Cyber Lip: Historical Revisionism by Bobak!
Contra.. All credit to Konami, its been almost 15 years since their legendary shooter hit the arcades and we, as reviewers, are still drawing comparisons (only now has the Metal Slug series finally given the now defunct Contra series a challenge to supremacy). Yet before we start patting ol' SNK and Nazca on the back for creating their own legacy, let's take a look back on SNK's first entrant into the world of Neo Geo shooters. After all, before there was Metal Slug, there was...well, Top Hunter. And before Top Hunter there was Cyber-Lip: their first foray into the world of Contra-style platform shooters!
The story of Cyber-Lip is pretty standard fare (with the early Neo Geo tradition of a cheesy comic in the manual): By 2020, Earth has created a colony in space and created an android army to defend it from alien attack (from the manual's emphasis -or lack thereof, you can assume that aliens have been attacking the station from day one). All of a sudden Cyber-Lip, our master defense computer (picture Sky-Net from the Terminator series) decides to malfunction and attack us. The President is left no choice but to send Rick & Brook (soldiers with distinguished records fighting in the on-going wars here on peace-loving Earth) to go and stop the renegade Cyber-Lip. Join the fighting duo as they take the hopes of Earth into space!
Usually I don't begin a review with control, but Cyber-Lip is an exception. Cyber-Lip has excellent controls except for one single, vital omission: The ability to shoot diagonally. This has been one of SNK's weird eccentricities since day one: In Magician Lord, only one of seven characters could shoot diagonally; in Metal Slug, only the Heavy Machine Gun could should diagonally... And in Cyber-Lip, nobody can shoot diagonally except for your enemies (?!). Konami never made that error -and, as a result, even the NES version of the game shone. Cyber-Lip, for all of its good response and interesting power-ups, really suffers without the ability to understand the use of 45-degree angles.
Of the launch-games for the Neo Geo, Cyber-Lip (and Magician Lord) did the best job of showing off what the vast color palate of the Neo Geo was capable of. While the visuals are dated by today's standards (it is over 10 years old), it still keeps you watching. Just don't be too surprised if the enemies don't vary very much in design or the backgrounds stay within a certain style -it shouldn't get in the way.
Music/SFX: Sphero-Syphony Strikes Again!
Heaven only knows why SNK composed its early games using the "Sphero Symphony" concept, but it just dilutes whatever good sounds they had created for Cyber-Lip. The music is rather primitive, but appropriate to the dark Sci-Fi theme. Nothing too terrible, but it could have been a lot better without being "Sphero-fied."
Cyber-Lip hasn't really aged all that well, but its still not a total loss. It can usually be found for a reasonable price, and even without the diagonal-shot feature it can be fun with two people. There are a few attempts at multiple paths in the game (rudimentary, but appreciated), and the ending is actually quite refreshing for such an old Sci-Fi game. Other than that, there's really nothing more to be had.
Bobak!: is a myth. He does not exist.
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by Kazuya_UK - Courtesy of Kazuya's
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