#220 Cybernator

Posted: 14th September 2019 by Jeroen in Games
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814th played so far

Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up
Platform: SNES
Year of Release: 1992
Developer: NCS Corp
Publisher: Konami

As I don’t have much of an interest in shooters, I have a bunch of series that I clearly messed out on. Assault Suits, which this is a part of (Cybernator being the international title) is a mech shooter series that seems to have been popular enough for a while. For me, what I wonder is whether we get something to grab on to here.

Our Thoughts

Cybernator is a decent shooter. It looks decent, obviously limited by the SNES’s restrictions, but there’s some quite good about the gritty, mech-based graphics. They work well and give you that feeling of a dystopian future where you’re in a mined asteroid or something like that. It adds some decent storytelling to that, with small conversations during the level as you’re updated on what’s going on. For once, I felt like I could get the story of the game without looking at the manual, something games struggle with at the time. It made all the difference in keeping me interested.

In other places, the game still struggles. It wants to be a twin stick shooter, separating movement from your firing direction, but that’s not really possible on the SNES controller. Instead, you need to use the same d-pad for aiming and moving. You can freeze the direction of your shots if you want to – the game even lags changing its direction so you can fine tune it – but that means movement is always on going, rather than letting you aim. It feels off and it takes a while to get used to those controls – mostly I started ignoring enemies to help with that.

The good thing is that that’s fine – you don’t need to kill everything and I felt running past was often a good option, especially as I could time it to avoid taking damage. When adding the movement option, allowing dashing and short flight, maneuverability becomes important and it pays off – the shooting issues from before making that more difficult, but the options are there, and the fact that the game starts playing with gravity in the first levels adds to that feeling of motion, especially vertically.

Final Thoughts

Cybernator has some unavoidable control issues, but overall it remained quite playable – it felt tough but fair and I felt like I was proceeding and getting further as time went on. It’s dated, but it feels fair to judge it in the context of its era and even now it feels like it’s on the good side of all of that.