Thursday, July 1, 2021

Cybercon III: Fighting Skynet...I mean Cybercon

Its been a while since I played a game that I expected multiple entries out of. Banging out an entry a game is nice from a completionist view, but I came to this seeking games I could seek my teeth into. Cybercon III looks to be a title of that caliber. The story is Terminator meets Starship Troopers. A giant computer called Cybercon has gone rogue, robots killing everything, and the player in a suit of power armor, is the only one who can stop him. There's some fancy description in the manual about this stuff, but its mostly Heinlein-knockoff, with Skynet thrown in. Except that Cybercon isn't controlling some of the enemies in-game, that's just the defense grid, which is a different machine. Makes sense if they're both closed off to the outside world.

The loading screen is promising something I know the game won't give. This is a Galactic Empire-style title, except I assume the game has less difficult puzzles. The manual helpfully tells me that the controls are obtuse. F10 to jump, except if you're moving forward, then joystick fire. The <> keys for scrolling through icons, and absolutely none of the letter keys.
The Amiga version proves unplayable. Not in the difficult sense, but in the sense that the game is impossible to progress in. The game's copy protection is a codewheel, but would you believe it, the game's crack doesn't actually work? Shame, because it works much better than the DOS version.
Controlling in the DOS version is much worse, movement is with the QA and OP keys, but at least you can actually play the game. So far it isn't good, but it works, which is what's important. I vaguely understand the controls, but I am not able to tell you how they work yet. You have the code system, which is the copy protection system, I guess, and a weapon system. These switch, because when you have weapons, you can throw items, but when you have the copy protection, you input a code. Then you activate that code with enter, or just fire.
My first impressions of movement is that moving is slow, but turning is way, way too fast. Going left or right for a second causes you to make a 360 degree turn. This has screwed me in a few combats, but I'm not worried yet. What has me worried is that the game is not a responsive one.
Also, in order to get sound, you have to run the game executeable with -adlib afterward. Its not very good sound, but its necessary. Because the first time I played the DOS version I got killed. Speaking of which, weapons seem to be completely useless. I have a gun, I fire at something, it fires back, and I die. I expected a stiff learning curve, but I expected to be able to kill something first. Plus, the gun keeps switching back to the code system. I think it might be because I use home as a screenshot key. That's just great.
There are two kinds of threats, the moving enemies and the more "scenery" enemies. The moving ones are a more obvious threat, but they can be killed and they seem to wander off. The stationary ones are less obvious of a threat, but so far elude my efforts at killing them. The hovercraft drop balls, of which I start with one, but its purpose is as engimatic as everything else is.
The save system, which the manual cleverly says is just like those 20th century video games, is accessed by communication terminals. I should point out that I haven't seen any yet. That's okay so far, since I'm still learning the ropes, but if the situation requires that I use more saves than the game gives me, I'll switch to the Atari ST version. Assuming that works. Its not really a mystery as to the lack of popularity of pre-Wolfenstein FPS titles anymore.
Currently, I have no idea my forward objective, besides destroying Cybercon. I have an option that interacts with things nearby, but so far it hasn't worked on anything I've tried it on. I haven't really tried jumping or interrogating things, so those might prove to be the key forward. I've found a place I should be able to raise a bridge, as well as a place that gives a series of codes. None of these are very helpful at the moment, but I'm gradually filling in a picture of the level. This game is extremely dense and figuring things out on my own strikes me as something that's going to be extremely difficult. Its worth mentioning that one site whose opinion I trust described this as a puzzle game, and it wouldn't be the first time that described a pre-Wolfenstein 3D game this well.

This Session: 40 minutes

No comments:

Post a Comment