by Mark Betteridge, Tim Stamper
Ultimate Play The Game
Crash Issue 28, May 1986   page(s) 26,27

Producer: Ultimate
Retail Price: £9.95
Author: Ashby Computer Graphics

Far away, deep in space, is the Zebarema, a closely knit cluster of worlds and stars. This is a very unusual planetary system, held in a powerful lattice of plasmic energy - a mega powerful magnetronic field. In short, it's not a place that people would really want to go to: it would take a ship of previously unheard of power to land and actually be able to pull free of the incredible pulse field that surrounds each of the Zebarema worlds. No, this is not a nice place to go and no sane person would venture anywhere near the Zebarema are formed from Cybertron, an anti-element which crystallises to form Cybernite when it is exposed to positive matter space.

People will go to pretty amazing lengths to rule the galaxy and Cybernite is the elemental key to galactic domination. It is the hardest substance that exists, just the sort of thing that is most handy if starmining is your trade. Starmining is a pastime which confers the reward of ultimate power - get good at it, and the energy market becomes yours. Great minds worked hard and long on the Cybernite problem and a solution was set upon. A ship of truly awesome engine strength has been constructed in sections, which have been transported to the Zebarema system. This mega ship, capable of escaping from the Antiplasmic Lattice with a cargo of Cybertron, needs to be assembled. You have been chosen to pilot the command module of this craft to the Zebarema system, and must find the mega boosters, solar sails and other add-ons scattered around the area and create the ultimate spacecraft.

The task is not a simple one - you're not the only fellow after galactic domination and there's another ship of a similar design to yours scavenging the planet for ship parts. Alien beings are out to halt or at the very least hinder you. The worst thing about these aliens is their suicidal side of their nature: kamikaze body bashes into the ship's hull is their speciality. Luckily though, the ship in your command is made of a sterner stuff than the average alien, and they smear explosively, though not harmlessly, over your shield field. The shield takes a pounding, losing energy with each attack and if it gets to zero then 'BLAM'. At least you have four ships to play with.

Cyberun is a scrolling game, and the background whizzes behind your ship which sits centrally on the screen. The background is shown from a side on, cross sectional viewpoint and the playing area is huge. Flying skywards takes the ship into a zone with meteors and shooting stars, though the magnetronic field prevents all but the most fully equipped ship from going spaceside. Drifting back through the atmosphere, stratospheric cloud formations are encountered - some clouds are happy to rain harmfully on you while others are solid enough to provide a perch - then you're back at sea level where a complex cave system needs to be explored.

Left, right, thrust and fire enable an experienced pilot to perform proficiently. No down control is provided because gravity sees to that. The weapon system, when activated, sends a pulsing bolt of plasma into the inky black, dealing death to any bad guys that it spears through. A plasma ray can also be added to the inventory of equipment. Though the command module is a neat bit of kit, ship customisation is a must, as the basic craft is very slow. Two boosters are to be found near to the start point of your mission: a horizontal one and a vertical one. Fly through them and they become part of the ship automatically, handily enhancing your capabilities.

Enhanced though you may be, death is still a readily available commodity within the Zebarema worlds. A small graphic representation of your craft appears on the top of the screen and its colour changes every time damage is received. Fuel is limited, and the level in your tanks is indicated by the thermometer gauge running down the right hand side of the screen. Extra fuel can [be] picked up from fuel stations around the planetary surface which spout droplets of this precious commodity. Fly through a droplet of fuel and the gauge gets well excited, repeaking to the 'full' mark. And death is worth avoiding, especially when the prize is total power. Are you megalomaniac enough to take the strain?


Control keys: Z, C, B, M left, X, V, N, SYM SHIFT right, second row of keys for up, third row fire lasers, number keys for plasma ray
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Use of colour: quite pretty
Graphics: very good, neat scrolling
Sound: jingles and spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: huge scrolling playing area

After the last few Ultimate releases this is the last thing I expected. No Filmation I or II or anything like that - it's more like their old Lunar Jetman style and could well be mistaken for a follow up to the classic shoot em up. Initially this shoot em up / arcade adventure seems to be more of a regression than progression, but once you start playing it becomes increasingly clear that Ultimate have produced yet another excellent game. The playing area is huge and there are some excellent graphical effects like the stars which are beautifully parallaxed. It's nice seeing Ultimate produce something other than a Filmation game and a game which someone can wholeheartedly recommend.

Ultimate's last release was, as usual, a brilliant game. Now finally, after two years, [they] have released a shoot em up. Cyberun is effectively the follow on to Lunar Jetman. The graphics are very good and playability wise Cyberun is an excellent game. Going around shooting the assorted nasties is fun. The idea of gradually equipping your ship is a very good one - the inlay card doesn't give much away, so it is a challenge just to find out what all the various goodies are for. Shoot em ups are always fun and Cyberun is no exception. The overtones of arcade adventure make it just as addictive. This is a classic shoot em up which I'm sure all fans of Lunar Jetman will enjoy.

