For those of you who are wondering what prompted all those games and movies with people mowing their lawn while wearing extremely suspect dungarees, its all Stephen King's fault. It was his superb original short story that started it all, but unfortunately the Lawnmower Man saga went rapidly downhill after that. The movie was pretty good but strayed too far from the original story-line and consequently was more Hollywood than horror. As for the game, oh dear. The graphics were impressive but way too blocky and the gameplay, er, wasn't there. There were minor puzzles for you not to tax your brain with and arcade sequences in which you occasionally pressed a key (or if you were really lucky, two). Cyberwar takes up the story from where the original game left off. Heres a brief recap.
The tale of dopey Jobe
Dr Angelo, an enormously clever scientist, found a way of using virtual reality to stimulate the human brain. Full of enthusiasm, and egged on by all his scientist mates, he decided to experiment on Jobe, a thickie lawnmower person, to see what would happen. Jobes IQ. increased steadily and he developed telepathic powers. Eventually, Jobe went nuts and decided he wanted live in a quiet semi-detached abode inside the world's computer networks. He projected himself into a large computer network and then became Cyberjobe, the most powerful dude ever created. Dr Angelo followed him and, after a gargantuan struggle, Cyberjobe repented, freed the doctor and turned into Mr Nice Guy. In Cyberwar, the American military, thinking it would be useful for starting wars and things, make a clone of Cyberjobe which turns into a really nasty piece of work. Dr Angelo finds out and decides to hunt down the Cyberjobe replica. You play Dr Angelo and your objective is to guide him through a virtual world and destroy the Cyberjobe copy. So, the story-line hasnt changed much. What about the game?
Well, it looks better. The graphics in Cyberwar are absolutely stunning. They are still a little blocky when you see them close up, but they are a definite improvement over those in the first game. Unfortunately, the gameplay is exactly the same. There are more puzzles, some of them an absolute cinch and others quite cryptic, and there are more arcade sequences which look like variations on those seen in the first game. The puzzle-solving elements in Cyberwarare the closest youll ever get to real gameplay in the whole game. At least you have to think about them, albeit for only a short time. In total contrast, the arcade sections are at best an insult to your intelligence and at worst, profoundly frustrating.
A prime example of the non-gameplay in the Cyberwar arcade sections is a level called Mutation Storage. You are standing in a room and in front of you there are three doors. They open randomly to reveal either a barrel or Bernie, one of Cyberjobes toughies. Your objective? Shoot Bernie before he shoots you. This does not pose much of a problem because a) Bernie takes an abolute age to come through the door and b) you cant possibly miss him when you shoot. What a challenge, eh?
Cyber Boogie is a level in .which you have to jump into a Cybership thing and navigate your way through a series of tunnels, except you dont really get to navigate anything at all. As you fly through the tunnels you use the arrow keys on your keyboard to tell the ship which way to go. For example, if youre coming to a left turn, you press the left arrow and off you go around the corner. You can use a joystick as well if you want but its so easy it really doesnt make any difference. When youre not deeply engrossed in ascertaining whether the next part of the tunnel will veer up, down, left or right, you simply sit back and watch the pretty graphics. In fact, you do quite a lot of that in this game.
Ninety per cent of your time in the levels (and sometimes more) is spent admiring the scenery and animation of the characters in the game. Just as well, then, that they really are something worth looking at. In the office people were crowding around the PC to get a closer look at the stunning cut-in sequences that link up the game from one level to another. It doesnt do much for the gameplay though, which is as sadly lacking in Cyberwar as it was in the first game.
If youre unspeakably rich and money is no object, you might want a copy of this to impress your no doubt equally rich friends with when they come around. Otherwise, avoid it.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP