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  • [I ♥ The PC Engine] Cyber Cross

    Posted on May 20th, 2010 keving 4 comments

    Cyber Cross

    Maker: Face
    Release Date: 6/23/89
    6300 yen
    HuCard (3mbit)
    Genre: Action
    PC Engine FAN Score: 20.14 / 30.00
    Kōgien: “An action game whose visuals and setting is designed to appeal to tokusatsu fans. Collect certain items to transform and power-up your attack.”

    Between Shubibinman and Energy and all the rest, the PC Engine very quickly became the go-to console if you were a fan of tokusatsu stuff. Not if you were a child fan of the genre, mind you — more if you were the sort of “grown-up pal” who snapped pictures at shopping-mall stage shows and argued the finer points of henshin poses with your friends at McDonald’s.

    I say this because while the PC Engine didn’t have too many shonen anime or tokusatsu-license games in the beginning, it did have a lot of original action games in those genres. These games often tended to be really short on gameplay, but were still well-loved by the sort of nerds that adopted the PCE early on. Why? Because they prominently featured all the stuff adults like about kids’ shows — the wild costumes, the over-the-top moves, the cheesy little details that make Super Sentai a dirty pleasure along the lines of pro wrestling and The Price is Right.

    Cyber Cross borrows a little bit from all over this genre of Japanese TV, from the spandex power-ranger outfits to the cyber-enhanced superheroes seen in the Metal Hero series. (You may’ve noticed by now that Wikipedia is ridiculously detailed when it comes to this stuff. This isn’t even the Japanese-language version, either.) Your hero, wearing the unzipped letter jacket and fingerless gloves that immediately identify him as a bad-arse tokusatsu protagonist, can transform into one of three different fighters by grabbing the right power-up. These color-coded good guys each wield a different a weapon — laser sword, galactic phaser, or some sort of electrified boomerang — that can be charged up if you hold down the II button long enough.

    It’s the complete tokusatsu package graphically — day-glo city backgrounds, music that changes after you transform, thousands of insect-themed bad guys to mow down, recurring villains that get replaced with other recurring villains once you kill them. It’s maybe appropriate, given how every cliche in the book is included here, that the gameplay itself is also kind of repetitive, a straight imitation of Bad Dudes vs. DragonNinja that even copies your character’s slow walking speed and annoyingly imprecise range.

    Face released a sequel to this game, 1990’s Cross Wiber, that’s a fair bit more well-known among PCE fans. That’s for good reason, too — Cyber Cross isn’t a terrible game, but between the repetitive action and lack of cutscenes or other distractions to spice up the proceedings, it doesn’t seem quite like a complete package.