Cybernator surprised me. I had no ideas going into it what it would be about, and it turns out that you're piloting mechs. In space. And not the stupid, overly designed, dazzlingly coloured mechs that I'm frankly put off by, but grungy, militaristic, 'realistic' designs.
It was - on the premise alone - something I absolutely had to get stuck into, and I hoped that the gameplay was just as inspiring.
|Sorry, I don't have a bloody clue what's going on in this shot|
I can tell you now that these screenshots won't help you in the slightest in picturing the scene. A war has broken out over resources while we were being trained up in piloting an Assault suit, which means we get to use this monstrous chunk of moving metal in the war, dashing, jumping, shooting and punching our way through the enemy ranks.
|Something exploded. Wasn't me.|
Our first mission involves ramming a ship through the enemy defences and then jumping out in order to destroy the engine block. We're alone, but our knowledge of platforming in games up until this point in time (i.e., go right) will allow us to get fully immersed into controlling this mech.
It's sluggish and bulky, with the short dash ability and sometimes useful, sometimes not, jump boost taking a little while to get to grips with, but that's partly because you're learning to move while shooting in all manner of directions.
You're not limited to the usual 8, nor are you limited to firing in the direction you're moving, and the default Vulcan cannon you're equipped with enhances this freedom by showing off a kind of bullet trajectory variance thing - I don't know what you'd call it. Spread? Yeah, it's a bit of bullet spread. Of course it is. I feel stupid for not recalling that sooner. Where was I?
It makes it all look nice and dynamic, even though it's a little cumbersome.
If you want to get up close and personal, you can switch weapons on the fly, including to a heavy hitting punch, which seems to destroy damn near everything in an explosion, which happens to be what you need to cause to complete the first mission.
For you, the war is very much just beginning...
The next stage begins with more of a shoot 'em up level design, which sees you hurtling through an asteroid field, while hopelessly dodging and defeating enemies along the way.
It always damn near crippled me, in stark contrast to the breeze of the first level. Maybe I'm missing something, maybe I'm charging in without thinking, maybe I should see how effective the block button is. Whatever the case, bumbling through the rest of the stage with a smattering of health wasn't the most fun, and it eventually meant switching over to YouTube.
Stages are varied, power-ups come in many forms, but it seems almost criminally short. Maybe I'm just asking too much of it - and watching it gives off a different impression of length than playing it does, so it's hard to say for sure.
Cybernator hooked me so quickly that it's a shame I'm not yet good enough to get further into it, be it through lack of skill or strategy. It plays differently enough from both shoot 'em ups and run and gunners to be work a look at from fans of both, and if you were ever put off by idea of mechs, it's not overly or obviously mechy - it's a game about the fight; the mech is just a tool with which you defend your allies and attack your opponents.
It perhaps isn't an immediate or obvious choice in a list of must play games, but Cybernator is worth checking out in some form.
Side missions and your successes or failures of them result in different endings to Cybernator, but you won't see the enemy President commit suicide unless you're playing the Japanese version.
Cybernator, developed by Konami, first released in 1992.
Version played: SNES, 1992, via emulation.
Version watched: SNES, 1992 (World of Longplays)