Cytron


Title           Cytron
Category        Action adventure
Company         Psygnosis
Game Type	Shoot-em-up
Players         1
Compatibility   All
HD installable  With WHDLoad Patch
Submission      Joona Palaste (palaste@cc.helsinki.fi) Profiled Reviewer

Review
From Psygnosis, the people who brought you Shadow of the Beast and
Lemmings, comes Cytron. The style of this game is quite unusual for
Psygnosis. What we have got here is a futuristic action adventure with a
theme very similar to Andrew Braybrook's Paradroid.

Inside the Cytron box, you find two disks and a manual. The manual tells
the game's background story, which is the sort of thing you'd expect from
a Paradroid clone: alien robots have invaded an underground research
complex and you've got a remote-controlled robot tank, Cytron, to rescue
the scientists from it with. A refreshing twist is, the story is told as a
personal debate between two engineers, Duddle and Hawkins, with some
dialogue worthy of J.K. Rowling. The manual then goes on to describe the
various enemies and objects found in the game, and that's pretty much it.

On to the game itself. As with most Psygnosis games from the 1990s, Cytron
has its fair share of intro screens. Luckily, they can be skipped by
pressing the fire button. You're then presented with the title screen,
showing electronic circuitry in the background, while the rather
bog-standard title tune plays. (One thing I spotted is that sometimes the
same wire has two electric charges moving at the same time - in opposite
directions. Anyone who has studied even the most basic electronics course
knows this is impossible. Looks like Lunatic Software, who programmed
Cytron, did not care.)

Pressing the fire button starts the game. You find yourself at the start
of the first level, viewed from the top. I have never played Paradroid, so
I can't compare Cytron to it, but I did notice how similar the game was to
the old coin-op Gauntlet. Even the monster generators are there. Luckily
the game tries to take itself seriously and does not go for kiddie appeal
like its distant cousin, Core Design's Cyberpunks.

Cytron, your brownish-orange remote-controlled robotic tank, is armed with
various kinds of weapons, two of which come as standard and the rest you
have to find along the way. The two standard weapons have unlimited
ammunition, but the more powerful ones only have a limited supply.

That's not all, however - the clever gimmick in Cytron is that your robot
is actually TWO robots in one! Pressing the spacebar splits Cytron into
two smaller robots: The slightly bulkier Cyt and the more slender Ron.
Only one of these can be controlled at a time. Pressing the spacebar again
switches between Cyt and Ron, or if they are touching each other, combines
them back into Cytron. I have yet to find a situation where this has been
of any real use, however.

Of course, this wouldn't be a Paradroid clone if there weren't computer
terminals practically littered through the levels. Any of your robots,
Cytron, Cyt or Ron, can access a terminal by running over it and pressing
the spacebar. A neat trick is that you can log both Cyt and Ron onto
different terminals at the same time! (Although I've never actually tried
this.) The terminals allow you to switch between weapons, transfer energy
between Cyt and Ron, and control the level's security features, such as
turn the lights off, stopping some enemies from homing in on you. The user
interface in the terminal is a bit crap though - it expects you to use the
joystick like a mouse, which never works well but instead becomes tedious.

The graphics in Cytron are otherwise quite nice, but there's one thing
which I really don't like: the colouring of the sprites. Can't Lunatic
Software afford more than two colours? Everything is only blue and orange.
With this incredibly limited palette, it becomes hard to distinguish
between the enemies and the scientists you have to rescue, and you end up
guessing which is which by their movement patterns. Coming from the same
publisher as Shadow of the Beast, of all things, I'm surprised they
allowed this drab kind of graphics quality.

The game does not have any in-game music. The sound effects, on the other
hand, are of the standard action game variety. They sound pleasing enough,
but don't go expecting any "real-life" atmosphere to them.

I didn't have any really great expectations for Cytron, and just as well,
as it wouldn't have lived up to them. There is hardly anything special
about this game, in fact it's one of the worst Psygnosis games I own, but
then I own quite few. It's not a crap game by any means - just
bog-standard.

If you play it enough, it might get to grow on you, but I didn't find it
exciting enough to get hooked on it, like I got hooked on both Lemmings
and Benefactor. If you're a Paradroid fan, you might want to check Cytron
out, otherwise it's for the Psygnosis collectors only.




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