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Robert T. Smith
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K

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David McCandless
Chris Bourne

Is there life after death? Is the C5 truly groovy? Well much as I'd like to engage in such amazingly existential topics, the real questions I gotta ask are these: is this a platform game, a shoot 'em up or just a sheer load of tripe?

Who knows, maybe Cyberknights is all three. Trouble is this kind of stuff died out with the dinosaurs. I mean I know we all wowed over the junk coming out in 1982 (there wasn't anything else), but that's no reason to thrust abysmal graphics in our faces these days - not for eight whole spondoolics anyway!

The game is a battle against either 10 of the computers own Cyberknights, or another player in addition to the computer. Its played in a maze of unimaginative passages. groovy anti-gravity channels, life-sapping drops and other useless features. And basically you must sit down and destroy your megaplas and metal chums. Simple, innit? Actually no, 'cause even if you do have a whole arsenal of killing gear to choose from, there's never enough time to get to the keyboard before the life is blasted out of you. To win this one you gotta be devious - or just run for your life!

Some Structures are impervious to your lasers, but with others you can just sit around shooting through walls and floors - not that this always works 'cause they can do the same, natch. Actually, the best way I found (except with the bug-like efforts on the second level) was to superimpose yourself and blast. It's hard on the joystick fingers, but at least it's somewhat effective.

Collect all the moneybags dotted around and destroy the enemy and you're promoted to the next level. This means lots of credits for the design program, but not much by way of points. Not only that, but once at the higher level that's where you stay until you reload (masochist)

That design-a-bot program I mentioned, on the flip-side of the cassette, allows you to play Frankenstein and create your own Cyberknights or modify existing ones. That's where the credits come in. Design a new Cyberthingy and you've only got 500 credits to play with, but as you win more battles they go up, so you you can re-load a Cyberknight saved from the combat program and add bits. Perversely, a friend of mine (You have friends? Ed), often favours the design stages of games, so this will suit him to the ground. But personally, I have better ways of to occupy my time than playing a few bouts of Cyberknights, my own designs or not.

I truly hate saying "I told you so," but if you want to pay 1988 prices for a 1982-style game, be my guest.

A lousy shoot 'em up-platform that lets you design your own Cyber-wotsit, but you'll probably bin this one long before.