Reviews Archive
             
  Cybernoid  
   
 
 
 
  Graphics  
             
  Spectrum
 
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  Amstrad
 
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  C64
 
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  NES
 
  Detail  
 

Spectrum - The base detail here is pretty high, probably the highest out of all versions, with particularly good textures for the biological themed areas as well as loads of detail apparent in the pipe sections, the resolution generally seems to be noticeably better than both of the other computer versions.

Some things which need to be mentioned though, are that a handful of screens are a little more sparse in respect to environment elements compared to the C64 version (check out the plants on the 3rd picture along) and a few of the enemies are less impressive in comparison to the redesigned ones of the C64 port (2nd picture). Lastly the shading tends to look a little cruder than in the Amstrad and C64 versions (the pipes for example).

After taking into account that the C64 extras only effect a handful of screens, whilst the Spectrum's superior biological textures are pretty much always apparent, I'm going with the Spectrum version as having the best detail (though it's extremely close between the Spectrum, Amstrad and C64 as they all have their strengths and weaknesses in this area)

Amstrad - Pretty good detail. Not quite as good as it is in the Spectrum version but the difference isn't massive.

The biological textures are not as well defined as those of the Spectrum original but still look fairly good, the bolas power-up is also much less detailed, now appearing simply as a smooth sphere, the pipes also have a little less detail (they do, however have better shading though). Lastly, the resolution looks a little lower.

C64 - The base level detail of the graphics here is not quite as good as it is in the Spectrum or Amstrad versions, and the resolution is lower than in the Spectrum game, but the shading to my eyes looks better here than in any of the other versions, and a few of the screens have extra little elements (such as the plants in the 3rd screenshot) added to them.

Something that's always given me a minor annoyance is the fact that the end of level pad doesn't automatically centralize you like it does in the other versions, a minor detail admittedly but something I wanted to mention.

NES - For the most part it looks as though the developers for the Nintendo version of Cybernoid were using the C64 version as their point of reference so here again we get bigger redesigned enemies and the less detailed pipes.

Unfortunately everything seems to have lost something in the transition, the pipes are now even less detailed than on the C64, the shading is worse and the biological textures look cruder with a repeating tile pattern with more noticeable joins.

 
   
  Winner Is: Spectrum  
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  Colour  
 

Spectrum - The biological texture I keep talking about has some great colour use, this is the only instance between versions where two colours are being used and they both blend together very well. Colour clash is virtually non existent here as the game was designed around the Spectrum's limitations from the outset with backgrounds that are always black

On the other side however is that the main player sprite, and enemies are monochrome (to avoid colour clash) making this look a little more basic than the sprites of the other versions. The yellow piping sections I feel stand out too much in contrast to the rest of the levels, creating a slightly more garish look to the graphics.

Amstrad - This version has very colourful graphics, and, in my opinion uses better suited colour choices that don't clash as much as the Spectrum version, the enemies and main sprites also use a lot more colours here

The Biological textures are in my opinion not as good as those in the Spectrum version but are still not bad. Overall I think the colour use is better, more varied, and more consistent in this version than on the Spectrum.

C64 - I've been going back and forth between this and the Amstrad version in an attempt to work out which has the better colour use and it's a pretty impossible task, my problem is that the two games have such different looks, and styles to them that it's hard to directly compare the two. The C64 version is very conservative in it's colour use and as such it has more of a serious look to it, whereas the Amstrad version is much more colourful and has a more cartoony look, This makes the decision more of a choice of personal preference.

Being forced into making a decision I'm going to go for the C64 version as having the best use of colour, as in my opinion a more serious look suits the game theme better.

NES - The colour use on the Nintendo looks similar to the C64 version for the most part and so in this area doesn't really stand out from the other versions much. I would say I slightly prefer the C64 version though as its a little more subdued than this version which is using just slightly over strong colours in my opinion.

 
   
  Winner Is: C64  
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  Animation  
 

Spectrum - The Animation is pretty good on the enemies, and there's some moving environmental sections which are a pretty nice touch.

Amstrad - Definitely worse animation than the other versions. Most of the enemy animations are now completely absent, with some just having their animation replaced with colour flashing sections.

C64 - Good animation on enemies and environments, and in this case your main gun is also animated too,

The only minor thing I would say is that the volcanoes in this version definitely look at lot less impressive here than in other versions, but taking into account that this only effects a handful of screens, the main gun being animated just about pushes it past the other versions in this area

NES - The animations in the NES version are pretty good and can easily hold their own against the Spectrum and C64 versions, I would've put them about on par with the Spectrum if not for one important element, the death animation on the Nintendo is particularly crude and pathetic in comparison to the Spectrum version's multiple explosions effect.

The volcanoes are animated better here than in the C64 but poor colour choices (the flying rocks are now bright blue) and less detail lower the general look of them.

 
   
  Winner Is: C64  
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  Scrolling  
 

Cybernoid is a flick screen game so none of the ports have any scrolling.

