Tournament Cyberball


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 5

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 7


tcyberball1.bmp (555030 bytes)NFL players make too much money. Two things will happen according to Cyberball that will change that:

1.  If they don't get a first down, they die.
2.  They'll all be replaced by robots.

That's the rather grim reality of this futuristic sports game, a pseudo sequel to the original arcade game from 1989. It's missing quite a bit, and that will irk long time fans. Those who never experienced that cabinets duel-screen goodness will find this portable sports title a blast.

The rules of the future are of course different. There are seven players on field now, and different styles of robots are perfect for different positions. There are no downs. The ball continually gets hotter as you try for a first down. Either you make it past the line, or you blow up. There is no punting or field goals. Extra points are secured by what we currently refer to as two point conversions.

A lot of the strategy has been lost here. The teams are alike in every way, except for their respective playbooks. That puts people on equal ground, but leads to gameplay problems. It's far easier for the computer to intercept passes for some reason and there seems to be some speed advantages at work here.

Passing in this slightly tilted viewpoint is simple, and it works better than it sounds. You can throw to one of three pre-determined locations. Once the ball is thrown, players control the receivers to get them to the spot they need to be. The cheesy digitized voices let you know if it's worked. Up to four players can indulge in this one at once, so these tasks can be spread out.

tcyberball2.bmp (555030 bytes)Design flaws are apparent, notably the money issue. Upgraded players can be purchased when the opportunity (both financial and computer generated) arise. This gives the currently winning team a huge advantage, and squashes any chance of a classic John Elway-styled comeback. The running game is tough because of the indistinct graphics, slow pace, and tackles that occur before contact is actually made.

On a console, that would be enough to designate this game as a disaster. On the Lynx however, it just seems to work. It's fun to play in short bursts (even if you don't make it through all six quarters) and the quirks in the design are not that bothersome. Tournament Cyberball's unique spin on the sport is worth the asking price alone, and if you can find multiple players, this could very well turn into a personal classic.


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Last updated: Saturday, September 10, 2005 01:32 AM