Cyber Citizen Shockman 1 & 2


    I think it’s really important to preserve games. It’s like a dream come true that all the games ever made will be out there for everyone to buy and play. But in the meantime, we’ve been getting re-released all the time, including games that never made it out of the 80s like Clockwork Aquario and the obscure PC Engine titles like Cyber Citizen and Shockman. Now they’re finally available in English and playable, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it. The graphics are cool and the music is great, but the games are just so bad. Shockman’s level design is so bad that if you said it was just a bootleg, I’d believe you. Ratalaika has all the usual options and cheats, but the games just aren’t very fun.

    It’s like a Mega Man knock-off, with all the jumping, shooting, and charging shots, but enemies and platforms are all randomly placed. It’s like a series of moving platforms with the same creature on every single one, and it just goes on and on. The way you can upgrade Shockman with money from the map is pretty cool, but even that’s pretty limited – you get two upgrades and that’s it. It’s better in Shockman 2, but not that much better. The level design looks like it’s been put a lot of thought into it. It’s still not as good as Mega Man, and there’s a lot of dialogue too, which doesn’t add much to the story. I know I’m a sucker for a platformer that has any kind of merit, but I had a hard time with either of these Shockman games. Collision detection, especially on the boss fights, is terrible and takes the whole experience with it.

    But again, I am glad that these games exist, and I am glad that they can be purchased, even if it’s just out of curiosity. They are cheap games that have a nice UI wrapped around them, and they are probably worth less than five bucks to those of us who care about gaming’s history or for general Japanese action game fans. I’d keep ‘em on my digital shelf. But the future of Retrogaming demands time and space for all of them, not just the best ones. And may Ratalaika continue to release these re-remasters with what seems like a decent front-end for all of them. With them, and with Limited Run Games using the Carbon engine for saving ever-greater classics – and with Digital Eclipse’s industry-leading work – we’re in pretty good shape when it comes to the history and preservation of Retrogaming. Cyber Citizen Shockman is a bad game. But it’s also history. And it deserves to be treated as such.

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