First posted on 23 November 1997. Last updated on 07 August 2009.
|Cinematic scenes struggle to tell a story filled with cliché.|
|As beautifully rendered as the puzzles are, they are mindlessly abstract.|
|Blasting through waves of enemies is the theme of this action adventure.|
With only lukewarm success for Cyberia, Xatrix Entertainment hopes to fair better with this sequel. Although the high quality graphics and animations are breathtaking to watch, the combination of uninspiring rail shooters and mindless puzzles makes Cyberia² «Resurrection» yet another example of why action and adventure gaming rarely mix well together. In fact, it may be a wonder whether the Cyberia series is better off dead than resurrected in the first place!
After the destruction of the FWA (Free World Alliance) space station, your alter ego, Zak Kingston, crashes back to Earth into the Rocky Mountains with the Cyberion he sets to steal. Betrayed by the FWA and barely conscious from his injuries, he is captured by the evil Dr John Corbin. Not only Dr Corbin salvages the remains of the Cyberian weapon from Zak's wreckage, he also creates a bio-weapon of mass destruction called nano-toxin using Zak's blood. Meanwhile, Zak is thrown into cryogenic suspension for three years. When Zak is finally rescued by a woman from the Rebel Underground, you must help her by guiding Zak pass waves of enemy fires and infiltrating Dr Corbin's hideout. There, Zak must create the nano-toxin antidote before the toxin can be used by the FWA to destroy the rebels.
Xatrix Entertainment has taken the identical formula used in creating Cyberia to make this sequel. Two-part action and one-part adventure, it aims to please action gamers who also crave for bits of adventure gaming fun. Such an implementation is difficult, as this title again is no closer to a proof to the contrary. To advance the story, computer generated pre-rendered cut scenes are played both before and after each game sequence. All the cut scenes are animated in high resolution and are played in full screen. Level music and ample amount of sound effects such as gunfire and explosions compliment both the pre-rendered cut scenes and live game sequences.
Gameplay in Cyberia² «Resurrection» alternates between 2 basic modes—arcade and puzzle. Sporting a new transfighter combat engine, the arcade portion is basically made up of a series of rail shooters. As in Cyberia, targets are displayed along pre-rendered animated paths. A crosshair helps to guide the player's weapons towards the enemies in a shooting frenzy. During combat, Zak will ride various types of transportation, including tanks, armored vehicles, jets, laser turrets, and others. Sometimes, the player will need to guide Zak along the right path on foot during the mission. Timing is critical in order for Zak to escape from enemy detection. In contrast, the adventure portion is made up of a small number of logic based puzzles. These puzzles usually control access to key areas or computer terminals. The level of difficulty is adjustable for gamers who find this combination of action and adventure a troublesome task to complete.
There can be no argument that Cyberia² «Resurrection» improves on the graphics of its predecessor. Both the pre-rendered and live sequences sport sharp, high resolution images that are top notched. The animated scenes are smooth in play, with the lips of the characters actually moving during speeches. A wide variety of terrain vehicles and locations provide a welcomed change to gameplay in an otherwise repetitive rail shooter. The puzzles can be tricky to complete on the highest level of difficulty. The trivial conversations between Major Cobain (the daughter of Dr Corbin) and Zak provide brief moments of comic relief. Glamorous music and strong sound effects add bits of atmosphere to the gameplay. The game can be played directly off CD, saving on precious hard disk space.
It seems that Xatrix Entertainment has never really learned a lesson from the mistakes made in Cyberia. Not only these mistakes are repeated in Cyberia² «Resurrection», they are now bigger and more glorified. Although credits must be given to their attempt of mixing action and adventure, the only result of this combination is a dilution of the gaming experience in both genres and their appeal to action and adventure gamers. It is especially evident in this title whereby the game is so action oriented that the puzzles in the adventure portion greatly suffer in design and quality. Most puzzles are mindlessly abstract, poorly integrated into the game, or copycats of old classics such as the game of Simon. The story also suffers equally from poor scripting and voice acting. The dialogs are full of trivial cliché, inappropriate in the context of the story. For example, while escaping from the FWA soldiers, the lead characters are arguing with each others in a childish manner over matters simply not appropriate in a time of life and death. This is worsened by the terrible voiceovers as well as problems of lip synchronization. As such, the cinematic scenes serve only to ferry the player from an action sequence to the next.
In the era of real-time 3D first person shooters, rail shooters such as this game are clearly falling out of favor. With fixed paths of destruction, the trigger-happy players are left only with the simple task of picking off the enemy targets with a crosshair. This means the player has no control of which direction to go or any interaction with the environment. In addition, the excessive numbers of instant deathtraps frustrate even the most patient of gamers. Once killed, the player must start at the beginning of the level rather than at the place where the player has died. In the end, Cyberia² «Resurrection» is another forgettable rail shooter with terrible puzzle play that makes for a frustrating choice for adventure gamers. Indeed, the Cyberia series is better dead than resurrected!