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Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness
 

 

STORY:  Near the end of the 21st century Earth begins to become over-populated leading to many people living in man-made space colonies. The primary army of Earth, "Earth Force", has been conducting experiments and their work, along with the actions of the playable characters will determine the future of Earth. 
 

BEHOLD..... Jin Saotome's humble origins.

 
REVIEW
A previously "Japanese-only" fighting game, Cyberbots is the successor to the beat-em-up title known as Armored Warriors. Unlike Armored Warriors, Cyberbots plays like a traditional 2D fighting game. Players first select their character, and then the "mecha" they want their character to pilot and fight with. Cyberbots was a much lesser known fighting game by Capcom, rarely seen outside of Japan arcades. The game was later ported to PS1 and Sega Saturn, and again, neither of the console ports saw a release outside of Japan. Over 15 years after the initial release, Cyberbots finally became available on PSN in North America as a downloadable PS One Classic.

Even as a hardcore Capcom fan since the late 80's, I had never even known about Cyberbots until Jin Saotome and Devilot appeared in Marvel VS Capcom (and I know I'm not the only one). That's why it was a no-brainer when Cyberbots finally hit PSN for only $5.99. Truth be told, I'm not much of a fan of Japanese "mechs" or robot fighting games, but I decided to give Cyberbots a fair shake anyway.

For fans of Japanese robots, the cast of Cyberbots is diverse and interesting... which isn't surprising coming from the makers of Street Fighter. Each "mecha" has a generous selection of special moves, comparable to that of a Street Fighter character. Cyberbots uses a 4-button layout instead of the classic 6-button setup used in most Capcom fighting games. There are 2 attack buttons, a hover / dash button and a projectile button. Under the health gauge, there is a super combo gauge and a gauge displaying the limit of the projectile gun.
 

"PHASE 1! ...PROCEED!"

 
Cyberbots
also features selectable options, parts, and mecha, allowing players to format their play style to their preference. Similar to the Armored Core series, players have access to different legs (which affect movement abilities), arms (which affect reach and melee capabilities) and weapons can be mixed and matched between the selectable robots.

Most 2D fighting game fundamentals are present in Cyberbots, and the game is actually very "easy" to play.
The basic Hadouken & Shoryuken inputs will get your special / super moves on the screen, and there are even quite a few "1-button" special attacks, most of which being projectiles. On that note, spamming projectiles like crazy can actually be pretty effective in this game.

During a typical fight, there will be a crazy amount of projectiles being thrown every which way. To counteract these, many of the mechas have long-reaching priorities and special attacks - with some of the mechas able to reach across the entire screen to damage their opponent.
Cyberbots isn't a very combo-oriented game... it's more of a "projectile & poke" type of fighting game. Overall, the gameplay feels a bit "cramped". I think a super jump ability would've suited the game nicely. I'm actually surprised Cyberbots doesn't feature a super jump, since Capcom's X-Men: Children of the Atom came out around the same time.
 

Those full screen projectile attacks are nasty.

 
From the opening movie to the game's soundtrack, Cyberbots looks and sounds like several other Capcom fighting games of the era. The intro is comparable to the style of the Street Fighter Alpha series, and some of the game's BGMs sound like they could come straight from X-Men VS Street Fighter (released about a year after Cyberbots). However, Cyberbots doesn't quite live up to Capcom's other smash hits when it comes to graphics.

For one, the hand drawn backgrounds are noticeably less polished than other recent fighting games. Partly due to the nature of the game, the in-game graphics aren't what I'd call "pretty". Most of the 2D sprites for the mechs don't quite convince the player that they're actually fighting with "mile high" robots. Some of the mechs appear pretty "small" on-screen, but the pixel art is pretty clean otherwise. On the flipside, I suppose the small-ish sprites won't bother Japanese robot fans with good imaginations. Also, I think some of the explosions could look better. I can actually recall a few SNES games with more satisfying explosions.

