Friday, January 29, 2010

Cyber Core


I think it's absolutely ridiculous that this extremely entertaining insect-centric shooter is often compared to the wretched clunker Dragon Spirit. The respective control setups are similar, as each grants you a main weapon with which you can take out aerial foes and "bombs" so that you can deal with enemies on the ground, but that's where the similarities end. Cyber Core is faster and offers much more action than Namco's title; it really is one of the "busiest" chip shooters, while crappy DS simply plods along. Delightful, upbeat melodies and a lovable cast of big-bosses and mini-bosses contribute to CC's irresistible charm. Veteran players will have little trouble beating the game, but its fast-paced action gives it good replay value.

It's unfortunate that most of the backgrounds aren't very appealing, but CC thrives on speed and onscreen activity, so its visual shortcomings are hardly devastating.

Most of the midbosses actually do look pretty cool, and they're lots of fun to fight, especially the enormous mosquito who wields a mighty sword of a proboscis and the gargantuan moth who plops himself onto the playfield.

Some of the bosses really make you work. You'll have to sneak through a barrage of projectiles and smaller vermin to make precise bomb strikes on the massive spider. The final boss, on the other hand, gives up after taking just a few seconds' worth of direct hits from powered-up weaponry.

Speaking of weaponry, four different devastators are at your disposal and can be strengthened to remarkable extremes (if you're willing to accept an expanded hitbox). If you power up the mighty blue "pinwheel," you'll find yourself flying freely for most of the adventure. The defense-oriented green shot had the most promise, as it unleashes sickles capable of eliminating any sort of enemy-emitted projectile, but CC gives us little reason to play with a conservative game plan.

Look down at Stage 2's desecrated city to see a line of funny little beetles scampering down the road. The game employs more-serious enemy designs later on.

It isn't until the very last level that it gets at all challenging, though. Those small blue pests are incredibly fast and actually pose more of a threat than do their daunting one-eyed allies.

If you’re an experienced shooter player, you'll reach the end of Cyber Core quickly and with a healthy number of lives in tow. The game doesn’t feel easy while you’re actually playing it, though, as it gives you plenty of insects and bullets to be concerned with. Perhaps you'll finish it the first time you power it up, but you’ll probably return to it the very next day... and have yourself a blast once again.

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