Combat the crazed cybernetic computer!

Cybercon III logo

Distributor: US Gold Price: £25.99

After years of war, their defenses crumbling, no longer able to utilise the complex weaponry at their disposal, the people of the Union created Cybercon. And boy did they live to regret it! The first Cybercons were man'' saviour, defending the Union against the attacks of the evil Alliance, then advancing to pulverise them. Peace, love, and free local phone calls quickly spread over the whole globe. Delighted children the world over played with Cybercon models and watched Cybercon cartoons. There were even plans for "My Little Cybercon" complete with realistic blood.

After all that, you'd think they would have quit while they were ahead but, fortunately for US Gold, they decided it would be a "neat idea" to create their ultimate nightmare: a computer which could not only think for itself, but which was entirely self-sufficient and equipped with enough weapons to control a Celtic-Rangers match. Cybercon III (The Return) was born. Ho-hum!

In his formative years, Cybie was a well-behaved lad, and his patrolling warbots became a comforting sight to a populace wearied by incessant wars and repeats of old Wogan shows. In time, though, he began to grow up and started to cut off all contact with humans as he learned to fend for himself. Hardly anyone could remember where his control centres were located, and even fewer were bothered.

Of course, the same lethargic populace became rapidly more bothered about Cybie when his silos started spitting out nukes. As their cities began to vapourise around them, humans finally saw the logic in the old proverb: "He who builds dirty great computer and gives it nukes is playing with fire, and will need a lot more than a stitch in time to save his hide".

Cybercon III revolves around humanity's desperate last attempt to avoid annihilation. As Cybie's public relations droids scour the countryside for people to educate in the ways of the next world, the ever-generous Union equips you, its most gullible - er - experienced warrior, with a suit of power armour in which you must battle your way through the vast complex that is Cybercon III.

All you have to do is avoid or neutralise robots, fixed guns, traps, and very deep chasms of the most formidable defensive complex in history, reach its core, and destroy Cybie's brain stem. No sweat.

The complex is made up of a variety of sectors, each of which is defended in different ways and demands a different approach from the aggressor. To proceed, you have to find various Sonic Key codes to open doors, extend walkways over gaping crevasses, and the usual "find you way through the 3D labyrinth" sort of stuff.

Your power suit, which should really be equipped with tactical nuclear weapons, sports a plasma weapon which blips out little purple balls of what looks like chewing gum. The stuff destroys most Walker and Floater droids with ease, but you'll have to use tactics against some of the more dangerous obstacles.

The suit also contains some quite complex controls for auto-repair facilities, and comes complete with such optional extras as sensors, a video camera, shield, and power-assisted jumping. Would Sir care to take her for a spin?

If you're a fan of the Castle Master series, or games such as Interphase and Infestation, you'll enjoy Cybercon III. If not, you'll probably hate it. Movement is slow, the action is hardly frenetic, and for sheer challenge, the puzzles don't compare with the stubborn refusal of the controls to do what you want them to at critical moments.

Perseverance, I suspect, would bring its rewards, as the game is undoubtedly very large and complex. Fans of the type will find a great deal to keep them going. The rest of us, however, will wisely give it a miss.


Cybercon III logo Amiga Format Gold

US GOLD * £24.99 Joystick and keyboard

Using the eleventh-hour analogy, it is now half-past 12 and mankind faces total extinction. This harvest is the direct result of man's international intrigues, world wars and realpolitik. The deadly seed was sown when one superpower entrusted its defence to a computer: Cybercon I. It had weapons of mass destruction, which man believed he'd never dare use, while safely entombed in a bunker.

Cybercon I was cool. Cybercon II - the upgrade version - had no major problems, but Cybercon III was a different story. To out it simply, the silicon went spacky. Somewhere, in its twisted circuitry, a mad intelligence evolved that knew only one enemy: amn. From its mountain base Cybercon III struck out and obliterated all human life. Well, almost all.

In a last ditch attack, a band of survivors have breached the mad machine's defences and entered the bunker. You are the trooper selected for the one-way trip into the heart of Cybercon III. Cause a coronary and man will rise again, get stiffed and it's game over, for us all.

