Cytron Masters

Review by Dave Beech, Hull


Issue 6

Nov/Dec 83

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1/2 PLAYERS   

... and now for something completely different. How many of you are becoming a bit jaded with arcade games and other run of the mill Atari software? For those who are, CYTRON MASTERS may well be the answer. It offers a good blend of strategy and arcade-type action that does not finish after a frantic, monster-blasting couple of minutes.

The game is produced by SSI who are renowned for their historically accurate war games and tactical space games. These are better left to dedicated war-gamers however as they require a good understanding of strategic movement and elements of war.

Originally written for the Apple computer, CYTRON MASTERS was to be a straightforward conversion for the Atari, however when the author, Dan Bunten, began the work, he was pleasantly surprised at how much better the Atari was against the Apple! In his own words-'not just a conversion, but a definite upgrade'. 

CYTRON MASTERS can be played by one player against the computer or by two players against each other. There are three difficulty levels - novice, master and grand master. 

The object of the game is to destroy your opponent's command centre. To enable you to do this, you have at your disposal CYbernetic elecTRONic devices. These are mines, bunkers, shooters and commanders. Also available are missiles and anti-missiles. The action takes place on a battlefield of 38 by 18 spaces. Located in each half is the player's command centre and four power centres. Each Cytron is beamed down onto the battlefield from the command centre and once down begins advancing towards the enemy half. It will move three spaces on its own initially but will then wait for further orders to be moved left, right, back or forward. All commands are input via the joystick from menus displayed below the battlefield.

There are two ways to move your Cytrons -  individually or as a group. The latter is by far the most effective. The number of Cytrons you can make is governed by the power you have available. This is shown on a gauge below the battlefield and itself is governed by how many power centres you have. Capture of your opponent's power centres is therefore very useful.

Shooter Cytrons automatically fire at any enemy unit within 3 spaces and each Cytron requires a varying number of hits before it is destroyed. Mine Cytrons explode on impact and are the only unit capable of destroying a command centre. Bunkers are mobile defensive units. To move a group of Cytrons needs the presence of a commander. Missiles hould be used wisely as they use up the most power. Once launched they are directly controlled by the joystick and when detonated will destroy anything within 4 spaces. The only defence is an anti-missile.

This game is not a frenzy of colour and sound but contains some very neat graphics and effects like the scaled-down explosions and laser blasts. It also requires a bit more brain power than the average arcade game but nonetheless is very playable. I have not seen anything else quite like it for the Atari and in that respect it is unique. Definitely one of my top ten Alari games. As I said in the beginning ...