A few years ago, as we all sadly know, the entire Planet and our very lives were put on hold by a terrible pandemic. Being stuck at home for a long time, many of us found some relief in going back to old hobbies and passions; some were playing, and others were coding …
I personally do not know if this applies to Mutation Software as well, but they sure are back with a vengeance to bring joy in our lives with their awesome games, all covered on this blog by the almighty Tony: from Castle Kingdom to Tommy Gun to Wiz, our Guru gave us previews on things to come, all meant for our beloved Amigas.
The latest installment in this series is CyberPunks2 (take a peek at the preview here), a direct sequel of the game developed by Mutation Software and published by Core Design in 1993. As the author says: “CyberPunks 2 Next Generation was written for stock Amiga A1200 and CD32 computer systems. The game was designed and developed on and off over a period of approx 1750 man-hours from 2020 to 2023. It’s written in 100% 680×0 assembly language. Now mostly a hobby, this game was great fun to create on Amiga once again. Many hours were spent fine-tuning it to make it as fun and engaging as possible for you to play.”
Having spent a few hours into the game I can tell you that it delivers exactly what it promises: big (and graphically inspired) levels, loads of enemies to shoot, a peculiar fire squad you will love from the ground up, and fun mission objectives to achieve. Not to mention a brilliantly revised look of the protagonists, as you can see by comparing the pictures above with the ones in the preview.
Having said that, let’s take a deep look into it, starting by meeting our cyber marines. I am pretty sure you know them all already (especially their live-action alter egos, but just in case … LOL!)
Roar Muto: Primarily a science officer, he is the result of a near-fatal self-mutation experiment in an attempt to gain superhuman strength. Possessing enhanced endurance but now forced to wear a cyber mask to breathe, this battle-hardened space marine brings squad leadership and computer terminal hacking skills to the team.
Tony Skullz: A half-man half-droid cyborg whose extreme battle damage in the past, has meant that many cyber implants were fused to his body to survive. He’ll help inflict much damage as the team’s squad defense and recon specialist. He’s nicknamed ‘Skullz’ given his total cyber head implant.
Moya Blaze: The female of the team is a very experienced combat space marine. Squad backup and advanced laser weapons training are amongst her many additional abilities. Her legendary cyberpunk mother ‘Bee’ took down the huge RD98 master robot in the droid riots over 3 decades ago! She always has the team’s back in battle.
Your squad will land at the start of the mission by dropship and the game begins once it has departed. Your first mission will be to rescue a “certain” AmigaBill, held captive on the roofs of New New York.
The gameplay is simple and effective: move the characters around the various levels whilst collecting the many pickups and bonus items to be found on each new level. From weapons to medipacks to keys, you’ll find everything you need to traverse each level. Battle against many strange alien enemies to progress through the mission ahead and also try to collect as much crypto currency and score points as possible. The team energy bar and inventory will be shown at the bottom of the screen to give you a quick visual aid as to your team’s status and collected items. Items are removed from the inventory as they are used, and total mission attempts (lives) can be monitored as well.
As odd as it may sound, I didn’t actively follow the project until very recently so, despite knowing Mutations Software’s skills, I was not prepared for what I found. The result went well beyond my expectations, thanks to an addictive gameplay, well-designed levels, iconic avatars, and mesmerizing music … in particular, for the first stage, I loved the look of NNY underneath and moving around in search of a way out. Where the hell did AmigaBill go?
As said, to traverse each level your team will need to collect various colored security door key cards and bypass circuits, to open the many doors and force fields that are to be found scattered throughout the game world. Also, access to terminals will allow one to upgrade weapons and buy medikits, definitely a must before engaging with those big bosses. Failing to do so will put your mission in danger, as you will notice in a bit.
Examining the terminal screen you may notice an interesting entry: decode key disk. As stated in the user manual: “There is only one in the entire game. When found and taken to a terminal with the correct amount of credit, it will reveal a secret message once decoded. The disk is destroyed after use.”
I strongly suggest you do exactly as stated, at least once, because it will lead to very unexpected (and pretty hilarious) results.
Getting back to our first assignment, after exterminating a consistent number of horrific creatures, I actually managed to reach Bill on top of the last roof. The boss fight was challenging (mostly because I suck at these games), but I still managed to succeed. Please notice the amount of remaining health at the end of the encounter… the team almost died, but Bill is safe, so he will be able to keep streaming and cheer us up!
After the mission ends, a numeric code is given, so the player can skip an already beaten level and engage in the new one. I’ll now post pictures of a couple of other stages, just to show you guys how different (and beautiful) they are.
As stated in the manual, there currently are some issues with accelerated Amiga systems where a slowdown is noticeable during gameplay. Should this be your case, simply go to the options menu and disable the CPU cache (“CPU caches off if slowdown”). Aside from that, I did not encounter any issues while playing, and I can’t wait to play some more.
From a more technical standpoint, the present game testing was performed on the AmigaForever emulator by Cloanto; then, a thorough check was done on a real A1200, with an 8MB FastRAM expansion (not required by the game specs) using floppy disks as a medium.
To develop the game Mutation Software used many different tool, such as:
- Coding: Sublime Text, WinUAE, Devpac 3, Hex Editor and, Tiled;
- Graphics: DPaint 3 & 5, Converter (custom tool), PS, Disco Diffusion AI, MidJourney AI, Blender;
- Sound: Protracker (Amiga), Protracker (PC), Cooledit, Sound Snap.
Finally, screen resolution was set at 320×240 Dual Playfield AGA & 320×256 (256 colours).
Now, if none of the above is still enough to convince you to give CyberPunks2 a try, please take a look at the box and goodies: I’m sure you will change your mind. Sales opened on May 5th, at noon GMT. All versions (digital download, physical boxed, big glossy box) are available HERE.
30 years on … are you ready to lead the next generation of CyberPunks on even more dangerous missions into space and beyond? Engage in battle against relentless swarms of alien creatures with your team of cyber marines and return order to a chaotic planetary system.
The author of this article wishes to thank:
Mutation Software for this wonderful game, AmigaBill for his awesome streams, Tony for giving me the chance of reviewing this title in advance, Roar for his inspirational art, Moya for her constant presence on the Amiga scene, and all my fellow Amigans for being such a friendly community.
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