Monday, April 1, 2013

Cybernator in briefly

at 1:52 PM
As every year, I'm taking off on this special holiday....

April Foollllls!!!! Is the holiday to which I was referring.

APril FOOL AGAIN!!!! I meant the day after Easter. Who's the fool now? You're pretty fuckin' gullible. Did you actually think your mom was dead last year when I told you she had cancer? I just locked her in the closet, waiting for you to figure it out. Go check! Oh, she's been in there for a year without food and now she's a skeleton? skeleton + closet = jokez

To keep things around here alive while I relax on the couch with a submarine-sandwich-shaped sandwich, let me enjoy you with a story about a game I call Cybernator. If I was released in Japan, I'd know the game as Assault Suits Valken, the second of five games in the Assault Suits series. Each game was released on a different platform (Genesis, SNES, Saturn, PSX, and PS2), and only the first two made it to the West, without their Assault Suits moniker or any relation. The first, Genesis' Assault Suits Leynos/Target Earth is pretty terrible as far as I've played. It feels like a lazy Contra-inspired Mobile Suit Gundam cash-in. Swap out the army dudes for giant robots, but oh yeah, don't bother to make the sprites big or translate that into control or anything. You be the judge, jury, and execution:

Maybe it's just because of the stark contrast with Cybernator, but Target Earth looks decidedly... low-budget. In its defense, it was a 1990 Genesis game, meaning the tech was limited and the devs were inexperienced. For point of contrast, check out what Cybernator looked like in 1992 on the SNES:

First of all, I love that player sprite. It doesn't get much better than that. Look at all those moving parts! The backgrounds are certainly on the static side, but at least they're layered. If Konami had bothered to implement parallax, this would be one of the SNES' prettiest games. Nonetheless, the huge sprites (befitting of a giant mech game) almost make up for it. There's plenty to look at. These days, criticism of grey/brown color schemes runs amok like a Muk, but in 1992 not every game was a near-future military shooter. Sure, scifi robots weren't anything new, but the palette of Cybernator matches the content, which is what matters, probably.

The mainest thing I like about this game is the control. Cyber-Nate, as I assume the main character/bot is called, plays with a hulking weight that makes every move feel deliberate, every massive stomp, reload, or boost taking a noticeable amount of time to execute. It's not simply push right to go right, but it's also not Steel Battalion. The SNES only has six buttons, after all. Also, the mech can aim in sixteen directions instead of eight! That's just plain neat.
You know Steel Battalion, right? The mech game which could ONLY be controlled with this hilarious hardware?
Wait remember what I said about being off today? Yeah I better go play Cybernator instead of wasting time talking about it. You'll be sorry!


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