A work genius from Raffaele Cecco with a suitably chirpy but mechanical tune from Dave Rogers. This a simple but very effective musical piece that really enhances the game as it doesn’t get in the way of the game, just sits nicely in the background.
The same can’t be said for the C64 version as it has a loud pumping soundtrack by Jeroen Tel that smacks you right in the face. Its a great piece but I personally prefer the more nuanced Spectrum track.

The Game

Federation storage depots have been raided by pirates, taking valuable minerals, jewels, ammunition and the latest battle weaponary. You have been commissioned by the Federation to retrieve the cargo and return it to a storage within a specified time limit. Extra points and an extra ship will be awarded if you succeed.

The pirate craft have activated all planetary defence systems which you will have to negotiate as well as the pirates themselves. If you fail to reach the depot within the time limit or the value of your retrieved cargo is insufficent you must forfeit one of your Cybernoid ships.

Critical Reaction

Complete universal acclaim greeted the release of this game and quite rightly so. Crash gave Cybernoid 96/100 along with a Crash Smash;

Fantastic! Who needs 16-bit machines when Hewson and Raffaele Cecco can produce games like this on the 8-bit Spectrum. Cybernoid is perfect in every way that a computer game should be: it has excellent sound, excellent graphics and excellent colour. In fact I cannot find anything wrong with it at all! The animation is the best I’ve seen for a long, long time, and the way you can add equipment to your ship to make it stronger is great, too. The backgrounds are all well drawn, as are the sprites. Understandably there is some colour clash but this is bearable and even adds to the effectiveness of the explosions. There’s a good 128K tune constantly playing in the background and the special FX make it sound even better. As I’ve said before, it’s the little extra touches that make a game enjoyable to play, and Cybernoid has plenty of these: volcanoes, animated cannons, and scrolling borders all make the game pleasing to the eye. Well done Hewson: the ultimate Spectrum arcade game!

  • 9/10 and a Megagame – Your Sinclair
  • 10/10 and a Classic – Sinclair User
  • 9/10 – C&VG

Format jumping to the C64 and we have Zzap (we always seem to have ZZap….) who felt the need to give a rating of only 93/100 and thus a Sizzler award;

The visual impression is superb: colourful backdrops, comprise a combination of slimy vegetation and metallic structures to give a completely otherworldly feel. What’s really impressive is the amount of movement on screen, particularly when you’ve just destroyed a huge green plant  that been spitting plasma bolts at you; even though the action slow down, it doesn’t interfere with the frenetic action. Sonically it’s way above average, with a great soundtrack complementing the explosive spot effects. However, there’s only one word the gameplay – brilliant! A multitude of weapons are at your disposal, unobtrusively accessed from the keyboard, with the ability to blast just about everything in sight. The time limitation and cargo requirement features only add spice to the incredibly fast and addictive action. Each level combines quick reactions with occasional pixel perfect positioning to create a polished, professional and compelling game. Miss it and you’re missing the best shoot ’em up so far this year.

My Thoughts

Before I launch into giving you my thoughts on this game (it’s brilliant) I should mention that I am going to give my opinion on both the Spectrum and Commodore versions of Cybernoid.

So with that in mind let start with the commonalities;

Both versions are brilliant. Without a doubt the best shooter on the Spectrum and definitely up there with Armalyte on the Commodore. The gameplay is smooth and very good fun but by no means easy. In fact it’s a very difficult game and only using your wits, reactions and strategy will you be able to pass each screen. Do not expect to complete this game with one life, it will never ever happen. You will die, you will die lots and lots but you won’t care because your having an amazing time.

Graphically the Spectrum version gets the edge for me. Sure it does suffer with the classic Spectrum problem of Colour Clash but the game looks more vibrant and alive. Raffaele Cecco has done a superb job to minimise this problem and generally you won’t notice it. The Commodore version looks rather bland and dull when you put the side by side and frankly the graphics look blocky and less detailed – this was a common problem on many Commodore games.

As I opened with my thoughts on the music I won’t go into too much detail but leave it for you to decide when you listen to the music.



Overall I do prefer the Spectrum version. Some people would argue that is because I owned a Spectrum and thus my loyalties will be there – they are, but taking an objective approach is what I am aiming for in this blog. The fact is the Spectrum version looks better (it’s not blocky or dull) and sounds better.

The Music

ZX Spectrum 128k
Commodore 64

About Phendrena

Father, Retro Gamer, PC Gamer.

4 responses »

  1. Glen McNamee says:

    “The fact is the Spectrum version looks better and sounds better.”

    I don’t think you should do any more of these compairsons, because that’s just silly.

    • phendrena says:

      A fair comment. I suppose we don’t want any of the ‘mines better than yours’ bitching we had in the 80’s.

      Still, i think my observation was valid.

      • Glen McNamee says:

        If you had said another Raffaele Cecco game e.g. Exolon I’d probably agree with you, but Cybernoid on the C64 is a masterpiece. The Jeroen Tel soundtrack is ground breaking, and stands up as one of the most highly rated 8bit game soundtracks of all time.

        Also saying the C64 graphics are bland and dull is bizarre. They are very well drawn, vibrant and colourful. Just compare the graphics of the Cybernoid ship. The Spectrum version is a single colour and bulbous, in comparison with the colourful and sleeker c64 version.

        The game play is very similar on both systems however the C64 benefits from sprite based graphics which prevents it from stuttering during the larger explosions which the Spectrum version suffers from.

        I will openly admit I’m 100% C64, and I too seriously don’t want to have a game of “mines better than yours” , but respectfully I think you Spectrum loyalties have defeated your attempts to be Objective.

    • phendrena says:

      Don’t get me wrong i like both the Speccy & C64. They both had some amazing games with amazing music and graphics and both machines had their faults.

      Might review my next entry before I post it…. Xenon.

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