Known as Assault Suits Valken on the Super Famicom. Cybernator, on the surface, looks like your average Mech warrior run and gun but to be honest its not, delve a little deeper and you will find complex gameplay with RPG elements.
Unlike a lot of gun and runs (I’m talking to you Metal Slug) this game has a learning curve that is not too steep as not to put off your average SNES gamer but not too gentle as to annoy your seasoned pro and by the time you get to the later levels you had better have learned something or your measly 3 continues will not last the grind. You get a HP meter but no lives so as I said guard your continues with all your might. Calling your life bar your HP meter is apt in this game (which wouldn’t be in most of these shoot’em’ups) because you can level up your character (to a degree). When you start your game your Mech will seem slow and sluggish with one fairly weak gun and a punch (which you will find quite pointless right now) but as you progress and use these weapons more and more they will become more powerful (the punch will come in handy as you get stronger) you will also find new weapons to play with (read: the Japanese staple weapon, the beam gun). Now I am calling this game a gun and run which to be honest is not wholly accurate. there are stages where your perspective will be more akin to the R-type or Parodius series and when a game made back in ’93 can do both those things it starts to become very special indeed.
The sound in this game is great. It’s uplifting and triumphant one minute then dark and unsettling the next. The Graphics are great, from what I can gather your character is made up of a number of sprites so the level of animation is superb. One minor point I will say is that some of the larger explosions are very pixelated as if the designers had just increased the size of the smaller ones. This is a minor niggle but one I feel needs to be addressed. Which kinda brings me the the crutch (I said crutch not crotch please stop sniggering) of this game, although highly playable and very enjoyable, silly little things stop this game from being a classic and are probably the main reason this game gets overlooked. The pixelated explosions and the god awful text that, at points, pause your game to tell you about some alien attack that is quite obvious as YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF IT! Why does it feel the need to interrupt your gameplay like that? the story, while not terrible and well interpreted, is nothing special, (Does that mean there is a Hollywood movie coming out about it? something like – Assault Cybernator – To defeat the enemy you must become the enemy, starring Jack Black as our hero “Hey man you may be cool enough to shoot at me but you aint cool enuff to know about how we kids can ROCK!”… excuse me – Ed).
To conclude, this game may not be a must for everyone’s gaming shelf but with gameplay that can mix it up like this can and featuring what I remember as having the first playable set pieces (please let me know if you can think of earlier ones in the comments below) it is a solid title for the SNES and if you like to shoot, punch and fly, and Mechs sound like an interesting sideline I wholly recommend this game and that’s why I would like to give this game 4 out of 5 stars… but I wont because of the god-damn story interrupting your gameplay all the time! There is a point where it stops you from what you are doing to tell you “…beware of the ‘roids”… wtf? is that appropriate right now? It may be valid advice but not in the middle of walking over tiny humans whilst shooting the hell out of a giant rail gun, I mean come on! And that’s why I give this (good, but with flaws) game 3 out of 5 stars.
Now available for the virtual console for 800 Wii Points