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Alive 5
                        Show Off with Cyber Virus!
                            By Gregory D. George

With the  Lynx  being  replaced  as  the most  powerful, exclusively  portable
machine, it was only fitting that we should  be reminded of how far in advance
this unit was back  in 1990. Songbird  Productions has managed, once again, to
secure the code for  another game  that was  never released. Prior examples of
this wonderfulness have been seen  with the Jaguar  game  Protector, and  will
(hopefully) shine again with Ultravore. But first things first : It's time for
Cyber Virus!

"In the near future, the military  has  developed a  new breed of  intelligent
cybernetic  soldiers -- cybots  for  short. Enemies of  the state  inject  the
central BRAINCORE computer with the Sir.vive.X virus which sends the cybots on
a deadly rampage.

"The virus spreads rapidly, wreaking havoc around the country. The BRAINCORE
monitors all  significant troop  movements and  threatens to  launch nuclear
warheads if the military engages the cybots.

"Your objective is to eliminate the cybot threat in the southwest region of the
USA. Your  superiors  hope  that  if  they send a  lone commando  on search and
destroy missions, the cybots won't identify you as a significant threat.

"Good luck, soldier. America is counting on you."

As this game uses the BattleWheels engine, the graphics are superb. The enemies
scale in and out as you  move, the terrain is  nicely shaded giving it a bit of
detail, and there are plenty of special effects like explosions, and flashes of
lightning in certain levels. The enemy animation is adequate and they appear to
be made up of about six or so frames. (Big deal. Even Doom didn't have all that
many frames of animation.) The in-between game graphics are nicely detailed and
the cartoon scenes are a nice touch.

Sound effects are not  something I typically  pay much mind to. They're usually
cut and pasted from other games and Cyber Virus is no exception. I have heard a
few Battle Wheels  sound  effects such  as the explosions, "walking," and other
sound effects. But these were excellently done in  Battle Wheels, so they carry
over to  Cyber  Virus  as  well. In  addition, Cyber  Virus has  some new sound
effects which are very nicely done. Some of the music can become annoying fast,
but I've most definitely heard worse from the Lynx.

The gameplay and  powerups in  Cyber Virus are nicely  balanced. You will often
find yourself blowing everything up with only a few munitions to spare, usually
lasers. So, it's very important to conserve your ammo as much as possible. This
precludes that Cyber Virus is more of a "hide and destroy" type of game and you
not get very far with the "rush-in" method. (Trust me, you will face death more
often if you play it Rambo-style!) Your best bet is to blast all of the enemies
first and then take out  the targets  with no  opposition. You have to be a bit
more thoughtful with Cyber Virus than with other first-person perspective

Control is excellent and is much improved  over BattleWheels. In  that game you
could only  walk (slowly) forward or  backwards  and  turn left or right. Cyber
Virus' controls have been  tweaked  to allow  the player to run and sidestep as
desired. Both of these moves are virtually required to get through the missions
and these are very welcome improvements indeed.

One thing I truly like about Cyber Virus is the huge variety! There are a total
of 16 missions which will keep even the most adept gamer busy for awhile. There
are several terrains, sprites, explosions, bombs, enemies, power ups, and other
graphical treats in store. In addition, the radar is very useful both on the
main screen and in the special screen.

My primary knock against Cyber Virus, is the moderate to high difficulty. This
is not a game where you will sit down and breeze right through your first time
and that may cause novice  gamers  shy away. (But  then, who are  we kidding ?
Novice Lynx gamers? C'mon!) Another  negative to  Cyber Virus  is the  lack of
items on the radar screen. You might be asked to find  object X, but without a
target on the radar, you will have to hunt for it the hard way.

Even with these few negatives, Cyber Virus is a definite must-own game for the
Lynx.  The  graphics  are  superb, the sound  is  nice, and  the  gameplay  is
satisfying. If you can look past the difficulty level you will most definitely
want a copy of Cyber Virus!


Alive 5