Commodore 64 Specs [ all ]
Buy on Commodore 64

Description official description

Cyclons is a single player space shoot-em up game.

The player takes control of a space ship and must shoot alien ships in order to gain a high score.

The game allows the player to customise the gameplay, the terrain may be turned on or off, the player's shots can be set to ricochet from the edges of the screen and there are four levels of difficulty.

This game is played with a joystick. The keyboard is only used to enter the players identity on the high score table.


Credits (VIC-20 version)

Cover Artwork



Average score: 85% (based on 1 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 2 ratings)

Excellent VIC-20 game that includes customization options

The Good
Cyclons is an addictive single-player game from Rabbit Software, and it is right up there with Asteroids in terms of game mechanics. You control a UFO trying to kill alien ships that appear on the screen and basically try to beat your high score every game. Better yet, the game offers a great degree of customization.

You are initially fighting the alien ships against a black background. This has a few advantages, namely the ability to move around the screen without crashing into any background objects. The ships will move and shoot at you, and even crash with each other. The sensitive nature of the UFO means that the game can be compared to Lunar Lander, in which applying too much pressure to it will make it fly across the screen. The explosion effects are quite nice, and the game features an attractive loading screen; it is not just a bunch of text.

Sonics are good. You always know when one of the aliens is about to appear, and the explosion sound is quite nice. You control the game with the joystick only. As I said, there is a decent level of customization. You can set the difficulty level, whether you want the shots to ricochet, and if terrain is to be added. The terrain makes the game a bit difficult, since you are restricted in movement and crashing into it will result in a loss of life.

The Bad
When you respawn after losing a life, you do it right in front of one of the ships, meaning the game can end quickly.

The Bottom Line
Cyclons is an excellent game that does not feature an objective of some sort. You basically go around in a UFO shooting down aliens in an attempt to beat your previous high score every time. Graphics and sonics are great, and the highpoint of the game is the customization that can make the game difficult. Rabbit Software made 8K VIC-20 owners proud.

VIC-20 · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2020

A great shooter, right up there with classic arcade games like Asteroids

The Good
The late Seventies and early Eighties saw a plethora of shooters where the aim was to shoot as many enemies as you can while avoiding running out of lives. If you couldn’t afford to go down to the arcades to play these, you could always play them on your computer, and one such game was Cyclons for the Commodore 64. This version of the game was handled by Syntax, which decided to put the machine’s 64KB to good use.

The first thing you see upon starting the game are the letters that appear one by one in a space-age font, sliding left across the screen, and this font is consistent throughout the game. While this occurs, music that resembles the Star Wars theme plays, albeit in a slightly modified form. This is followed by a customization screen that lets you set the difficulty level, turn the terrain on or off, and decide whether you want your shots to ricochet. If you are a beginner, you will want to disable the terrain the first few times so that you get used to the game.

Then the game starts, and you are depicted as a green spaceship that needs to fly around the screen, shooting at enemies that appear on screen. Joystick is supported only. I like the animation of the spaceship, and the way it moves smoothly. One type of enemy that is not found in the VIC-20 version is the UFO that homes in on your location. As always, the highlight of the game is to make enemies crash into each other and score points just for doing nothing. I like the little fireworks that result. Sound-wise, the effects are nothing to write home about; they are just your basic shooter sounds.

What makes the Commodore 64 version stand out is the implementation of a colorful high score table featuring the top four players, allowing anyone to “score attack” if they want to. Only three initials are allowed on the name entry screen, and there is no save feature so any custom names will be lost when you switch off the computer.

The Bad
Once you get past the customization screen, that’s it. You don’t get to configure the game unless you reload it from tape first. There is also an option called “Ranking”, but I don’t know what that is. I thought it would be to control whether the high score table is displayed, but I was wrong.

The Bottom Line
This is a great shooter that is obviously miles ahead of its VIC-20 version, and it is ideal for a few goes after you get home from work. Definitely one for shooter fans when they can't spend a quarter at the local arcades.

Commodore 64 · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2021

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 56206


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by piltdown_man.

VIC-20 added by Kabushi.

Game added June 28th, 2012. Last modified February 22nd, 2023.