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
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
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.
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
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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