Vital functions
For the attack you are equipped with a load lifting suit that allows you to battle the cyberhordes on equal terms. The exoskeleton Power-Assist (PA) suit not only aids movement, but has a sonic lock-pick, shields, and an array of tools, sensors and a self-repair kit. These functions, combined with your combat and puzzle-solving skills, should be powerful enough to pull the Cybercon-plug.

Cybercon city is a vast underground complex of tunnels, trenches and towers. Colour-coded corridors lead off in four different directions and at the end of each lies part of a sonic key. All the locks in the Cybercon complex are sonically operated. Each note has a different colour symbol (which makes code breaking a visual not aural task) and at the beginning your suit's lock-pick can only bust open the more basic doors, as it only has a few 'notes' in memory.

As you venture deeper into the machine's maze, more 'notes' can be collected, which allow further exploration. The final rooms can only be breached when the special four part key is built. These four parts are scattered in the most dangerous parts of this computer dungeon so, without a map, the entire complex will have to be scoured, room-by-room.

Batteries not included
The PA suit is moved via the joystick, while its functions are engaged through key commands. The suit has five battery slots, which can be used either I part, or in full, to fuel your quest. Without power you are just a sucker in a full metal jacket and energy conservation is the primary concern. The suit can be driven with all its functions shut down or damaged, but when the energy level reaches zero you're stuffed.

Searching for the key components truly tests your understanding of the PA suit. Robot guards have to be avoided or shot, kit must be collected, artifacts have to be scanned and jumps need to be made, while the need for shields is constant. Each attack you make saps power from your suit so you are always forced to kill guards just to drain their batteries. When a guardian is near destruction it throws out power cells which you can collect or drain.

The unfolding story tests each aspect of the suit, and your knowledge of it. Cybercon III lays out the initial parameters of the PA suit, but the emphasis is on you to experiment and learn the hidden benefits of using certain combination of systems, with a certain power load, at any given point. You have to become familiar with the initially daunting array of options and know how to get them up and running fast. Real fast.

Lift off
The 3D used to create this cyber-dungeon is excellent. The sense of scale adds to both atmosphere and gameplay. You can look out of lifts and windows to check out what is inside. The jump facility allows level swapping as the suit not only allows you to leap up with the power assist, but also cushions some pretty hefty falls. This true 3D movement is not only possible, but also necessary, if you are to beat Cybercon III.

The initial problem with Cybercon, though, is the control system. It works well, but to begin with both your way and temper will be lost. You can't just rush straight into the complex and triumph, and unfortunately this limits the game's instant appeal.

The PA suit, though, needs to be complex, as the puzzles and challenges demand a high-level of interactivity. Once you have total control of the suit, then you have the toughness of the game itself to contend with. Namely the limited amount of energy available and the vast number of guardians.

Cybercon III's lair is huge. The gameplay is polished and the world itself would be worth exploring even without the frills. Once the suit is mastered Cybercon becomes a cracking 3D extravaganza that takes polygon adventures to new levels. The PA suit gives real freedom and action, which means the dangers can be truly spectacular.

The increasing hostility of the Cybercon horde, improvements in PA potential and the ability to roam the base puts a hook in. The pace and threat strike further and harder than ever. There's tension in them there polygons.


INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES

Many objects in the Cybercon environment can actually help, either by supplying an item, opening a door, or revealing another sonic key code - if you ask it nicely. To manipulate an item first select the tool mode on the main display and power it up. Then choose the key tool from the secondary menu. On approaching an object - if it can be interrogated (manipulated) - then the icons on/off will flash. Hit F9 and te device will be scanned by your suit to see what 'key notes' activate it.

The ones the suit can identify and use are stored in the three 'note' windows, to the right of the 'note' menu. Your suit will sometimes not have the necessary 'notes' and will just cycle through its available options. If the right combination's found then hit return to transmit the code and sit back.