 
   
  Winner Is: Draw  
 
 
  Sound  
     
  Music  
 

Spectrum - The original Spectrum version's music is very good, it's a cool tune but in my opinion doesn't fit the game's theme quite as well as the C64's music, its still excellent though.

Amstrad - The Amstrad version uses the same music as the Spectrum's.

C64 - The Commodore port had it's own tune specifically made for it, and what a good job was made too! Few would argue that Cybernoid's in-game tune is actually one of the C64 sound chip's defining moments, it aims for a more over the top and epic sound, and fits very well with the game.

NES - Like the C64 game, this version's main track is also a new tune, however this time the change is for the worse as what we have here is easily the worst of the three compositions. Its quite basic and repetitive and unlike the tracks of the other versions just doesn't really do anything to elevate the game.

 
   
  Winner Is: C64  
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  Sound FX  
 

Spectrum - The sound effects are pretty good, nothing special but they do the job pretty well.

Amstrad - The same as the Spectrum version's.

C64 - The main thing which needs to be brought up here is that in the C64 version you cannot have both music and sound effects playing simultaneously, you have to choose one or the other before you begin the game. Whilst the C64's sound effects are pretty good in themselves, I've decided that due to the fact that most people will choose music (meaning no in-game sound effects) to deduct points in this area.

NES - This version's sound effects are a little on the crude side but are certainly not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, they do their job.

 
   
  Winner Is: Spectrum and Amstrad  
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Gameplay

Spectrum - Cybernoid is a frenetic shooter with a very high emphasis on strategy, it basically has you negotiating through what is, for all intents and purposes an assault course of death.

Like all good shmups you can acquire power-ups as you go which help you to decimate the enemies, there's a rear firing gun, and a bolas which circles you, even more important though are the five weapon types which you start the game with.

Each of these initial weapons are useful in certain situations, and to be able to play Cybernoid it is paramount to understand and use each weapon to it's full capacity, you've got a screen of enemies? use the bounce shot to give you cover, an enemy on the far side of the screen firing bullets? go for the homing search weapon. This brings a level of strategy to the game that was not commonly seen in other shmups of the time and really helps to give it more identity.

Lastly when shot, enemies drop cargo, and each level gives you a quota of it to collect.

Amstrad - The Amstrad version plays very faithfully to the Spectrum version, the only points against it in this area are that it has more slowdown, and there's an issue with the colour of your bounce bullets, now they are the same colour as some of your enemies bullets which makes it harder to distinguish between which bullets are safe and which are dangerous.

C64 - Firstly I'd like to point out that this port of Cybernoid controls faster than the other versions, which in my opinion helps to make it a more action packed and fun experience, this also means that getting past gun emplacements is now less of a hassle. Secondly in the Commodore version you can actually pick up two protective bolas weapons circling you instead of the one you are limited to in other versions (great addition).

There is one relatively noteworthy flaw with the Commodore version though, for some reason the amount of time allocated to you for each screen is now a lot less, which makes collecting the required amount of cargo much harder, and in truth not really even worth trying, you're better off just blazing through the screens.

NES - To be quite frank I don't feel that the programmers of the Nintendo version of Cybernoid had enough of an understanding of how the game works to do it justice.

Whilst a beginner can expect to find Cybernoid frustrating, once you acquire a proficiency at changing secondary weapons you can start to take control of the screens with a certain level of confidence, this never really happens with the NES version, you could play it for all eternity but still consistently take cheap hits in certain screens.

There are a few good points though, the double protective weapon from the C64 version is here, and having access to a controller with more buttons allows you to change secondary weapons much easier.

Winner is: C64
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Presentation

Spectrum, C64, Amstrad - Menu screen with a pretty nice scrolling border effect.

NES - The menu screen has some little diagrams which show the technical specifications of the ship, and a game over screen with a mad looking women looking at you. Based on these two elements and the fact that the NES version already lost points for it's lack of music in that specific section I'm going to call a win here for the NES.

Winner is: NES
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  Misc  
 

The NES version starts you off with more lives than the other versions, giving you 9 from the beginning. The increased cheapness of the game makes short work of these extra lives though.

The NES version replaces the Mine power-up with a weapon which destroys all enemies on screen.

The NES version gives you 3 different levels of difficulty, most people would have trouble with the gameplay even on easy though which makes the other difficulty levels a bit pointless.
 
   
     
  Conclusion  
 

Firstly, the NES version never really had a chance in this comparison, it is inferior to the three computer versions in multiple areas and was obviously a bit of a rush job. Instead of the developers going to town on improving the graphics and using the most of the NES' hardware, resulting in a superior experience, they've delivered similar graphics with inconsistent use of animation, and most importantly compromised gameplay.

This has been a cool comparison to do in respects to the computer versions as I find it interesting to look at different versions of a game when it's clear that all of them have had a certain level of care and attention at the development stage for their particular format. All the computer versions do their format proud here and have their own strengths, but the added speed to the C64 version I feel coupled with the excellent music pushes this version a little ahead of the others.

 
  Overall winner is: C64  
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