Blast from the Past: Cybernator (SNES)

Retro Review


I have been playing a ton of shmups lately from the 80s and 90s but not many of them involved piloting a mech which feels and moves exactly like…well, exactly like you’re piloting a giant robot.

Cybernator has players jumping into the shoes or rather battle assault mech of Jake, a human enrolled in the military at 22. Earth is in turmoil once again, but this time not from an outside attacking force but from its own inhabitants. War broke out between two nations, the Axis and the Federation, for one of Earth’s diminishing resources, fossil fuel. Fighting on the side of the Federation it’s up to Jake and his squadron to try and stop the Axis from acquiring the fossil fuel as their methods are just inhumane and a danger to the human race.

Thankfully Jake is far from harmless and his mech is capable of a wide range of abilities, such as flying up into the air for a short distance with the aid of rockets on the mech’s back. The mech is also able to crouch and dash forward for a short distance as if on motorized roller blades thanks to the same rockets. Your main weapon, an automatic machine gun, can be aimed in multiple directions including diagonally across the screen. Your mech’s also capable of firing off missiles of its own as well as lasers and is able to use a melee attack and shield to block incoming projectiles. The mech was difficult to control at first but once I managed to get the hang of it, it really made me feel as if I was really piloting a monstrous hulk buster!

Just as it is with most shoot em ups, enemies are abundantly present. However unlike my recent shmups, these enemies are manageable and although most of the time there is a wide array of projectiles flying at you, you’ll be able to dodge or try and dodge them. Keep in mind I make it sound easy, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been hit by tracking lasers and even flaming cannon balls and homing mines (YES THESE MINES MOVE!). A small and yet satisfying feature within the game is when you blow up enemy mechs you’ll see their pilots ejecting and making a run for it when battling against them on the planet’s surface.

The level settings are even more intriguing as players will find themselves battling it out through space stations, space itself, Earth’s orbit as well as on the planet’s surface and sky. My favourite part was definitely Earth’s orbit battle as you’ll find yourself as well as a few enemies plummeting to Earth engulfed in an inferno and still battling through the fall by trying to fire at one another as well as dodge at the same time. Truly an epic battle!

Although the game’s name doesn’t really coincide with the entire premise (I mean Cybernator, you’d expect a game set in ‘cyberspace’ rather than actual space) it still is an excellent title which rang all my bells and whistles. If you’re into mechs, space battles, shmups and defending the Earth then this is a must. The music is upbeat and fast-paced which matches the battle situations and the sound effects such as the armoured battle suit landing hard on the ground gives even more effect to the depth of the player’s gameplay. This was definitely one of the best shooters I’ve played recently.


  • Mechs, mechs everywhere
  • Music
  • More story than most shmups
  • Multiple level settings = variety of fun


  • The dialogue pops up at odd times in the middle of the battles
  • Platforming with a mech = NO


Once you get used to controlling the mech, you will have more than a fighting chance of taking down the Axis with your stompy mech.


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