Cybercon III logo Amiga Joker Hit

Was ist eigentlich das definitive 3D-Vektorgrafik-Game? Vielleicht "Carrier Command"? Oder der gute alte "Starglider II"? Alles Schnee von vorgestern - die Jungs von Assembly Line haben eindrucksvoll bewiesen, dass es noch ein ganzes Stück definitiver geht...

Sicher, von den Programmierern solcher Hits wie "Pipe Mania" oder "Interphase" darf man schon ein bisschen was erwarten, aber was die Truppe hier im Auftrag von U.S. Gold abgeliefert hat, setzt wirklich und wahrhaftig neue Maßstäbe: In Cybercon III wollen rund 400 Räume erkundet werden (die sich auch tatsächlich alle voneinander unterscheiden!). 140 Gegenstände liegen darin verstreut, dann gibt es natürlich zahllose Gegner und Rätsel, eine Unmenge an gesampeltem Sound und - ach, man weiß gar nicht so recht, wo man mit dem Beschreiben anfangen soll! Naja, am besten, wir knöpfen uns als erstes mal die Story vor.

Cybercon III hat nichts mit einen dritten Teil zu tun, sondern ist der Name eines Ultrasuperduper-Computers. Der Maschine was ursprünglich die Aufgabe zugedacht, durch die Kontrolle sämtlicher Waffenvorräte der Erde einen dauerhaften Frieden zu sichern. Aber erstens kommt es anders, und zweitens als man denkt: Irgendwo in diesem hypermodernen Hightech-Kasten war leider eine Schraube locker - das Superding drehte plötzlich durch, ja es entwickelte sogar einen richtiggehenden Verfolgungswahn und machte sich daran, die Menschheit zu vernichten. Schöner Beschützer, kann man da nur sagen...

Der Cybercon-Komplex macht auch im Spiel selbst einen höchst imposanten Eindruck: Er besteht aus gigantischen Hallen, tiefen Aufzugschächten und vielstöckigen Türmen, die durch Laufgänge miteinander verbunden sind. Manche der Ansichten wirken derart realistisch, daß einem davon richtig schwindlig wird! Apropos Realismus: Alle zu sehenden Gegenstände liegen nicht bloß zur Zierde herum, sondern sind auch tatsächlich benutzbar. Eine spezielle Rolle fällt dabei dem "Sonic Key" zu, mit dessen Hilfe sich Aufzüge, Brücken und andere Objekte (nach einem Symbol-System) aktivieren lassen.

Der Schutzanzug wiederum entpuppt sich bei näherem Hinsehen als multifunktionales Verteidigungsinstrument - unter anderem enthält er Feind-Sensoren, Waffen und eine Einrichtung zur Selbstreparatur, falls er beschädigt werden sollte. Die herumdüsenden Abwehrroboter arbeiten (mit Ausnahme des Annihilators) alle automatisch; die Auswahl reicht von ziemlich primitiven Modellen, die nur auf fremde Bewegungen reagieren (den "Cyberwheels" ) bis hin zu ausgesprochen schlauen Exemplaren, die Eindringliche selbständig suchen und verfolgen (den "Engelsrobotern"). Wenn man sie besiegt, hinterlassen sie zum Dank nützliche Extras, wie Zusatzenergie, "Force Field Generatoren" und Schlüsselteile.

Es gäbe noch viel mehr über dieses Game zu erwählen, z.B. gibt es raffinierte Überwachungskameras, mit denen sich das Geschehen an anderen Stillen des Cybercon-Komplexes beobachten lässt und noch etliche Feinheiten mehr. Aber Ihr habt wohl ohnehin längst gemerkt, dass Cybercon III eines der faszinierendsten 3D-Adventures ist, die jemals das fahle Licht eines Computerbildschirms erblickt haben! Die Grafik ist überwältigend realistisch - man kann sich so richtig schön in dem verwirrenden Geflecht von Gängen, Türmen und Hallen verlieren. Darüber hinaus passt die hervorragende Sounduntermalung jederzeit zum Geschehen, und auch die Steuerung lässt kaum Wünsche offen. Der Clou aber sind die geschickt vertilten Knobel- und Ballerelemente - sie sorgen nämlich dafür, dass die Motivation eine kleine Ewigkeit auf Hochtouren läuft!

