weaponry to deploy, the sequel is upon us.
In times past, evil mercenaries pillaged every defenceless settlement they could find, gathering riches and destroying anything in their path. If this was not dastardly enough, their malicious, avaricious gaze fell on the storage depots of the Galactic Federation. These held the latest developments in weapon technology, precious jewels, and rare minerals Their defence resources drained, the Federation asked you to pilot your faithful techno craft, Cybernoid and recover the supplies.
The task was not an easy one, the pirates built a huge complex into their planet, its maze-like cavern network defended by strategically positioned laser cannons and marauding pirate ships. Fortunately your piloting skills and Cybernoid weaponry won the day and you made it through the entire base, leaving the pirates in wild disarray and at a fraction of their previous numbers.
MAN UNITED AGAINST THE ARSENAL
Time is a healer of all wounds, unfortunately including those of the enemy. They have recruited various evil-doers from all over the galaxy and built up their army to its previous numbers. Returning to their thieving ways, they once more plunder the Galactic Federation's depots, and stored their ill-gained treasures in another Battlestar complex.
Once more it is your job to retrieve the treasures and render the pirate forces helpless (not the most surprising news you've ever heard).
The new hi-tech fortress is even more deadly than the original, but your Cybernoid ship has been redesigned, and incorporates a more extensive arsenal.
A panel at the top of the screen displays information such as number of ships remaining, score, weapon currently in use (whether it be laser, bomb, missiles etc) and so on.
Occasionally abandoned supplies can be collected to replenish your limited quantities of weapons.
Cybernoid II is very similar to the original game. The screen layouts are different, and incorporate new gun emplacements and spitting heads, but no drastic changes have been made. Thankfully more and varied weapons are at your disposal - the difficulty has been noticeable increased from the tough-enough Cybernoid.
With few variations from the original, this is more of a Cybernoid-Plus than a sequel, and as such owners of the original may be disappointed. However, if you are new to this game and its predecessor, or are hungry for more of the same, Cybernoid II offers plenty of shoot-'em-up arcade-adventure thrills.
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