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Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Marcus Berkmann
Chris Bourne

Phewwwwwwwww ratatatatatatatatatatatatatatat, wheeeeeeeeeeeeee boom! Not that I'm a violent sort by nature, of course. GOT THAT? (Scrunch!) Good. But I do like a good shoot 'em up. It lets me release my more... er... anti-social cravings I mean, hoooooooooooooooooooo blammmmo! If it weren't for a good shoot 'em up now and then, what would we all be doing? Pillaging and plundering and looting like Visgoths, probably. Perpetrating untold acts of unimaginable cruelty and violence certainly. Or at least watcvhing Neighbours.

But society will be a much safer place with Cybernoid II around. This is a really cracking shoot 'em up. Those poor saps who never saw the original Cybernoid (which was to Exolon roughly as a BMW is to a rollerskate) will be saying, "Huh! The old boffer's always saying that! Every game's the bst thing since the toasted tea cake. He's really gone over the top this time. Let's go and buy Ninja Ghostbusters -that's only £1.99" To which I say - PAH!

Of course, by the time you read this, Cybernoid II will be number one in the charts. If you played the prequel, you'll know what to expect: the puzzle-solving megablast that was Cybernoid, but refined further, made harder and with neater graphics than you'll find this side of the 16-bit. You'll need speed of reaction, speed of thought and nimbler fingers than Paul Daniels.

Most readers will of course know this already, as they'll have bought the October ish, read the preview and played the playable demo that appeared on the front cover. (So what are you doing reading this review then? Go on clear off!) But for the few who have missed out and are wondering as ever, what the fuss is all about, here are the wizard extra features that Cybernoid II has in store, with subtitles for the hard of hearing (Eh? Ed)

First your Cyberniod super-spanky blaster ship has a few useful new weapon systems, some of which come ready fitted (you access them by pressing 1 to 5) and others of which you'll pick up along the way. Edge-following bombs are not fans of U2 (as far as I know, that is) but hug the terrain before blowing up whatever's at the other end of the scree. Smart bombs you'll be familiar with from countless other games, and time bombs are even more useful: plant them next to the nasty, leg it and watch from afar as it disintegrates with a wazzy new Defender-type blast.

Your aliens too are a mite more advanced, having learnt perhaps from their mistakes the last time you tangled with them. There are baiter aliens which appear when you have been faffing around on screen far too long. There are armoured emplacements which can only be destroyed when open, and when destroyed suddenly spit out more aliens. Alien waves, before completely predicatble, now alternate on the same screen - nasty, eh? And so on.

So what you're getting, in the end, is a souped-up, all-new-version of the bestest blaster we've seen on the beermat this year. If you went for Cybernoid Un, as the French would say, Deux will be music to your ears. If you didn't, it'll be Shakin Steven's Greatest Hits. The choice, mon ami, c'est a toi!

Lovingly fashioned follow-up to classic shoot 'em up. If all games were this good, I'd be very surprised.


Screenshot Text

As you can see, the final version of C II isn't exactly the same as the demo you played (I think the bits we saw appear later on). So here is screen three, which presents a particularly tricky problem for those of us who find these perfect timing challenges something of a headache. The fact that it's horizontal makes it even harder. On with the shield, methinks...

That's about the only place you can hide, seems to me. Time for a Bounce, I'd say, and watch out for a concealed baller within the frog-faced thing on the right. (There isn't one in there, but watch out for it anyway.)