Wer also auf komplexe Spiele mit spannungsgeladener Atmosphäre steht (und wer tut das nicht?), der liegt bei Cybercon III goldrichtig. Hier warten tolle Grafiken, hervorragender Sound und schier endloser Spielspaß. Anders gesagt: Hier wartet ein echtes Meisterwerk! (Kate Dixon)


Cybercon III logo

The people who brought the sci-fi epic Interphase are back, with more puzzles, more stunning solid 3D - and a computer that wants to control the world!

You'd think that by the 21st century people would have realised that if you build a giant computer and put it in charge of all your defence systems, it's a dead cert that within minutes it'll have gone haywire and taken over the world. But no such luck.

So with a naivety founded upon years of sniffing dodgy test-tubes, the Democratic Union's scientists built a giant computer and put it in charge of all their defence systems. And with painful inevitability it went haywire and took over the world. Ho hum. But, as if that wasn't bad enough, it decided that to be on the safe side it had better kill everybody. So it did. Apart, that is, from you and a resistance-type chums who've decided to save the world by getting inside the computer and blowing it to kingdom come first. Sounds like a tall order. Well, it's a dirty job, but some gullible schmuck's got to do it.

THE HEART OF THE MACHINE
Not much is known about Cybercon III. Except its name, obviously. And the fact that it's buried deep in the heart of Mount Adam and is very heavily defended. Oh, and another thing: there's an entrance on one side of the mountain that the computer's defences don't seem to know about - a sort of 'blind spot'. It might be possible to slip one man in unnoticed. (Guess who).

Fortunately a suit of power armour has been captured from Cybercon III that'll make it a lot safer to explore the complex, so you strap it on, put the finishing touches to your last will and testament and step through the entrance, which closes firmly behind you.

Well, that's the plot. What's the game all about? The screen shots are a bit of a giveaway, to tell the truth. It's pretty clear that we're dealing with a 3D exploration and puzzle-solving game, with the vague possibility of one or two things to shoot.
Your objective is to locate the Brain Stern at the heart of the complex and take it out or, failing that, to shut down the force-field surrounding the complex to make an assault easier. That's going to mean solving some pretty devious puzzles while fighting off the complex range of automatic defences.

ONE SINGLE, COMPLEX ENTITY
There's plenty to gawp at in Cybercon III, its graphics being its most outstanding feature. Not only are they fast and slick, putting Freescape games, like Driller, to shame, but they're also colourful (lighting-up things really seem to glove, while the general decor is very tasteful and atmospheric) and complicated (there are all sorts of strange machines in some places).

After travelling around a bit you'll find that, rather than being split up into distinct rooms, the complex is very much one entity (if you see what I mean). You can look through the door of one room and see whatever lies ahead. And in some really large rooms, sort of 'hallways', you can look around and see for miles in all directions, so agrophobics beware. Some areas also have transparent floors which you can stand on and look into the bits below, sometimes a very long way below - eek! For an even more dramatic effect, try looking out through the door of a lift on the move and watch the scenery whizzing past. One thing's for sure: it'll be a nightmare to map.

There are all sorts of baddies to shoot, too, using your built-in plasma projector or any other weapons you manage to find. There are two main types of nasty: the Cyber-Wheel, which comes in all shapes and sizes and mainly seems to be concerned with maintaining the complex so it isn't too hard to destroy, and the Nemesis, a short-tempered defence droid which is best steered clear of to start with. If you're really cunning you'll find the machines which make these droids and nail the problem at its source. But watch out for the stationary gun turrets which have a habit of lurking round corners and zapping you while your shields are down.


IT MANAGES TO CREATE A VERY CONVINCING "WORLD INSIDE YOUR AMIGA"

A BRAVE NEW WORLD
Cybercon III is state-of-the-art as far as games go, and even if you don't have much luck with the puzzles there's plenty of fun to be had exploring the playing area and taking out robots.

