CyberStrike 2

4CyberStrike 2 is the sequel to one of the earliest online action games. The original CyberStrike offered crude graphics but decent robo combat via the online service known as GEnie. Like the first game, CyberStrike 2 is old-school battle-mech, in which you steer an armored, two-legged robot fitted with various weapons against other mechs. The two sides at war — the Disciples of the Apocalypse and the Terran Alliance — have little to distinguish them from each other. Each has three robots to choose from (light, medium, heavy), plus an array of lasers, launchers and guns.

Aside from speed and armor ratings, all the mechs pretty much perform and look the same. While the models are fairly detailed, they’re all generally similar, unlike the diverse visual styles found in other ‘bot-battlers like the MechWarrior and Heavy Gear games. The terrain graphics look good and perform well with the mandatory hardware acceleration via Direct 3D. Textures are adequate, but the real visual flair comes from lighting and explosion effects, which are quite nicely done.

One gameplay twist adds an element of strategy to CyberStrike 2: You must have drop-ships deliver modules that carry weapons, repairs, and towers. The towers are a strong tactical element in multi-player; they provide power to the teams they belong to, and they drain power from enemy mechs who get too close. So targeting enemy towers and protecting your own becomes a key to victory, raising the stakes and making for more sophisticated missions.

10_1The single-player mode offers about two dozen missions against computer controlled enemies, but it’s a mess. Robots runs around aimlessly, get stuck in corners, and shoot their own men. The artificial intelligence is so sloppy it’s appalling, and missions quickly degenerate into a free-for-all muddle. The other main strike against CyberStrike 2 is control. Since you can’t properly steer or turn your turret with the mouse, you must rely on joystick support, which is only tolerable, or keyboard support, which is not. There are no control configuration options, and the default keyboard map is poorly planned.

All of these combined make the singleplayer really unfun if not wholly unplayable. At the end of the day, however, there are more competent MechWarrior clones out there.

System Requirements: Pentium II 233 MHz, 32 MB RAM, 500 MB HDD, Win98

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