In the Playstation version, the main menu is very plain (and might give you flashbacks of X-Men: Children of the Atom if you remember the PS1 version). The modes of Cyberbots consist of: Arcade, Versus & Option... that's all folks. The options menu also looks like it was ripped straight from any classic console version of Street Fighter 2! ...Nostalgia factor! 

While the graphics don't really impress me overall, the in-game character artwork is quality stuff. On that note, the Arcade Mode of Cyberbots isn't the typical fare. It actually plays out more like a Story Mode (definitely ahead of its time). I'm basing my review off of the Japanese version of the game, so I can't understand most of the actual story content. From what I can grasp, however, the story scenes range from semi-serious & emotional to comedic (especially when Devilot is involved). In one scene, Devilot is talking trash to her opponent while taking a bath, in her bath tub... (inside her mecha, of course). Hilarity ensues. 
 

Typical Devilot.

 
I can't think of any other fighting games of the mid 90's that featured fully voiced character interaction cut-scenes before and after each battle. While Cyberbots might not stack up against other "competitive" fighting games of the era, the effort behind the 1-player experience certainly doesn't go unnoticed. There are an impressive variety of character artworks used in Story Mode, all of which feature subtle animations as characters talk. The overall presentation of the cut-scenes could be a bit more exciting, but it's certainly better than what most mid 90's fighting games put out in terms of story. Besides the long load times, the 1-player experience of Cyberbots is actually halfway interesting.

 

Page Updated: January 6th, 2015
Developer(s): Capcom
Publisher(s): Capcom
Designer(s): Shochan, Tobanjan, Tequila Saddy, Jun Keiba, Mucchi, DAIchan, Kinu Nishimura (character design), Sho Sakai (mech design)
Platform(s): Arcade, Sega Saturn, Playstation, PSN
Release Date(s): April 20th, 1995    ( Arcade)
Sept. 13th, 2011 
   ( PSN)
Characters Jin Saotome, Devilot, Santana Laurence, Mary Miyabi, Gawaine Murdock, Arieta, Bao & Mao, Chiyomaru Kagura & Tessan Hagane, Shade, G.O.D., Zero Akuma (console)

Featured Video:

Related Games: Marvel VS Capcom, Marvel VS Capcom 2, Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 2, X-Men: Children of the Atom, X-Men VS Street Fighter, Fatal Fury 3, Real Bout Fatal Fury, Samurai Shodown 3, Savage Reign, King of Fighters '95, Darkstalkers 2, Marvel Super Heroes, Mortal Kombat 3: Ultimate
  

Gameplay Engine

 6.0 / 10

Story / Theme

 7.5 / 10

Overall Graphics

 6.0 / 10

Animation

 6.5 / 10

Music / Sound Effects

 6.5 / 10

Innovation

 7.0 / 10

Art Direction

 9.0 / 10

Customization

 5.0 / 10

Options / Extras

 5.5 / 10

Intro / Presentation

 7.0 / 10

Replayability / Fun

 5.0 / 10

"Ouch" Factor

 6.5 / 10

Characters

 7.5 / 10

BOTTOM LINE

 6.7 / 10

 Review based on PS1 (Import) version

 

Final Words: For many years, I neglected putting any "robot fighting games" on the website... I have my reasons. Cyberbots gets special privileges simply due to the fact that Jin Saotome & Devilot eventually crossed over to MVC (among other fighting games). Indeed, Cyberbots is a part of Capcom fighting game history, which is why it earned its place here on TFG. (Plus, the artwork for the game is awesome.)

Cyberbots isn't the prettiest, most balanced, or most fun 2D fighting game to come out of the mid 90's... but it's an interesting game. If you ever wanted to discover the origins of Jin Saotome (or Devilot) and meet an obscure cast of characters, you should pick up Cyberbots. Only $5.99 to own a piece of Capcom history? Money well spent. You probably won't play it for as long as you play your favorite 2D fighting games, but Cyberbots is worth a look if you're a true Capcom fan. Plus, Zero Akuma is in the game... a giant mech based on Akuma that actually plays like Akuma. (Possibly worth the price of admission alone).
~TFG Webmaster
 

 
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Click Here for all character art!

 

 
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