So, Ultimate are back in the shoot em up stakes again. I'm sure fans of the earlier games will be pleased; I know I am! The graphics are very good, and move as they should do, smoothly and evenly. Pity about the colour clashes, but I suppose they couldn't avoid them. The game itself is very good fun, and I found it quite challenging, though the sort of people who complete an Ultimate game every ten minutes will disagree. Value for money is pushed up with the inclusion of a head cleaner and generally, I think Ultimate have got their act back together again: hooray!

Use of Computer: 88%
Graphics: 91%
Playability: 91%
Getting Started: 82%
Addictive Qualities: 92%
Value For Money: 89%
Overall: 90%

Summary: General Rating: A good arcade adventure shoot em up!

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 6, Jun 1986   page(s) 30


Aha! Sussed it at last. Know why the megabrill programmers at Ultimate Play-The-Same never speak to anyone, let alone reveal their true identities? Its 'cos they're all dead. Have been for years. Only their brains have been kept warmed through in some cryogenic chambers left over from Alien 8 days.

Well, at least that might explain why Ultimate's Original Ideas Department seems to be regressing at a rate of flops. It doesn't stop 'em writing great games but when they say Cyberun is the greatest journey of all time, they mean it - right down memory lane at light speed. Yep, it's a rehash of Jet Pack!

You start off with a small spaceship and your aim in life is to bob around the clouds picking up new bits to bolt onto it. While being molested, of course, by all sorts of silly sprites - including one of those great Big-Trak toys, some refugees from Games Designer and a couple of flying V signs (don't give me ideas, chaps). By the book - Up, down, left, right and Fire - and all that.

But I'll eat my rubber keyboard if it ain't one of the best plays around, possibly the very pinnacle of its genre - you can fly right up into the stars, scrape along the planet surface and weave your way through endless underground caverns.

You need to hunt out the right gear for the job - at the start get thrusters for speed, boosters for vertical motion and the little blobby gun that shoots homing missiles. Or else forget it. And besides the vast range of equipment tying about, the aliens, however hackneyed, all have their own particular vices and virtues. Even the clouds are trouble - talk about acid rain! Which means a lot of play before you can even consider what you're actually s'posed to be looking for...

A classic pick-up-the-pieces-'n'-shoot-'em-up with brilliant graphics, super smooth play and all the strictly gratuitous violence you could ever wish for... sheer magic... raw arcade action at its best... a veritable tour-do-force... possibly even worth the wait... And when I've finished it, I'm going to rush out and get Pssst!

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 9/10
Value For Money: 5/10
Addictiveness: 9/10
Overall: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 51, Jun 1986   page(s) 70

Publisher: Ultimate
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, cursor

Surfing through the galaxy, propelled by your thrusters, you scour the surrounding space scene, not knowing what is going to happen next.

Yup, Ultimate's done it again. It's released Cyberun with no instructions, no hints on what to avoid - blue saucers and revolving horseshoes are particularly vicious - and no tips on what to look for. All you get is a long history of Zabarema, Cybertron and Cybernite - which isn't a lot of help.

The first thing is to find the vertical and horizontal thrusters, without which movement is like swimming through a sea of syrup. These can be 14 found near your start point and are vital to the search for - well, you'll have to work out what!

There are hoards of aliens floating around and those are joined by shooting stars and meteors. Avoid these as they wear down your shields and you'll explode. Not good. Blue ones should be avoided at all costs, one collision and you're a Cyberun gonner.

The landscape is mountainous with almost vertical slopes. Difficult to fly up and avoid the aliens at the same time. On top you may find a volcano. Hang around and something may happen. In the valleys are the entrances to a maze of caves and tunnels. Here the Cybernite Crystals gleam though they are not easy to collect and the plasma ray may come in handy.

Lurking in space, among the usual interstellar debris, are platforms bearing photon torpedoes and a plasma ray gun. The torpedoes look just like bullets and behave in a very strange manner - make sure you don't bump into any as they whiz around.

The clouds drifting aimlessly by are also vital to your mission. They tend to clog up your spacecraft, but they also need to be harnessed at one point in the game.

The graphics are pretty sparse and there isn't an awful lot of colour, presumably because there are depths to the game which you'll only see if you work out the puzzles.

I spent ages flounding around - there's an awful lot to do but you don't know how - and I found Cyberun, initially, very frustrating. Only after a while did things start to make sense and fall into place.

Cyberun offers quite a challenge, more so as there are no instructions other than a lengthy storyline. Some extra hints to start would have helped.

Overall: 3/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 56, Jun 1986   page(s) 21

MACHINE: Spectrum 48K
SUPPLIER: Ultimate
PRICE: £9.95

This is it. The game we've been waiting for. Cyberun was rumoured to be the game that would put Ultimate back on top. Wrong. Cyberun should be remaned Alsoran.

