Cyborg Warriors

Author: Dave E
Publisher: Superior/Acornsoft
Machine: BBC/Electron

Published in EGG #013: Acorn Electron

Cyborg Warriors

Um, what's with the pluralised title, guys? There's one cyborg with a gun. That's a cyborg warrior - singular - where I come from. Mind you, the title is about the only thing that this sideways-scrolling shoot-'em-up does actually get wrong. It's the Electron's answer to R-Type... and it's just as mean as that classic, whilst not being quite as difficult.

The action takes place in a 16:9 aspect ratio window, about half the size of the Electron's full-screen, and literally as soon as you press Space to start the game, you're thrust deep into it. The oncoming aliens are relentless, taking many hits before actually exploding into nothingness. The best strategy, initially anyway, is to hug the very left hand side of the screen, with your finger permanently on the Fire key. Even then, it's a tall order to wipe out absolutely everything before it collides with our gun-toting, free-floating spaceman dude.

With games like these, there's no real plot, and the only real reason to play them is to see how far you can get. A friend of mine once said a good shoot-'em-up is like sitting a multi-faceted reaction test, and I suppose if one tiny bullet can wipe out the entirety of your ship and all the weapons you've thus far collected (a la R-Type), that's a fair point. Cyborg Warriors is a bit of a different beast though because you appear to be the only entity in it that can actually fire bullets. The enemies you encounter, ranging from elongated diamonds to rather ferocious-looking crab-things (at the end of each level), stream towards you right-to-left. If you can't avoid them, you end up exploding into pieces and losing a life. If you can avoid them then they sail past, although don't pat yourself on the back just yet because sometimes they take one final swipe at you just before they scroll off screen-left. The swines!

The scrolling landscape attempts to do something I haven't seen very often on the Electron - parallax scrolling (the background scrolling at two different speeds). What's more, it actually succeeds in pulling it off. With the scroll come bad guys (obviously) but also tokens which, when collected, improve either your health, your weapon, your score or all three. What is a bit puzzling is that, when you do collect a weapon it doesn't immediately come into play. Instead you have to drift all the way over to the left and then use the Shift key to toggle it on. The keys for left and right work, but Shift and Z are a strange combination considering practically every other game in the Electron's catalogue uses Z and X.

Despite these quirks though, and though I personally would have preferred a multi-load game with a different selection of minions to fight plus a different Big Boss at the end of each level, you won't find much to criticise here. All the action takes place without even a degree of fluxuation, even when the whole playing area is teeming with enemy life.

Released at the very end of the Electron's shelf-life, and buried away on one of the very last Play It Again Sam compilations (Sam 15, fact fans!), Cyborg Warriors came too late for many to see but has enough intricate battle patterns and variety to keep all shoot-'em-up fans happy for at least one or two days. Expect to pay around £16+ for this one though - it comes bundled with Last Ninja 2, Ricochet and The Network, making a very nice selection of games indeed.

Dave E

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