Showcase Review: Cybermorph on Jaguar


If you've been lucky enough to find and secure an Atari Jaguar, Cybermorph, the game packed-in with the system, is sure to be your very first experience. This title has had a ton of hype behind it alongside the Jag itself, and as was the case with Crash 'N' Burn on 3DO, the developers and publishers behind the scenes have laid all of their hopes on quenching this next-generation thirst. Does Cybermorph do just that? Well, in certain ways we are gladdened to say it does! Carts such as these are groundbreaking, no doubt about it, and for all we know this shooter-adventure may set the scene for an entire new generation of games. But it sure ain't perfect. Here's what your PPM Crew has to say on the matter.

Cybermorph's greatest asset is its style of gameplay. The player has absolute, full control over their vehicle and can fly in any direction they desire. As opposed to shooters in its league, even other 3-D space shooters, nothing ties down the title ship or propels it forward non-stop like a roller coaster on rails. You're able to move anywhere at anytime, move at your own pace, and interact with the planet at your leisure with no time limit. Conceptually, this alone makes for a seriously revolutionary game. Programmers have added upwards of 50 worlds to explore - each with their own peaks and valleys and various polygonal enemies. Your mission may be to rescue a cache of pods, but feel free to see the sights afterward.

cybermorph1      cybermorph2

Explore To Your Heart's Content                           Looks Like the Grand Canyon!

On the flip side of the coin, Atari implemented a complex control scheme which makes flying quite difficult to learn and master. Thanks to the cumbersome dial-pad control scheme of the Jaguar, the player will need to constantly look down at his or her gamepad to pinpoint the correct action to take, or form to morph into. This annoyance comes to a head (literally) if and when you damage your ship by dinging it into a mountain or an alien structure. Skylar, your bald-headed computerized guide, appears on-screen and reprimands the player for their poor flying ability. This floating head will surely make an appearance when you take damage, and it gets irritating fast. Check that altimeter as the terrain will be bumpy.

It's impossible to judge a game like Cybermorph without inevitably referring to similarities with the other big-name polygonal shooter out there. Yes, Star Fox accomplished the feat of 3-D space flight whilst running on the 16-Bit SNES! It too generated polygonal crafts and vivid environments - and even music, which is strangely lacking from this cart. This may lead some players to question the authenticity of Atari's 64-Bit promise. So, the question arises: Does Cybermorph take advantage of the Jag's full potential? Well, no. By all accounts it only scratches the surface, seeing as this game may have been one of the many launch titles originally intended for the scrapped 32-Bit Atari Panther.

cybermorph3      cybermorph4

Not Again! Go Away, Already!                           Pea Soup Land, Apparently

Even with that in mind, the texture mapping and 3-D rendering is astounding. There's lots of potential for far-out ideas as those exhibited in Cybermorph. We share the desire of other games reviewers who hope to see free-roam adventure gameplay stretch over to other genres like role-playing and action games. If programmers continue to utilize their own imaginations and if the Jaguar receives adequate support by developers, this generation will be an unforgettable one. Now, some mags have bent over backwards to credit this title as a plausible "system seller" for the Jag. We're not quite convinced just yet - at least until some sales figures emerge. Who wins out between Cybermorph and Crash 'N' Burn, and as such Jaguar and 3DO? We'll let the gaming market settle that spat.

[Article from the Jan 1994 Issue of PPM]


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