The 3D is certainly some of the best we've seen - bright, colourful and smooth - and it certainly manages to create a very convincing 'world inside your Amiga' (which seems to me to be a lot more fun than the one outside it). Just be careful you don't get sucked into some kind of weird time-warp and get trapped inside it. The real world might be less fun, but you don't get shot at as much.


STRANGE WORDS WITH THE BOYS AT THE ASSEMBLY LINE

Top programmers The Assembly Line are the team responsible for a long line of critically acclaimed Amiga games, including Pipe Mania, Interphase, E-Motion, Vaxine and Exterminator. With Cybercon III it looks like the boys are set for another hit, so Stuart tracked them down to a country mansion in a forest near Bristol and asked, nay, demanded that they answer a few taxing questions about polygons or (indeed) programming in general. A bit of a blow. Instead then, here's what he managed to come up with...

STUART: So, why are you called 'The Assembly Line'? It hardly seems appropriate given all the different sorts of game you've produced.

JOHN DALE: Well, the alternative was 'Hand Cranked Software', so I think the reason is obvious.

STUART: With your impeccable track record, have you thought making the break from just programming and moving into publishing for yourselves, like, say, the Bitmap Bros or The Sales Curve?

ANDY BEVERIDGE: No, we're fine as we are. Now that we've got a few hits as a team under our belts, we're getting a very fair deal from outside publishers. We don't need the extra hassle.

STUART: Well, that's enough of the techie stuff. Who's your favourite member of the Sugarcubes?

ADRIAN STEPHENS: I think for me it has to be that cute girl singer, what's her name?
JOHN: Yes, it's Bjork for me too. I think it's the cardigans.

STUART: If you were offered five million pounds in cash, on the understanding that if you accepted you would cause a Chinaman somewhere in China to fall off his bicycle and die, would you take the money?

ADRIAN: Oh yes.
ANDY: Yep. I think most people would.
RICARDO PINTO: Yes, but I'd use the money to set up a benefit fund for Chinese widows.
JOHN: Mm, I'd donate at least a tenner to that.

STUART: How would you replace the Poll Tax>

ADRIAN: Well, whatever it is has to be means-tested in some way. I think a local income tax is probably the best bet.
RICARDO: I agree. I don't have any problem with people with more money contributing more to the running of the community.
JOHN: Local income tax is fair and collectable, but if could prove to be something of an administrative nightmare unless you control from central government, which rather defeats the objects of the exercise.
ANDY: Actually, I thought the old rates were fine.

STUART: Do you think the CIA were implicated in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy?

JOHN: Undoubtedly.
ANDY: Absolutely.
ADRIAN: Definitely.
RICARDO: Yes.

STUART: Who's the best psychologist, Pavlov or Jung?

JOHN: It has to be Jung, some of the experiments Pavlov did on dogs with hormones and rubber tubing were quite despicable.
ADRIAN: Jung, because I don't like meringues.

STUART: Finally, as a whole, do you think we should run any more interviews like this, or do you think we should do sensible ones?

ASSEMBLY LINE: Well, it made a nice change, but I doubt if it'll catch on...

ASSEMBLY LINE: It's a pleasure.

