Description official descriptions
Legions of alien Cybernetic Clones (CyClones) have devastated the Earth. Humanity's only hope lies with Havoc, himself a cybernetic warrior that had been manipulated by the CyClones to do their evil bidding. Havoc must fight the CyClones without mercy, protecting the Earth and avenging his own past.
CyClones is a first-person shooter (FPS) in which the player controls Havoc, exploring maze-like environments and blasting hostile aliens with a variety of firearms. The game is notable for pioneering the use of mouse control in games of its genre, allowing the player to aim independently of movement and move the aiming cursor to any part of the screen. Power-ups can be collected and stored in the player's inventory, bestowing combat-related benefits upon Havoc when used. Three-dimensional level maps can be brought up by pressing a key.
Another feature the game introduces to the genre is stealth. While the vast majority of the game consists of combat, there are a few stages which require the player to avoid it and stay unnoticed by the enemies, moving silently. A tutorial level also makes its first FPS appearance in CyClones, instructing the player in basic gameplay mechanics.
Credits (DOS version)
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Average score: 69% (based on 13 ratings)
Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 15 ratings with 2 reviews)
CyClones is a little lost gem from Raven soft, a title released in parallel with Heretic (by Raven/Id) but which due to it's lower profile release never got it's well deserved credit for being a seriously ahead of it's time game in terms of gameplay mechanics and design.
Basically CyClones is your standard fps cloned from Doom's success, casting you as the proverbial one-man-army that must foil an alien invasion. However a number of features set it apart from the rest of the competition that make it a playable game even to this day. As I said earlier this game was very ahead of it's time, and that's mainly because it included mouse-looking! That's right! While everyone else was still playing with keyboards, Raven recognized the potential behind the mouse/keyboard combo, and while it doesn't handle exactly as today's wasd/mouselook control scheme (the camera isn't centered on the mouse pointer and instead it moves freely around the screen) it is just as effective and made the rest of the games at the time feel dodgy and poorly-controlled.
And to ease gamers into this new way of killing aliens, the folks at Raven included another first for an fps: a tutorial level!! Add to that an inventory-based power-up system (years before games like Strife came on the market), 3D maps, optional missions (that include the earliest sneak-mission in an fps that I know of, in which you must avoid killing enemies as an objective) and a Doom-class graphics engine with exceptionally cool art that separated it from the rest of the cartoony shooters of it's day and you have a true action masterpiece of it's day with plenty of non-stop alien blasting fun.
Unfortunately a rather mediocre story, extremely average level and weapon design that is way below Raven's track record (including the biggest amount of mazes I've ever seen in a game by them) and some truly mediocre enemies conspire against CyClone's success. However none of it's flaws can account for it's poor popularity (though the video cutscenes in the CD version could be responsible for all that is evil in the world, let alone the poor sales of CyClones).
The Bottom Line
Cyclones is your typical Raven product in the sense that it's an extremely entertaining and well produced title, which just so happens to have some extremely cool revolutionary ideas included that wouldn't appear in the genre for years. A slightly sub-par level design and some minor flaws knock the game a few notches below the classics of it's day, but I'll be damned if I know why it failed to make a success...
A true must-play for action fans with a bit of nostalgia for the good 'ol days of sprite-shooting.
DOS · by Zovni (10504) · 2004
Good graphics (for the time) interesting levels, tons of textures. I thought the "alien artifact" was funny-looking. Lots of time was spent on the FMV introduction of each of the levels. (If you can get them to run)
Some of the levels were tedious-weapons seemed underpowered compared to enemies. You died way too much.
The Bottom Line
An average FPS, although it features many cool weapons and strange enemies.
DOS · by Doug Brozek (6) · 2000
the game used protection on the floppy disks, but on the CD version, it comes with the codes in a file on the CD, even though it has no copy protection.
(Information taken from Raven's website.)
CyClones was begun in February of 1994, marking the beginning of a new period for Raven. Coming off of a good relationship with Electronic Arts, which produced both Black Crypt and ShadowCaster, Raven split into two groups. One which worked with id's new DOOM engine to create Mage, a fantasy action game, which would eventually evolve into the game Heretic. The other team started on a project that was to use the engine from ShadowCaster to create a futuristic shooter for Strategic Simulations (SSI), called CyClones. The name referred to Cybernetic Clones, the minions of aliens who had ravaged and devastated the earth. The player was cast as the cybernetic warrior Havoc who, in the course of his battle against the aliens, discovers that he himself is one of these monstrosities, reprogrammed by his masters to do their bidding.
The game was in first person 3D, as was most other Raven games, so reusing the ShadowCaster engine and its tools was a natural choice. But within a short time, the team found that they wanted to do more with the game and engine than they had done before. A new, 100% in-house engine was created that could handle moving platforms, catwalks, sloped areas, and transparent textures. The engine, by Carl Stika, was nicknamed STEAM.
CyClones' production cycle was at the height of multimedia madness. Sometime during the development of the game it was decided that for a competitive edge, it would become "a multimedia extravaganza". A small budget was granted for full-motion video sequences to be created for the game, to be presented between missions as briefings. However, the video that was placed in the final game was noted by one reviewer to be so horribly bad that "it makes Clutch Cargo look like Masterpiece Theatre". It was generally agreed that the lesser-distributed floppy disk version without the live video proved superior to the "multimedia enhanced" edition. As of 2000, Raven still jealously guards the original videotape containing the full 30-minute version of the video production, stating that the 8 minutes that were used in the final game were "amazingly, far better than the stuff that wasn't used".
CyClones had a unique mouse control system, where movement could be handled independently of aiming, and any area could be targeted on screen. The gun was controlled by a crosshair, which was also used for picking up objects and manipulating world objects like doors and switches. While this setup for keyboard-and-mouse control was unusual for a shooter, its method of using the mouse to scan left and right, up and down predated the now-vogue concept of mouse-looking in an action game. It brought many to find this to be an extremely intuitive and preferential method of control, and stand by it to this day. It also had one of the first training modes in a FPS.
Raven Software's official website has the game's ESRB rating listed down as T (Teen), but it is actually rated M (Mature) for Animated Violence, Animated Blood and Gore.
Although quite unnoticable as there aren't that many situations in the game when an enemy will be right next to an exploding barrel, shooting an exploding barrel will cause enemies near it to explode into chunky bits, just as in any other gory 3D shooter like Rise of the Triad or Quake. That is what ended up earning CyClones an M rating.
Related Sites +
Raven Games: CyClones
official website from developer
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Accatone.
Windows added by Plok.
Game added January 14th, 2000. Last modified August 23rd, 2023.