The date is 2044 and the world is run for profit by global corporations that make their own rules and break everyone else's. The genre is comic book, artistic, colourful and gaudy (see the box cover above) and presumably very hot as a lot of people don't wear very much at all.The back story for the player is told in a short comic book provided with the game. Despite being a nondescript, no-name, mr no-life you manage a burst of unlikely heroism and rush to the aid of a stranger, your rescue is successful but it costs you your life. The grateful stranger rushes your still warm and broken corpse back to a mysterious underground laboratory and puts you back together again, installing in the process a 'darklight gem' in the centre of your forehead. This enables you both to live and to tap into magic powers. Unfortunately as you are being regenerated (think Seven of Nine) the process is disrupted and you wake up in a strange lab with your saviour gone.
As you will learn you have become a prized item with a number of corporations being interested in posessing the Darklight Gem; primarily a nasty corporate boss called NeCrom. You have a lot of running and hiding to do.
Size is not everything but you get your money's worth:
- This is a big game there are 37 levels (more depending how you count them) some of which are quite large and outdoors. In some levels it is easy to get lost and difficult to find an item needed to progress.
- There are nearly 40 pieces of dialogue/monlogue to drive the story along and that doesn't include the news reports you can hear when passing monitors in the street.
- There are 43 unique items needed to progress in the game (keys etc).
- There are 50 items that boost or help in one way or another.
- There are 13 weapon types and their ammunition.
- There are 24 characters/monsters (some friendly most not).
- There are 8 magic powers you can possess and control.
The game was also the first to introduce vehicles that you could drive or fly (Tanks, Aircar and Jumpjets).
The game includes a rudimentary economy where you can earn/find money and spend it in shops or gamble it away. It even has blood banks where money can be had for blood.
The storyline is coherent and well told.
All this variety makes for a very complex and a very difficult game. Hanging all this together into a coherent package in 1995 was a first and unfortunately also a challenge for the computers that most of us used back then.
The game is divided into ten scenes:
Weapons, Armour and ItemsEdit
Friends and EnemiesEdit
All living things have Mara a sort of 'life energy' and when they die this appears as a transparent ghostly figure hovering over the body that will soon start to dissapate away. If the Mara is blue moving through it will boost health, however if the Mara is golden then some health will be lost permanently.
Keyboard and Mouse ControlsEdit
The Key Board and Mouse controls are given here.
It is quite difficult to get this game running smoothly on DosBox, it can be quite jerky in places; notably when driving vehicles; this is a common problem with some old games on DosBox. Cybermage amongst others really is a game best played natively if you can - I have a Celeron 2.3Ghz running Windows 98 and it smooths most of the jerky parts out.