Cybercon III: User Interface explained
  1. Icon Strip: This thing across the top there that we've blown up big so you can see it better. Depending on what eise you've got activated, this'll either show your inventory (you can carry up to 16 objects at once) or the sonic key codes that you you have at your disposal. This pretty useless looking mess of shapes is in fact your sonice key codes - check out the annotations over on the other side for how these work.
  2. Camera Display: Shows the picture from whichever camera is currently selected (if you've got any).
  3. Gyrocompass: This shows which way you're pointing (in case you get a bit confused).
  4. Energy Cells: This section displays the energy level of your main power cell and those of any back up cells you may be carrying. You can also switch cells on and off here. The more cells you have switched in at once the better the AP will respond to the controls.
  5. If you're planning on going through any locked doors, using lifts or activating cameras, consoles or other important objects you'll need a sonic key. It's a bit like one of those things they have on Renault adverts for unlocking their cars, only awhole lot more sophisticated. For a start it's programmable - load it with up to three of the symbols in your icon strip, point it at a door and (if the code's right) the door will open. Alternatively, point it at something and press the 'interrogate' button and it'll try to extract the code for you. (Nicking a Renault in the 21st century would be a doddle). You only start out with a few symbols and have to collect more as you go on.
    Sonic Key Status: This bit's where you load codes into the key and where codes appear when you interrogate something.
  6. Secondary System Display: Slightly complicated, this. It's got three modes which you can cycle between: Weapon Selection (where you can choose between three weapons or the sonic key), Camera Selection (where you pick the camera to be displayed) and Camera Movement (which lets you wiggle the cameras about and zoom them in and out).
  7. Primary Management System: Here's where you switch on and off the PA's five main systems (Power Assist, Shields, Weapons, Auto Repair and Surveillance), monitor their energy levels and so on. If you start running low on energy it might be a good idea to shut down any non-essentials until you get a bit more healthy.

THE WORLD WITH CYBERCON III IN CHARGE
  • Everyone's got to be in bed 8.00.
  • The poll tax has been brought back (and doubled).
  • You're not allowed to have long hair (even if you're a girl).
  • There's no: white bread, soft loo paper Sunday colour supplements.
  • Neighbours is only on once a day (at lunchtime when everyone's at work).
  • The only ice-cream you can get is vanilla.
  • Everyone's on the Reader's Digest mailing list twice.
As you can probably see, something needs to be done. (And fast.)

Cybercon III logo CU Amiga Superstar

Peace. That's what they hoped for when the nation's defences were put under the control of the world's most sophisticated computer brain, Cybercon III. What they actually got was death, destruction and dismemberment. Unluckily, the defence system to end all defence systems went totally mad, directed its powerful arsenal against the world's population centres and left only a small band of valiant survivors alive.

Now you're the planet's great white hope. Armed with nothing but your all-purpose reinforced power suit you've got to negotiate the 400 room complex, battle against the automated robot defence systems and fine the four components of the Master Key that gives access to Cybercon's brain. That's if Cybercon's secret weapon, The Annihilator, a hyper intelligent controlled by the mega-brain itself, doesn't find you first.

The Cybercon complex is a huge, rambling affair, complete with giant chambers, deep lift shafts and multi-storey towers connected by matchstick walkways high above the ground. It's a highly impressive , genuinely interactive virtual reality - all the objects and robots are totally integrated and some of the views are realistic enough to give you vertigo.

Your power armour comes with a comprehensive range of instruments including enemy sensors, cannon and a self-repair kit. Additional goodies like force field generators, power cells and key components are left behind by damaged droids. Lifts and tools are operated using a coded symbol system called the sonic key.

It all adds up to one of the most sophisticated 3D adventures you're ever likely to see: hours of involved exploration, blasting and problem-solving with the tense one-on-one confrontation between you and the Annihilator to give it that extra edge. If you're after the definitive 3D experience, this is where to find it.


WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE
Cybercon III's graphics are probably the most advanced of their genre. The Assembly Line have managed to incorporate cylinders and circles within their 3D environment, and where Jez San and Argonaut have tried in the past, the Line's are more advanced and faster in their update. In addition, they are more detailed than most games of the genre, and this is particularly noticeable as you progress further into the game. Similarly, the game's action sequences aren't let down by the loss of speed normally associated with this game type, rounding off one of the best 3D experiences.
RICARDO PINTO Having worked for a few years as designer and project manager for various games at Telecomsoft and Realtime, Cybercon III's designer, Ricardo Pinto, gave up the computer business in favour of writing a novel and planning a board game. He was coaxed back on a visit to The Assembly Line when he managed to convince programmer Andy Beveridge that his designs for Cybercon III looked more like a conference centre than the home of a mega-brain. Oddly enough, Ricardo doesn't enjoy games that much. 'I prefer creating worlds for other people to explore.'