[I ♥ The PC Engine] Cyber CrossPosted on May 20th, 2010 4 comments
Release Date: 6/23/89
Price: 6300 yen
Media: HuCard (3mbit)
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.
I was never a big fan of this game, but I always thought that many of the songs were good. In a daydream, I fantasized that these songs belonged to a better, more exciting version of Cyber Cross (developed by Konami, no less!). It’s a shame Konami didn’t jump on the PCE bandwagon sooner!
I always liked this game, and it’s part of what set me on a quest to figure out everything I could about Face.
The minimal backgrounds and bright colors start getting even cooler at later stages, and it’s got that nice City Hunter feel that I enjoyed about Japan in the 90s.
The main character’s sprite kinda reminds a bit of Ryusei Tsurugi from Metalder. I kinda been on tokusatsu fix ever since I’ve played the Chojin Sentai Jetman game for the Famicom a few months ago (which is a kinda fun game by Natsume, if a bit simplistic), so I’ll probably try get a hold of this and Cyber-Wiber as well.
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