Cybot (Database Publications) Review | Everygamegoing - Everygamegoing

Cybot (Database Publications)

By Database Publications

BBC Model B


Review By Dave E

Published in EGG #008: BBC Micro



According to Everygamegoing, there are currently 7,676 individual games for the BBC Model B and, although I haven't played all of them, I am vaguely aware of the existence of most of them. Cybot however had passed completely beneath my radar, probably because it's a public domain game that featured only on the disc that was sent to subscribers of The Micro User magazine.

The concept of the game is frightening simple. You have control of a cute green robot, and you must collect all of the globes from each of four levels. You move left and right, bouncing around the platforms, avoiding the odd patrolling monkey and finally escaping through a portal when you've collected all the globes. You have nine lives to complete all four levels.

Each of the levels is set to some bouncy music and, taking full advantage of the disk-based Beeb, there's even a bit of sampled speech thrown in for good measure.

The game itself, well, it's a bit clunky to be honest. The first mechanic to which you have to get used is the 'teleport' functionality. You see, when each level starts, you are dropped at the extreme left of the level. You then have to scoot constantly to the right, finding and collecting all of those globes. If you collide with a monkey, or you fall into a hole, or off the bottom of the screen for some other reason, then your bot gets picked up, taken to the top of the screen and transported *all the way back to the extreme left*. Levels are long, and the scrolling is super-fast, which means it's a bit hard to gauge how far you've travelled as you're playing the thing. If you press key P at any point however, your position will be 'remembered', and if you get killed, you'll only be returned to that position, rather than the whole way back to the beginning.

This is an interesting idea, and it certainly alleviates the frustration of having to start from scratch after every wrong move, but it never quite works. The speed of the game means you practically have to hammer P every couple of seconds to not always be returned at least three or so screens 'back'. And if you forget to re-press P, you are returned to the very beginning.

What's more, the screens themselves are illogical - you can follow a path which burrows into a sheer cliff only to find that what looks like a dead end is instead treated as a 'platform' from which you can fall off the end.

I can't think of many games to compare Cybot with. It's sort of a robotic version of Hobgoblin but not as polished in many ways. The only controls are left, right, jump and remember position, with the only elements to tax the brain being how to jump from one platform to another safely, and how best not to "fall through" the level's scenery.

If you're after a fairly simple run and jump game I suppose you could do a lot worse.

The Micro User 12.01 (BBC Model B)