Recently I found myself thinking about an older game, one that I’d not played quite some time, it was called Cyborg Justice and while it wasn’t the prettiest game it was possibly one of the most fun games I ever played on the Mega Drive.
It’s not the best of starts for your unlucky character as they crash land on a mining colony in space and while the residents are able to save you it’s only by transferring your brain into a shiny new cyborg body! Normal procedure dictates that newly made cyborgs are subject to a memory wipe but fortunately for you it failed and you retain all of your memories. Time for some Cyborg Justice!
Whether you’re playing two player or single player as soon as you press start you’re given the option to outfit your new body as you see fit. Laser arms, tank legs, a lobster body, there’s a fair few options to customize your new form. I personally enjoyed using the pneumatic legs so I could leap around the screen. If you don’t like your initial choice however you can always steal parts from other robots later, although they may try to do the same!
Actually, part steal was often the main tactic in the vs fight, tearing off your opponents arm and then ripping them apart, it was a tricky move to beat unless you had the somersault legs and could hop to safety but it did kind of break the main game, often you would run around tearing the AI opponents to pieces like a metallic Jason Vorhees. Perhaps that why the single player felt a little repetitive. You mostly just dismantled wave after wave of cyborgs and occasionally struggled to leap over the chasms that the game threw at you. The cyborgs did get harder as you progressed and there were some heavy duty ones that proved more of a challenge but they weren’t adverse to dismantling you either and you’d often find yourself approaching them only to be insta-killed. More than a little frustrating!
Visually it was just like any other side scroller beat em up, though it lacked the diversity in the backgrounds that made games like ‘Streets of Rage’ entertaining, see the screen shot below for an example, that backdrop mostly repeats itself for the entirety of the level.
The sound wasn’t great either, a devastating punch should sound satisfying and substantial, not just a metallic clank when you connected a punch. The music was entertaining enough and complimented the cyborg carnage that took place on screen but it wasn’t anything memorable. Not the kind of track you had on your playlist for nostalgia’s sake!
Thinking back, the single player wasn’t really the reason we loved this game so much, we hardly even played it for the reasons I said above, instead this game was all about the multiplayer. There was a two player mode which was fun enough but really it was all about the versus fights. That’s when you and a friend could decorate your cyborg and frantically set about destroying each other. Often it was a made race to pull each others arms off, desperately going for that insta-kill other times we were somersaulting around the screen like a robotic aerobics display or even racing around each other on the tank legs that would you transform.
So really, perhaps it’s not the game I’m remembering fondly but the times it allowed us to have?