Cybernoid – NES
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Developer: Acclaim Entertainment
Release Date (NA): 1989
Nerd Rating: 4.5 out of 10
Reviewed by Nerdberry
In the long list of below-average games on the Nintendo Entertainment System, there is one particular game that I loathe yet can’t seem to put down. That game is Cybernoid. I have been playing this game since the 1990’s, yet I still can’t seem to beat it. Each Game Over presents me with a new challenge: Destroy the cartridge or try again? As if the game wasn’t hard enough already, now I REALLY don’t know what to do. Cybernoid presents gamers with one of those frustratingly addictive “I’ll try it just one more time” scenarios that we all hate. Considering the bargain-bin lure of such a game, there’s no excuse for not at least trying this game out.
The Zoggians have stolen the secret asteroids where your people have stored all of their necessary minerals and it is up to you to recover the asteroids and defeat the Zoggians once and for all! A short, simple, and sweet little story that you’d only pick up on if you had the manual. There is no introduction in the game as you go straight to the game once you choose your difficulty level. The story serves no purpose in this game and to tell you the truth, I didn’t even know there was a story until a couple weeks ago when I randomly pulled out the manual and decided to read it for the first time.
Cybernoid is a futuristic sci-fi shooter type of game where you guide a spaceship (a Cybernoid ship) through a series of “rooms” (or screens, if you will). Your objection is to get through each screen alive until you reach the end. You do not need to destroy anything or collect any points, only to survive. But if you collect enough points, you can earn additional credits, which you will need considering the game’s lack of a save feature or continues. And that’s not to say that getting through one room is going to require the same strategy as before. Essentially each room requires a careful examination to determine the best way to get from one end to the other. Sometimes you’ll need to learn patterns, occasionally you’ll need to blast your way through, but most of the time you need to believe in God, Allah, Buddah, Mel Gibson, or whatever and pray your ass off.
For whatever reason, the game gives you about 5 minutes to finish the level or you will die. Or so you think. What really happens is, once time expires, nothing happens, the clock freezes at 0000, and you just go on. The clock doesn’t reset or anything and you don’t lose a life. Furthermore, if you spend too much time in one room doing nothing, the game will kill you, causing you to lose one of your very important and necessary 9 lives! Sheesh! I sat in a room and watched the game take all 9 of my lives over a span of 6 minutes. Why?!
The graphics and the music in Cybernoid might be the only saving grace for this colossal turd of a game. I found the animation and graphics to be quite superb, even with a limited color palette. Generally the only colors are a black background surrounded by gray walls and some weird pink vines. Everything else is blue or green with the occasional purple, but that’s about it. Color usage is about as simple as it gets, yet the limited color application is oddly perfect for the otherworldly sci-fi look they were going for. The music is on a short loop and there isn’t enough of it, but what they did use is pretty damn good. The music is of the standard chiptune variety, but features some decent layers and an appropriate composition considering the type of game we’re playing. While the graphics and music might be above average, that’s about as far as I can take Cybernoid in a positive direction.
The level design, gameplay, and everything else about Cybernoid can only be compared to sucking on a chocolate starfish after a $15 meal at Del Taco. The best way to get through the first level is to memorize which layout is on the next screen before you go into it because there are times when you will enter a screen and die almost instantly before you even get a chance to see what the hell is going on. This is a major flaw of the game design. Cybernoid is pretty damn hard on the easiest setting, but when the difficulty is set at its highest, it becomes an insane sadomasochistic adventure unlike any violent leather clad nights your mom and dad used to have while you were sleeping. There are areas of the game that require you to use your invincibility shield to get through a particular area. What is that about? If you’re out of shields, you’ll have to die just to get more shields just so you can clear a certain screen.
Controls are equally atrocious as there are times when I will press the B button to launch a bomb or commit mass genocide (this clears the screen of all enemies… kinda) and it won’t do anything! The B button is wildly unresponsive at times but the A button fires your unlimited gun fairly well. And for whatever reason, your ship is in a constant state of descent, causing you to have to press and release the up button on the d-pad to maintain any sort of hover motion (a required maneuver in some rooms). Contact issues are also a problem as they will cause you to die from time to time. There are some areas where you will find yourself struggling to fit into a hole while trying to avoid projectiles.
Overall, Cybernoid is an odd little sci-fi shooter game that really struggled to provide a quality experience for gamers. According to Wikipedia, Cybernoid was a critical success achieving mostly positive reviews. Sure, that was during the late 1980’s. But even then one can tell the difference between a game that looks and sounds good versus one that is good.But there is no denying the addictive nature of the game as you’ll find yourself playing it over and over just to get a little further each time. Just like most arcade games of its time. One thing is for sure though, Cybernoid is not for impatient gamers with anger management issues. It will test your patience and your resolve like nothing you’ve ever experienced. While I’ve likely gotten my fill of Cybernoid for 2014, it’s only a matter of time until I pull this badboy out and plunge into the futuristic abyss once more.
Nerd Rating: 4.5 out of 10
Reviewed by Nerdberry
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