SPACE pirates have been pillaging the Federation's storage depot and made off with assorted jewels, minerals, ammunition and the very latest fashions in battle weaponry. It is your task to take a Cybernoid battlecruiser to get the pirates with their plunder. All recovered treasure within a level must be returned to the depot, Fail to return the booty within the allotted time and you will lose one of your six ships. The faster you complete the task, the higher your score - and you will gain an extra ship.
Cybernoid originally appeared on 8 bit micros and was designed by Raffaelle Cecco, author of several earlier and successful games. This conversion for the Amiga has been expertly handled by Tony Cooper.
The game opens with an attractive title screen and a strong theme tune, courtesy of Gary Knight. There are few options. Well, there is only one actually - sound effects on or sound effects off. The game is joystick driven and single player only.
There is an opening feature which I have never seen before. Holding down both mouse buttons while on the credits screen and moving the mouse up or down allows you to position the picture vertically. Saves messing around with your vertical adjustment controls.
Your Cybernoid craft begins its mission in the first chamber of the pirate stronghold. The small, chubby ship moves swiftly and responsively to the joystick. It needs to. Alien craft and a host of defence mechanisms are out to destroy you.
A display at the top of the screen shows the number of Cybernoids remaining, score, value of cargo recovered on the level, the current weapon mode, quantity possessed and maximum allowable, with remaining time available shown as a bar chart.
As well as firing forward, the Cybernoid has additional attack capabilities. Weapon modes are changed by pressing function keys. These give you bombs (for wiping out large defence emplacements), impact mines (seed them strategically so that pirates smack into them), defence shields (giving short-term invincibility), bouncing bombs (blue blobs à la Arkanoid and seekers (homing missiles).
While this range of weaponry does at least give you a reasonable chance of survival against the opposition, it is no easy matter keeping one eye on the screen while trying to pick out the desired key. Fumbling for or stabbing at the top row of your Amiga keyboard is bound to be the order of the day.
When an enemy craft is destroyed it sheds its booty. Flying over the treasure gathers it into your hold. Occasionally a destroyed ship will drop a yellow canister, and this increments the quantity of your currently selected weapon.
Some dropped objects will alter the external characteristics of your Cybernoid, a vital element for the more difficult screens.
I found it a little too tough to play. Timing and speed is all, and if, like me, you have not got either of those in spades, you might well find this game to be the cause of a lot of carpet biting. But then many players like their challenges to come hard.
Cybernoid is great to look at. Colourful and imaginative graphics with smooth animation make it a real treat. One disappointment is that there is no continuous scrolling, vertical or horizontal or when you reach an exit, the screen flicks to the new location. Aurally, too, the game is pretty good - nothing amazing but plenty of appropriate spot effects. While it breaks no new ground, Cybernoid is very handsomely presented with quite superior graphical effects. So give it a whirl.