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OK admit it. Exolon was the best game of 1987. It had better gameplay, bigger graphics and more color with less color-dash than any of the competition.

Cybernoid is Exolon II with the elements of Equinox. Plotwise it’s maybe less original but it takes the brilliant graphics of Exolon a stage or two forward and puts them in a flip screen space shoot-em-up of astoundingly destructive proportions.

Cybernoid is a fighting machine – an ultra powerful spaceship just itching to take out hoards and hoards of wibbly alien blobby things. Why kill them? What’s the plot? Who cares? Let’s just assume they jumped ahead of you in the bus line or something.

Cybernoid grows in firepower as gameplay progresses. As you survive you discover, dumped in odd corners of the screen, some of the most trully spectacular and destructive weaponry yet seen in a computer game. Things start well with an awesome electromace which swings around your spacecraft leaving a train of sparks behind it. The explosions in this game are better than Exolon as things smash into a thousand multicolored pieces.

There is more. Aliens come in dozens of different guises. Some are tiny and can be easily taken out with standard lasers others are gigantic monstrosities – particularly deadly are the bizzare things which look like wasps’ nests and throw out deadly bouncing boms.

Parts of the game remind me of the old Caverns of Mars – it isn’t just blasting things, sometimes to get further into the game you need to time your way past some of the most fiendish obstacles known to arcadekind – tiny channelways needing precision steering and split-second timing.

For the wimpish there is a shield option which will get you pretty safely through the early screens, but there is a problem – it runs out. If you use it up in the early stages – well you’re going to be pretty stuck when the going starts to get really tough aren’t you?

It’s a real player’s game this – you can start to develop strategies for different obstacles. Certain kinds of flying bomb follow specific patterns and no obstacle is impassable – just very, very difficult indeed. Someone somewhere is going to solve it in about two hours but the average blasthead should get days and days of challenge.

Game of the year 1988 so far? You bet. It has everything Exolon does but it’s harder and the graphics are probably even better. Cybernoid is also certainly the most completely destructive game I’ve ever seen.

I think all of the adds up to a pretty strong recommendation don’t you? The best flip screen shoot-em-up ever seen on the Spectrum. A worthy successor to Exolon.

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