I first glimpsed Cyberun with a programmer - who shall remain nameless - who is destined to have a number one hit with his latest game. His big fear would be that Cyberun would come out and steal all his thunder. I've never seen someone more happy than him after a few seconds of looking at Ultimate's latest. "There must be more to it than that," he said.

Now the plot. There exists in the dark outer reaches of space a cluster of dark stars and planets, bound together by "plasmic energy" and composed of an anti-element called Cybertron.

Cybertron can be crystalised into the hardest and most valuable element in the universe - Cybernite. It is, therefore, very valuable and everyone wants it.

To get at the Cybernite, an almost unbeatable "magnetronic" pull must be overcome.

The construction Crystal ship, an enormous cargo carrier, has been undertaken to get the precious substance. But other galaxies will be out to stop you.

At least I think that's what it's about The storylines have in the - past always been an interesting read on Ultimate games, This one is a little confusing. One part reads "civilisations have devoted their entire resources to prying off one of the smaller outerplanets from the main cluster..." What does "prying" mean? To pry means to peer and peep into something which is private. It doesn't make much sense at all.

Right, to play the game. Because of the size of the Crystal ship it has had to be constructed in stages and these have been shipped off to the Zebarema system.

You start off with the command module and must find two sets of rockets and boosters.

Zapping aliens boosts your score but at the same time I got destroyed with infuriating frequency. There may be a dynamite game lurking somewhere in Cyberun. But the more one plays, the more you get the impression there isn't.

Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 6/10
Playability: 6/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue 6, Jun 1986   page(s) 47


The first result of the U.S. Gold/Ultimate tie-up. Will this game be another Ultimate mould-breaker or just plain mouldy? The major problem which confronts you when you try to play an Ultimate game is that the goal is not spelt out in the whimsical instructions. You get the idea that pieces of your ship are scattered all over the place. The idea is to go round picking them up; then what? Generally just shoot everything in sight and a few vague hints about crystals, I suppose.

Controls are of the jet-pack variety - left, right and thrust; gravity takes care of the rest. You start with a fairly generous allowance of five lives, each of which is lost by being hit three times.

The graphics show an inhospitable alien landscape with clouds, meteorites, comets, caves and the whole place full of aliens in many shapes and sizes. It is all very atmospheric and pretty but scarcely the kind of thing to set the world on fire.

There is said to be a virtually insatiable market for shoot-'em-ups and, as they go, this is certainly superior to most. It is tough, addictive, fast and colourful, with pretty explosions. It is great fun putting the ship together and deciding which pieces you can attach in which order. It is the kind of game which will generate a cult following as people discover the built-in wrinkles in the system. Not the kind of game to launch a million imitations but a competent effort nonetheless.

Graphics: 3/5
Sound: 3/5
Playability: 4/5
Value For Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ZX Computing Issue 26, Jun 1986   page(s) 14

Ultimate/U.S. Gold

Well, have Ultimate managed a return to form after the relative disappointment of their recent releases? No, I'm afraid not. My first reaction upon loading up Cyberun was that it's a step back to the days Lunar Jetman-style shoot 'em ups, and after playing it for a while it's clear that Cyberun is a bit more sophisticated than the Jetman games but by no means as impressive or as addictive as the unsurpassed Knight Lore which was probably the game that took Ultimate's reputation to its height.

The planets of the Beta Gamma System are composed of the special element Cybertron, and bound together by a lattice of Plasmic energy. Once the Cybertron ore is remove from the lattice it runs into Cybernite, one of the most valuable substances in the known universe. But the magnetic pull of the Beta Gamma System is so strong that only the specially constructed Crystal Ship can escape with the Cybertron, and this ship is so huge that it has had to be constructed in stages and the individual sections left on the surface of the planet.

At the start of the game you are in control of the command module of the Crystal Ship, which moves fairly sluggishly over the surface of the planet. As you explore the landscape you'll find the other sections of the ship which build up to give you much greater manoeuverability and fire power, as well as extra fuel supplies to keep you going. As with Lunar Jetman, the planet seems to be populated by various enemies which take to the skies in an attempt to keep you from reaching your goal, and there is also another ship similar to your own in competition with you for the valuable Cybertron.

The graphics are large and finely detailed, but have stepped back to the standard two-dimensional style of most shoot 'em ups, though the size of the planet is quite impressive, with lots of caverns and mountains to add a bit of spice to your frantic manoeuverings. The main challenge in Cyberun seems to be coping with the enemy craft that stand in your way, and as with the Jetman games there's a two-player option which indicates that just running up a high score is the main purpose of the game.

There's no doubt that Cyberun is a highly professional and slick arcade game, but with everyone expecting so much from Ultimate that's not really enough to avoid disappointment. And with the price of £9.95 Cyberun really ought to be something rather special. Oh well, maybe the long-awaited Pentagram will do something to resurrect Ultimate's reputation but at the moment it still looks like they're resting on their laurels.

Overall: Great

Award: ZX Computing Globella

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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