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Cyber Virus Nears Completion - The Atari Times

Cyber Virus Nears Completion

Keep your eyes peeled for this awesome game!
by Gregory D. George

October 4, 2001
When it was learned that Songbird Productions had acquired several incomplete Lynx titles, portable fans around the world jumped for joy. More games for Atari's portable wonder machine would be released!

Close contact with Songbird has revealed the details of one of these superb games. Written by BattleWheels creator Beyond Games, Cyber Virus is a futuristic 3D game where a lone warrior must defend his allies from the scum of the universe.

Carl Forhan, founder of Songbird, is taking great pains to ensure that the game is polished and that the levels are built with the gamer in mind. "The original version of [Cyber Virus] on cart does not have some of the [missions]. It did have 8 missions, but when I got the source code, only 1 mission was included..."

Forhan has plans to make the game worthwhile for eager Lynx gamers. "I'm planning on including [at least 16] missions. I want people to get their money's worth out of this, and to feel like the game is challenging but not frustrating."

In addressing difficulty issues, Forhan writes, "The big difference here is that you have no
hand-to-hand mode of attack, but of course you can always abort the mission and try again, which is something you couldn't easily do in other games without a full reset." In addition, Forhan thought about the possibility of having the player carry over his damage from level to level but ultimately decided against it.

When asked about the possibility of including stealth, "There are some aspects of stealth in the game -- not all robots chase you the entire size of the screen. Some are only activated by your proximity." However, don't expect to be able to snipe your enemy. "Sniping ala Perfect Dark can be cool, but realize this game is very sparsely populated in terms of terrain and obstacles..."

As for acquiring new weapons, there is no money in the game, so don't expect to see a Protector-type shop. "There are powerups [within the levels] which give you more armor (i.e. health), grenades, and missiles."

In reference to the enemies in the game, Forhan offers up this tidbit: "Beyond Games had included at least 4 different foes, each with unique graphics and attributes." A sampling of enemies and traps in Cyber Virus include: Several different models of robots, automatic targeting turrets, deadly mines, spiders, and mutant brains.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the game are the newly created cinema screens Forhan himself created. "I have a couple of 'comic book' style cinema scenes that I will throw into the title screen, either before or after the animated Cyber Virus logo."

Here now, are some screenshots of the latest version of the game. Note that these may change before the final version is released:

One of the newly included comic book style cinema screens.

This general will give you your mission orders.

Here is one of the nasty robots that will try to stop your progress.

These turrets will drain your energy quickly unless you destroy them first.

Armor bonuses will increase your health.

One of the radar towers that must be destroyed. Note the flash of lightning in the background. Cool!

Other Images
Title Screen
Beam me up Scotty!
Ack! I'm dead!

Playtesters Report
I have been lucky enough to be able to playtest this new game for Mr. Forhan. Here are my thoughts so far:

Radar blips for items. They will probably not be included, however, Forhan is designing the levels in such a way that items and mission objectives will not be difficult to find. "...I don't want people feeling like they're searching for a needle in a haystack." he said.

The feel of the game is good. Just imagine being on foot in BattleWheels to get some idea of what to expect. The difference here is, you don't have to worry about being run over by maniacal drivers!

Some differences to BattleWheels include: A laser gun instead of a machine gun, (you'll notice the difference in graphics right away) differing skies and terrains, different enemies (no cars, more robots), animated trees and environment graphics, and power ups from within the game.

The missions are coming along nicely. There are currently 4 training missions and 3 full missions in the version I am testing. More are currently in the works.

Once the mission difficulty is tweaked to perfection, Cyber Virus is a game that you won't want to miss!

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