Cyberbykes (DOS) 1995
First 1280x1024 resolution game
Earliest Magazine review- Power Play (1995)
"In Zeiten grafisch aufwendiger 3D-Scroller, die auch ohne großartige Hardware-Power einen hohen Spaßfaktor erreichen (siehe Terminal Velocity), ist ein Polygon-Spiel dieser Art schon eine Beleidigung. Selbst zu seligen Amiga-Zeiten wurde der Spieler mehr verwöhnt als bei dieser Lean-Version eines Strategiespiels. Auch wenn der Anspruch im Verlauf der Missionen stetig wächst, und das Motorrad mit allerlei Schnickschnack und Artillerie ausgebaut werden kann, geht die Spielfreude ob der Unübersichtlichkeit der Landschaft doch sehr schnell flöten. Da hilft es auch nichts, wenn Ihr in einem Construction-Modus Eure eigenen Schlachtfelder zusammenstricken könnt, im Multiplayer-Modus Eurem Kumpel Feuer gebt oder Euch mit obengenanntem Helm in die virtuellen Räumlichkeiten werft. Lieber das Ciao-Mofa in der Garage als Cyberbykes auf dem Rechner!"
Earliest english review-PC Multimedia & Entertainment (1995)
"It's the future. The tyrannical WTO (World Treaty Organization) has taken over most of the world's cities. As an agent of one of the few remaining democratic governments, you must infiltrate enemy lines and steal back some valuable secrets, nuclear components, chemical and biological weapons, before the WTO discovers them and wreaks havoc.
Your government has equipped you with an incredible technological breakthrough to help you carry out your missions, the CyberByke. This is a heavily armored motorbike described as "an F-15 fighter plane on two wheels, or a super-fast highly mobile tank", which can be controlled remotely. The byke is equipped with a whole mess of sensor arrays that display information on a "virtual world" back at your headquarters in a sort of VR simulator, giving you control of the byke while keeping you out of harm's reach.
This VR twist on a rather old plot sounds like the makings of a pretty decent action game. Unfortunately, CyberBykes is just that, pretty decent.
GRAPHICS The graphics in CyberBykes are the most disappointing aspect of the game. Everything in the game is composed of real-time calculated polygons, and moves at a nice, fast pace. Unfortunately, there is no texture-mapping to speak of, making CyberBykes resemble some of the earlier attempts at 3D engines rather than what we have become accustomed to with games such as DOOM and MechWarrior II. If you have a powerful enough system you can turn Gouraud shading on, which does add some degree of depth. There are a LOT of objects in this game, and it's obvious that applying textures to all of them would slow things down considerably on even the fastest systems (remember Nascar?). Nevertheless, the option of turning texture support on/off for selected objects would have been a nice feature.
On a positive note, the backgrounds are very attractive, and CyberBykes can run smoothly on almost any system. A whole slew of screen resolutions, from 320x200 to 1280x1024 are supported. The lowest resolution mode ran smoothly on our lowly 386DX/33 with 4MB RAM, a 486DX/66 w/8MB had no problems in the 640x480 mode with some details turned off, and our Pentium 100 w/16MB ran 800x600 (with shading on) quite nicely.
SOUND The sound in this game is absolutely vital to it's atmosphere. It is of such quality that it almost makes up for CyberBykes' mediocre visual effects.
Sound effects are good and make good use of panning for a be-there level of realism. The music is equally good. Nothing special, really, just good old gamey music. There's a different sound track for almost every level, so there's no getting bored of the same tedious tune. CyberBykes supports all major sound cards.
GAMEPLAY The game can be played from a number of perspectives within a 3D world, supporting a full 6 degrees of freedom. Available views are first-person (on the byke), chase (just behind the byke), helicopter (slightly further behind the byke), and satellite (really high above the byke).
I've had to spend many hours with this game to come up with a single opinion on it's playability, and I'm still not really sure what I think. Control of the byke is easy enough; supported devices include keyboard, mouse and just about anything that'll plug into your joystick port. The manual recommends the mouse as the preferred control device. At first, I found this to be the case, but I personally prefer my CH Flightstick PRO. Typically, any good multi-button stick should provide an adequate level of byke-control.
One of the main gripes I have with CyberBykes' gameplay is the speed of the game. Enemy bykes move way too fast. By the time you recognize that obscure triangular blob as an enemy, it's usually too late.
The object of missions is too unclear. Mission briefings are up to six screens long, and unless you take notes, you'll probably forget what you've been ordered to do. I found myself spending most of the time just driving around, shooting everything that would explode, and jumping over gobs and gobs of ramps. This is actually one of the more enjoyable aspects of CyberBykes. Depending on your speed you can fly REALLY far after hitting a bump or ramp. While the near zero-gravity physics are somewhat unrealistic, it's a blast to drive around and see how long you can remain airborne. If you've got access to a VR headset you'll find this to be a bonus, since CyberBykes' headset support is surprisingly immersive.
IN CONCLUSION During every minute of play I was wishing for NAV points, or at least some way to recall mission objectives during a mission. CyberBykes has neither of these.
One redeeming quality is a very comprehensive and easy-to-use level builder. If you can't get enough of those ramps, you could probably satisfy yourself infinitely with this feature. It should also be noted that CyberBykes has network support for up to 8 players. If you've got 3 or 4 buddies to kill, this game becomes much more enjoyable, but it ain't no Descent.
CyberBykes is a nice try at a 3D mission-based shooter/sim. MechWarrior II is the best example of this type of game, and is REALLY much better. CyberBykes would be a fine game, were it not for a few missing details.
1) Next step in screen resolutions for video games since Battle Isle 2220:Shadow of the Emperor (early 1995) (1024x768)
2) Game supports head-mounted display and CyberMaxx 3d.
3) Game influenced by "Tron" film.
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