System: Sega Genesis
Title: Cyborg Justice
This is probably a game you may have heard of. I know about it because of an old Video Game Rental place that also sold toys and Model Rockets. The Toy Store is long since out of business, but this game is still around. I grabbed it for some reason, probably because it had nice around and promised 216 possible Cyborg combinations. As a 2D Side-Scrolling Brawler, this game is an underappriated treasure (with some flaws). It offered nearly unheard of customization of your character at the time and let you do an insane number of moves. This quickly became one of the top games in that genre for me.
You are a Galatic Unity Officer sent out on a routine patrol assignment. During this, a sudden meteor storm causes you to veer off course. Not long into the storm your ship is heavily damaged and you crash into a nearby planet. This planet is owned by the Cydrek Foundation. Though your body is dying, your mind is still alive. They, against your will, convert you into a Cyborg and attempt to erase your memories. A serious error occurs later while you are working in the scrap-heaps, helping build numerous contraptions. Your human memories return and the Cydrek Foundation’s plans are immediately clear to you. Almost immediately the Overseers realize this and send everyone at with a single order: “Search and Destory”.
You start in the Cyborg construction room where you get to choose your Secondary Arm, Body and Legs. Each have different stats, with some arms doing more damage up close, others being capable of shooting foes at a distances and others being able to rip apart your opponent. The Torsos have different levels of damage absorption, so some may just be better than others (I still consider this choice the most cosmetic). Finally, the Legs, set how fast your Cyborg will initially move, and if they will have some additional abilities (specifically from the Tank and the Acrobatic Legs).
After that, you hit start and enter into the world. Here, you beat up your opponents, taking advantage of magnetic traps and them simply getting too close to tear them apart (sometimes quite literally). If an opponent has a Secondary Arm that you want, you could potentially rip it off them and put it in place of your own. Low on health? Rip off their arm then try to rip off their torso and absorb all the energy in it. Current legs too slow or are not performing as you expected? After the Arm and Torso, you can crouch down, pick up the legs and put them onto your own body.
While it offers a lot of options, the controls are tricky to handle, even by experienced players, making it less than reliable to do many of the various moves. Some though are ridiculously powerful (like the Jump Kick or the Low Shoulder Ram). What’s great is you can do any move the enemy can do. The problem with that … is just that. The computer can be fairly cheap as even blocking only works so well.
Either you can fight each other or you can team up and try to escape from the Cydrek Foundation together. You each get to build your own Cyborgs regardless (and can still rip-off the arms and torso. Player One gets to build their Cyborg first, then it changes over to Player Two.
For a game using an 8-directional D-pad and 3 buttons, it has a lot of commands. Frankly, this is the most complex part of the game. It functions more in a context-sensitive environment than one would expect for this generation. The D-pad is used in combination with the buttons to execute many attacks (and to duck or extend blocking using C). The “A” attacks are more brutal, but slower, while “B” attacks are the more standard fare for brawlers.
This is not what makes the game in this case. Even as a child I was not impressed by the graphics. They were fairly run-of-the-mill for the time. The backgrounds for the different segments of the levels are just color changed backgrounds of the same thing you just spent 5 minutes on.
Sound Effects & Music
These are what you’ll get tired of first (by second part of the first stage for me). As the music only changes when the scenery completely changes, and that takes a good bit of time. The only sound effect I regularly found satisfying though was the “Pop” of ripping of an arm. Always a good thing there.
This is not a very well known game.
While it is not a perfect game, it is still enjoyable (especially for stress-relief if you are good at the arm/torso removal). I don’t regret taking my time to track down the game and reorganize my entire TV set-up to incorporate the Genesis into it and get it working. I still consider it a good game and one I will gladly have my friends play at least once at some point (or suffer my talking of it).
Story: 75% Good premise
Gameplay: 79% Fairly diverse multiplayer and options for characters
Multiplayer: 80% Always fun to bash your friend to pieces (or rip them apart)
Controls: 79% Here’s where the complexity is
Graphics: 75% So so, nothing great
SFX & Music: 62% Give it one scene
Obscurity: 65% What Justice?
Overall: 77% Good game, worth trying