Under the Microscope: Cyborg

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Launched at the 2017 Wakefield RISC OS Show, Cyborg from Amcog Games is an arcade action game that has taken inspiration from games like the 1983 BBC Micro classc Cybertron.

It’s presented in 16 millions colours and is written using Amcog’s very own AMCOG Development Kit – which is also available for purchase.

The game itself involves you, a Cyborg treasure hunter, attempting to penetrate Castle CyberDroid on your quest to thieve ancient treasures from under the noses of hordes of security robots that are teleported into nearby rooms with a view to spoiling your fun.

To make things worse, if you spend longer than 30 seconds in any given room then a holgrammatic energy field aptly named ‘Buzz’ will activate and give you a nasty shock.

The overall aim of the game is to collect all of the treasures on each level before heading to the teleport – and then presumably selling your ill-gotten gains on eBay.

Cyborg comes with 7 level maps consisting of 112 screens and 5 especially made music tracks to go with it. As with all of Amcog’s games, the game’s audio has received a lot work – all sound effects are provided by the RDSP virtual sound chip that generates synthesised sounds in real time.

Since it’s release, a free update has been issued to all Cyborg users with improved graphics and animation, as well as improvements to the sound effects and a few additional levels to play. For more details on what the v2.20 brings to the table, have a read of Amcog’s press release.

As you’d expect from a game influenced on the original Cybertron, the game has a definite retro feel to it – and the music definitely ties in with this. At times I found myself being reminded of a cross between the Botkiller series from Artex Software and Moonquake.

Cyborg incorporates multiple types of enemy robots that come along throughout the various levels to spoil your fun, there’s also several power ups that you stumble across from time to time, these include smart bombs, freeze, local transporters and bonus lives.

The game’s controlled through the standard WSAD keys on the keyboard for moving up, down, left, right etc. The arrow keys can also be used as well as an alternate configuration of z & x for left and right, with @ & ? for up and down. The game’s response to your keyboard input is sharp and responsive, which turns out is pretty key for a game of this nature considering that I spent a good chunk of time dancing out of the way of charging enemies and other nasties.

Playability-wise, the game’s levels are not particularly long in length, but the game’s difficulty definitely makes up for that. There’s a definitive learning curve to begin with, but once you’ve become used to the mechanics of the game and when to time your runs past enemies then the game begins to flow nicely.

The game is a digital purchase via the Pling Store. The process is quite easy, if you haven’t used the Pling Store before, you just need to download the application itself, unzip it and place it wherever you want on your computer. Once run, you’ll need to register or login to the Pling Store, the registration process took me a few minutes when I signed up a few months back and as far as I’m aware all information including card information is kept locally on your computer rather than in a data center somewhere.

The game should play fine on a vast majority of RISC OS machines, be it legacy 26-bit computers or 32-bit machines. It was designed for use on Raspberry Pi and similar modern machines but it should work fine with older systems.

Overall, Cyborg is a solid and well-authored game. It successfully delivers that retro platformer feel Anthony at Amcog has worked to achieve. If you’ve got a tenner ear-marked for procrastionation material then spending it on a copy of Cyborg isn’t a bad shout.

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