Cyberbots, a game taken off Capcom's US arcade and console release schedules after a depressing stateside test run, recently surfaced in Japan on the Saturn. Although it's not Capcom's best work, it's a near perfect translation of the Japanese arcade version, sure to satisfy die-hard genre fans.
Cyberbots occasionally feels way too much like other Capcom titles. This time, you fight as a robot instead of a human warrior, mutant, or monster. In a new twist, however, the character selection process now has two-steps - first you select a pilot, then a robot. Each pilot has his own storyline, which plays out over the course of the game. The initial twelve robots are varied, ranging from your basic mech to a many-legged crawling robot. As you might imagine, there are also a few hidden robots, including the boss bot Warlock, and Z-Gouki (a robotic version of Akuma from the Street Fighter series). In another deviation from 2-D fighting standard, Capcom has scaled down the six-button configuration to an easier-to-follow four. Of these four, two are for attacking, one allows your bot to dash about and hover in midair, and the fourth fires a projectile weapon. Purists need not worry, though - dragon punches, fireballs, and hurricane-kick style motions remain the basis for special moves, so you won't need to alter your strategy much.
Visually, Cyberbots is a masterpiece - if Capcom has perfected anything through its many endeavors, it's the sharp look of their games. Cyberbots takes full advantage of the Saturn's superior sprite-handling skills, delivers a sharp display, and has great animation. It also sports interactive backgrounds where buildings and other structures can be pummeled as each fight progresses. By comparison though, the soundtrack is merely good - not spectacular.
If you loved Darkstalkers, Marvel Super Heroes, and the rest of Capcom's fighting games, Cyberbots is a must-have for your library. Although it's not a big-name fighter, it's a welcome variation sure to please any die-hard fan picking it up on import.