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PRICE: US $69.95

As first-person perspective games are taking a growing part of the computer game's market, many developers are trying to design new games that would appeal to the fans of Doom. S.S.I, after LucasArts and Apogee, has released such a game developed by Raven Software, the makers of Shadowcaster. The game, named "Cyclones", is available on both floppy and CD-ROM. The CD features full-motion video and cinematics that are not available on the disk version.

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Cyclones stands for Cybernetics Clones, creations of an alien race who conquered the Earth. These aliens captured human beings to transform them into monstrous creatures made of steel. Your goal is to destroy them to ultimately reach the alien commander as he supposedly controls the whole alien invading force.

This will not be an easy task as you must affront different types of Cyclones, the attack machines, the alien monsters and the aliens themselves. The Cyclones will be your first encounters with Berserkers, Grunts, NCO's and Officers. If the Berserkers are easy to stop, it will not be the same for the others armed with weapons ranging from projectile weapons to plasma guns. There are three kinds of alien monsters: the Pitbull, the Ape and the Wasp. As they have been biologically engineered, they are more destructive than you could imagine at the first glance, so watch out when you face one of them.

Cyclones also feature robots and droids like the Gunball, Trackbot, Flybot, and aliens. There are four categories of aliens: Worker, Scientist, Warriors and the Commander. Nothing is known at the beginning about any of them, but one thing is clear, you will find out for yourself just how strong they are when they appear in front of you!

Raven Software designed a series of options not available in other games of this type. The automap gives you a 3D isometric view of the area with the following possibilities: zoom, rotate, wall, door, ceiling and floor. The zoom option is so obvious that it requires no explanation as well as the rotate button. The wall button toggles between solid walls and wire frame walls which enables you to spot enemies hidden behind a wall. The door button does the same thing for the doors with the difference that instead of using wire frame, it shows an empty space.

Also, ceiling and floor buttons permit you to switch between solid and wire frame ceilings or floors. The Tactical display allows you to see the surrounding area in a window as if you were at the location on the map. It might be useful at times, but during most of the game, there is no use for it.

The 3D engine used for Cyclones is fast and provides the player with great textured-graphics all throughout the game. Sounds are pretty good with digitized voices when creatures are dying and the music contributes to the game. However, the controls for this game are not great. Unlike all other games like Doom, Dark War and Dark Forces, it is nearly impossible to play this game as you would with the others.
Although you can easily move with the traditional arrow keys, you hardly control the cursor with the mouse at the same time to fire your targets or to collect items.
I tried different possibilities like controlling everything by the keyboard or by the mouse, a mix of both, and even the joystick, and it is very difficult to get used to the controls. It makes the game difficult to play as you may have trouble escaping shots from the enemy. If you add again the possibility of looking up or down and jumping, you will easily understand that you won't have enough fingers to play with this game.


Cyclones brings new interesting features such as the 3D automap that other developers could use in their future products, but unfortunately, the controls are badly handled in the game. Cyclones could have been a serious hit with better controls.


486 DX-33 MHz or better,
Min 4 MB memory,
MS-DOS 5.0 or later,
Single speed CD-ROM drive or faster (for CD version),
VGA 256 color graphic card and monitor,
Microsoft Mouse or 100% compatible,
Gravis Native mode, Sound Blaster family (except AWE), Adlib Gold, Soundscape,
Sound Canvas, ProAudio Spectrum PLus/16 and 100% compatibles.

Ratings and Publishers

Mindscape UK Ltd, GRAPHICS ------------------ 88% Priority House, Charles Avenue, SOUND ------------------- 87% Maltings Park, Burgess Hill, MUSIC ------------------- 85% West Sussex, RH15 9TQ, England. GAMEPLAY ------------------ 70% Tel: +44-(0)1444-246333 INTEREST ------------------ 87% S.S.I. Inc., 675 Almanor Avenue, OVERALL ------------------- 83% Sunnyvale, CA 94086-2901. Tel: 408-737-6800
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