Cyberball (Genesis)

Cyberball Box Art


System: Genesis

Release Date: July 1990

Developer: Sega R&D2

Publisher: Sega

Genre: Sports

Cyborgs rule the gridiron in Cyberball! In the distant year of 2006, football players have been augmenting themselves with bionics in order to gain an advantage. By the even more distant year of 2022, no humans play the game any longer. Now it’s up to you to take control of your favorite team and lead your robots to victory!

The rules are similar to football, but different. Each team has seven robots on the field. Possessions aren’t split into four downs, but instead are attached to the heat of the bomb ball. The longer you take to cross the 50-yard diffuse line, the hotter the ball gets. If it reaches critical, it explodes at the end of the down. The two reprieves are the aforementioned diffuse line and the end zone.

Offensive plays are split into running, passing, and option plays. Running plays require you to push a face button at the proper time for a pitch. If you’re off, prepare to get sacked. Passing plays took me a bit to understand. I thought each face button would be mapped to a receiver, but that is not the case. You have to aim the QB toward the receiver you want, then as you release the ball, you take control of the receiver, which can be disorienting.

Defense has you choosing between short yardage, medium yardage, or long yardage. Until my opponents got into long yardage situations, I stuck with the 3-4 in medium. Controlling the linebacker was my main choice, as I could rush the QB or track the RB in the ground game. The prevent was super useful to force the computer to blow up on a critical ball.

As players get beat up enough, or if they’re holding the ball at the end of a critical play, they can explode. You have to replace your players with the money you start with and earn through good plays. Players can be upgraded as you gain more money, making the 16 week season a bit easier as you go along.

Graphics: 1.5

Graphics are adequate at best. The field doesn’t look good and the sprites are only okay. If a red team gets hold of the ball, good luck at keeping track of it!

Sound: 1.5

Music is repetitive and sound effects and voice samples are really rough. The tempo of the song increases as the ball gets hotter.

Gameplay: 2.0

The passing is a pain and if your timing is off on the pitch on running plays, you’re screwed. Otherwise, I thought it was fine.

Difficulty: 2.5

Once you get the controls down, you should be able to put points up when you have to.

Fun Factor: 2.0

I kind of enjoyed myself, but I was hoping for more. Guess I have to wait until the end of 1990 for something better.

Overall Rating: 1.9

Cyberball earns a C. It’s an alright football game, it probably has legs for someone with more time.

Cyberball Video Review on YouTube