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Cyber-Core (TurboGrafx-16) artwork

Cyber-Core (TurboGrafx-16) review

"An opening ‘cinema’ educates us on the state of the world. Hyper-insects (where is your Ritalin cannon when called upon?) have taken over the Earth, and it is your responsibility to repel them. And what better way than to merge your repulsive character Rad Ralph with the equally repulsive Chimera super life form?"

An opening ‘cinema’ educates us on the state of the world. Hyper-insects (where is your Ritalin cannon when called upon?) have taken over the Earth, and it is your responsibility to repel them. And what better way than to merge your repulsive character Rad Ralph with the equally repulsive Chimera super life form? The metamorphosis played out on the screen is not so much shocking as it is a fine piece of kitsch to point out and laugh at, and really, you might be doing a lot of smiling, as you play this fun, light, but unmistakably intense little overhead shooter.

It’s no Blazing Lazers--let that be known from the onset. IGS has managed to create a 2-D shoot-em-up with the general aspect of Dragon Spirit, with a very catchy score that uses simple, screaming tones to achieve memorably agile tracks that you can shoot to, with a smile.

For those who have not played Dragon Spirit, the graphic comparison is not the greatest flattery, but serves to say that Cyber Core has well drawn, if dull, slightly washed out backgrounds and flat--though vibrant--character designs dancing about over top.

Your Chimera creature craft begins with the obligatory dual stream pea shooter, but by shooting the bulbous backside of a rather ugly, green, flying insect, you trigger a loose bowel problem that the insect has been trying to come to terms with for awhile now--and power ups will come in a steady stream (the most that you’ll probably be able to uncover with constant shooting is five, before the carrier escapes the screen). There are four different power ups, distinguished by colour, naturally.

In addition to affecting your main weapon, powering up also equips your craft with bombs. You will start with the capability to drop one, then two, and finally three abreast, at a range just a few Chimera-lengths ahead of you (think Xevious, or Raystorm, but without the targeting reticles).

When fully powered, Yellow is straight ahead power in three streams. Green is the weakest shot, but it is augmented by spinning blades that take out enemies and their projectiles both, within a short radius. In shooters, Red always seems to be the weapon with the least power, but most spread, and that is quite the case here; while Blue is the only weapon with four fully powered beams outreaching from your craft.

The Red icon with its unparalleled screen coverage, will provide the best tactical advantage due to the large amounts of unassuming, quick enemies and their bullets being hurled at your ‘ship’ so regularly and relentlessly. The Chimera craft will mutate from the inconspicuous white fly that it begins life as (the Precambrian Cyber Core stage), into a much larger, more capable Paleozoic Cyber Core flying machine/mutant. Next is the Mesozoic, then ultimately the Cenozoic stage will be reached, and thus the evolution will be complete. The true power of the Cyber Core will be realized, and it only takes three power ups of any one colour to do so. However, should you reach full potential with, say, the Blue variant of Cyber Core, and accidentally pick up a Red icon, your Chimera’s power will be relegated to the third, or Mesozoic Red level.

Seven levels of surprisingly engaging and often tense shooting action will rock your Chimera if not your world. Small, fast moving, bullet spewing insects will give you reason to sweat during the various campaigns, while large, imaginative bosses (often protected by--or vomiting up--small, fast moving, bullet spewing insects) will provide an intense eye hand coordination challenge that should effectively keep even the most hardcore of shooter fans on their toes, if only in spurts.

Cyber Core is very good; it plays well and looks decent, and is not the cakewalk that its placid first level promises. If it lacks anything it is mainly in the visual department, where, as mentioned before, it is competent, but lackluster. Also, even with seven levels, the game seems short, and we find ourselves wanting a more epic, more fleshed out, and more polished package.

Still, Cyber Core provides a refreshing hiatus from shooting interstellar battleships, providing black ants to bomb, worms to eviscerate, and even a big, nasty, yellow-brown flying bug to bother with bullets--just to name a few.

It's a lively, if bland-looking shooter that employs kitsch, catchy tunes and the killer insect gimmick to make for a memorable, entertaining romp among a sea of drowning, forgettable clones.


Masters's avatar
Staff review by Marc Golding (October 27, 2003)

There was a bio here once. It's gone now.

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