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Cybermorph - The Atari Times


Where did you learn to fly?
by Brendan Onfrichuk

March 6, 2006
When I first got the Atari Jaguar my eyes were wide open. I could barely stand the suspense as I unwrapped the console and controller. My hands were shaking as I screwed the RF adapter onto the back of the TV. Once everything was hooked up I opened my first game, Cybermorph. This game was made by the original developers of the Jaguar hardware after Atari asked them to make a tech demo. They went on to make a complete game to show off all of the aspects and features of Atari's new console. Being the first game made for the Jaguar it was used to advertise the console at launch and it continued to be the only pack in game ever chosen for the Jaguar.


At first glance would appear that the developers have tried to dog Nintendo's polygon flying game Star Fox but anybody who has actually played both games would realize that they are very different. In the game an evil empire has stolen all the new weapons your forces developed to defeat them. The only ship left is an intergalactic prototype cruiser known as the Cybermorph. It is your mission to round up all of the stolen weapons and kidnapped scientists that have been sealed into pods left on the planet surfaces while keeping enemy fighters at bay.

You start your game by selecting which planet you want to go to. Your ship can fly in 3 dimensions unlike Star Fox where your ship flies on a predetermined track. Most of the gameplay consists of shooting down enemies and collecting the "pods" which reminded me of picking up people in Defender. Aiming your guns is not always easy with a digital gamepad. Turning on your cross-hair makes it a little easier but you will still find your self circling around enemies a couple of times to hit smaller targets.

In the top left corner of the screen is Cybermorph's computer hologram who looks like the bald girl from the first Star Trek movie. While she is meant to provide direction in the game she is usually quiet or annoying. She'll tell you how many pods there are left or give you a pat on the back every time you shoot down an enemy but her must annoying phrase is "where did you learn to fly?" which she says whenever you bump into a wall. And when I bump into a wall I usually over compensate and hit another wall just to trigger the same phrase.

The player can collect power-ups left behind by enemies such as rapid fire, bombs or afterburner just to name a few. When have collected all of the pods you exit via portal and return to the planet select screen which consists of eight planets. When I completed all of these planets and defeated a ridiculously difficult boss (who looked like the floating head of a sentinel from X-men) I was taken to another planet select screen! Let me tell you, this game is long and I can't imagine ever finishing the game. This game takes a while to get into but you will most likely enjoy the gameplay in the long run.


The graphics look like an average polygon game on the Jaguar. Cybermorph consists of enough polygons and they move fluently when the ship speeds up. The environment looks fine as well but unfortunately only buildings seem to have any kind of texture mapping and water is blue and perfectly flat. The enemies look a little worse than Cybermorph making it hard to figure out exactly what you are fighting sometimes. Your ship's weapons are simply orange balls and they don't look to interesting but overall the 3D graphics in this game seem like they had work put into the shapes to give them a unique appearance.


The only music in the game is during the title screen which is unacceptable in 1993, especially since the Jaguar was advertised for having CD quality music. But what music is there sounds great. Sound effects are obviously digital recordings such as the laser effect or the afterburner noise and these sound great. Cybermorph's computer has digitally recorded voice which is wonderfully crisp and clear along with all of the other sounds filling the game but the game is a little to quiet without music.


Controls are simple enough. Pressing A will increase throttle and C will decrease. The B button is used to shoot and the keypad turns a couple of features on and off. The only buttons on the keypad you will use during combat are 1, 2 and 3, they activate different power-ups you collect. While they keypad isn't ideal for this it is the only way possible on the Jaguar's gamepad. Flying the ship also takes a little practice at mastering the throttle and steering. But the controls work great for the most part.


Cybermorph is a fun game that most Jaguar owners will experience since it is the most common game. The game offers hours worth of gameplay and it's shortcomings should not destroy the game for anybody. If you loved games like Defender, you'll certainly like to fly through the levels in Cybermorph.

Do you have the 2 or 4 meg version?
Avoid the ground.
Shoot stuff.
System: Jaguar
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Shooter
Graphics Score: 75%
Sound & Music Score: 75%
Gameplay Score: 65%
Control Score: 80%

Final Score: 75%

Reader Comments for Cybermorph

Cybermorph by Pete5125 on 2007-06-10 11:00:37
I realy don't like this game, I do like Star Fox though. I have let others play it and it is weird it is either loved as the greatest game ever or thought of as not a bad time waister....The price is great either free or less than $5 on e-bay. I have been told by defenders of this game that the lack of music is great because a real Spaceship would not have music plus you can just play a CD in the background....Myself I think Atari should of changed the Pack-In game to Alien Vs Predator in yr 1, Tempest 2000 in yr 2, and Rayman in yr3. While space games sell...one of Atari's problems was kids opening the system playing the pack-in a game they never heard of then going to the store to find out that their were no Mario/Sonic/Sports games/or Mortal Kombat games on the system....If atari would of made Bubsy a little easier w/ a life bar instead of instantly dying when hit by enemy fire then he would of been a good pack in.....
Look at Nintendo Wii many people are buying it just for the pack in game and are content w/ the system even though a # of games on the system are rehashed PS2/Game Cube games w/ a new weird control...Basicaly Atari's situation in the 1st yr a few good games surrounded by 16 bit ports...a better pack in would of gave them another year
A Game all to Familiar..... by Guitarman on 2007-06-26 20:37:44
From the first time I purchased a Jag this game has always been a blacksheep companion to the system. I'll admit I was disappointed when I first popped in Cybermorph back in '95 but now as I look back and play the game it isn't so bad. The frame rate at first glance seems slower but in a minute or two of playing it is natural and flowing. The controls do their job but do seem slightly delayed but, like the frame rate, it gets very natural after playing for a few minutes.
This game has plenty of challenge to it with the many, many planets to figure out and conquer. I haven't even come close to beating this game so I know there's always a challenge waiting for me in Cybermorph.
Cybermorph 1st jaguar game by Fsporsche on 2008-10-01 08:42:46
This is one of the games that I have played the most..The rendering and the polygons in this game shows what the Jaguar is capable and what is to come in the near future. I know its the first game and pack-in but it does show the potential and the start of whats to come. I have used cheat codes to goto other worlds and I have enjoyed playing this game.
Nice review by James on 2014-06-01 20:38:42
I have not played Cybermorph yet. It came with my NIB Jaguar and it is the scarce 2-MEG version so I don't want to play it. However, after watching other reviews on video, to me personally the game doesn't seem that bad and certainly doesn't deserve the hate other reviewers give it. I enjoyed reading your review and I look forward to playing this game. Though I think I will pick up one of the common 1-MEG versions of Cybermorph. Thanks for the review!
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