Review by Braben

Reviewed: 01/05/04 | Updated: 07/19/04

A fascinating intergalactic journey for veteran pilots only.

Cyber Knight is another Turbo CD game adapted to the Snes. Developed by Tokin House, this game is far from the usual rpgs we use to see, it adds a lot of innovations, and unlike many others and while it needs some improvements, Cyber Knight is a success in what it wants to be, a different but very cool rpg (you should take note, Koei).

Plot 6/10:
Like in many rpgs the story begins in an very cool way, but sadly you`ll realise that it is not as well developed as it seemed at the beginning during the rest of the game. But even with that, the story`s main idea the cool thing here, then we have the game`s originality, which helps a lot to make this one a very interesting experience. For these reasons I think the plot can be considered as ``interesting``, which is a pity actually, because with some improvements it could have been simply terrific.

Graphics 5/10:
Cyber Knight`s graphics were a bit dated even back in 1993, but they aren`t bad, just simple... well ok, they are mediocre at best, but who cares?. The battles in the other hand are nicely done, there are even different animations depending on the attacks and weapon you are using, and our mechas and the enemies are big and look pretty good.

Rating Cyber Knight`s graphics is a bit hard, because sometimes they pretty decent while some others very cheap. A mixed bag for old school hardcore rpg fans and an utter crap for everyone else, they have their charm in my opinion, like the game itself, I somehow liked them, but they are certainly not good.

Music 5/10:
The theme played at the menu and at your ship is one of the most horribly catchy tunes I`ve ever heard in my whole life, be careful because it is one of those things that will get stuck on your head and that you will never forget no matter how hard your try.
The battle music is pretty good, and there are two neat different themes for the normal battles.

Overall the music is average, sometimes interesting but there is very little variety, and the high encounter rate makes it basically impossible to listen to it properly most of the time.

Gameplay 7/10:
Cyber Knight is said to be an strategy rpg, even their translators say so, but I think it isn`t. The reason why they say so are the combats, they are presented in a 6x6 grid where you can (depending on your robot`s capabilities) freely place your mechas before attacking, once you have moved and selected their weapons or special attacks, they will attack automatically.

But even with that I think the game has too little in the strategy genre, in any case, probably the best way to describe Cyber Knight`s gameplay is by saying that it is an rpg with strategy/rpg combats, something that maybe is what an strategy rpg should be, but this is completely different.

We have five party members, there are two soldiers, one commander, a mechanic, and a doctor. Their jobs are not there just for fun, sometimes we will have to use their abilities in certain parts of the game, and the character we need is not in our party we`ll have to back and take him with us. They also have other abilities like for example the medicine ability, and only those characters with that ability are able to cure wounds when we are out of our spaceship, those with the fix ability are able to repair the mechas, etc. These skills go up with the experience also.

Aside from their jobs, all the characters are free to use any mecha they want. It may sound obvious that if a character has a higher level the mecha he or she is driving will be more powerful, but as far as I have seen this is not true, because if you use a level 1 character his mecha will do the same damage than any character with level 10, as long and you use a powerful weapon everything else simply isn`t important.

During the combat your mechas can switch weapons, use special devices such as missiles, grenades, bombs, etc. There are hand to hand (knuckles, swords, etc) and long range weapons divided in groups like impact, laser, plasma, etc. There is wide variety to choose from, but not all the mechas are able to wield these guns and projectiles, heavy weapons can only be used by heavy mechas, and so on.

During the battles there are also two life bars (there aren`t any bars actually, just numbers, but you probably get the idea), one is your pilot`s life and the other one is for the mecha you are using. Whether if you pilot dies or the mechas explodes, you can still cure the pilot or repair the mecha after the battle if you have someone able to repair and heal.

To acquire new weapons and other devices for your mechas you will have to analyse the wreckage left by some enemies after combat. Though I would have preferred a more typical way of acquiring things (shops and that stuff), I have to admit that this is a very interesting and original way to obtain items, I liked it a lot, it is an excellent feature because it actually works.

Cyber Knight is a pretty deep and complex game in terms of options and character customization, our mechas have lots of weapons, but not all of them are useful against all the enemies, then they can only carry a maximum number and a certain type of weapons or some of them require to use both arms, you will have to experiment a lot.

The big problems I have found in Cyber Knight has are:
First of all the typical flaw most Japanese rpgs suffer from, the high encounter rate, and in this game it`s even worst, because the combats are ultra slow, if you are not a patient person this game is going to make you suffer like never before.

Another problem is that sometimes it is hard to figure out where are those items or that place you have to go in order for the plot to advance, sometimes that place where you have to go is just a corner in a place where there seems to be to nothing important, this is annoying, if there is nothing there, then why is THAT the place where we have to go?, if you are not lucky enough to find those places while wandering, then a FAQ is something you can`t avoid.

Final Thoughts:
I found Cyber Knight to be an extremely original, different, and interesting title, but like most Japanese rpgs it is for true fans only, because as I said before it is a really slow paced game due to high encounter rate and slow combats. An excellent game for true fans of the genre anyway, very recommended, let`s hope someday they translate Cyber Knight II, because if Tokin House managed to solve those few yet annoying flaws this one has, the sequel is going to RULE very badly, and from what I have seen the other day when I finally managed to play the second part for while, at least from what I have seen at the beginning, the word ``unbelievable`` doesn`t begin to describe that game`s superb look.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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