CyberMage: Darklight Awakening

Moby ID: 791
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Description official descriptions

In the year 2044 AD, world governments have fallen apart and the Earth is ruled by ruthless corporations doing anything for profit. However, rebels are fighting against corporate control all over the planet. The protagonist of the game saves the life of a stranger, sacrificing his own life in the process. Taking the protagonist to his lab, the stranger performs a secret experiment on him, and is able to bring him back to life. The hero awakens with a strange crystal embedded in his forehead, giving him control over a mysterious power known as the Darklight. The lab is attacked by the forces of NeCrom, who also controls the Darklight. The protagonist must escape from the lab, learn about the Darklight and the aliens bringing it to the planet, and finally confront NeCrom, his evil counterpart.

CyberMage is a 3D first-person shooter set in a dark futuristic environment. Controls can be customized to allow mouse- or keyboard-based gameplay. Jumping, looking up and down (keyboard only), and rudimentary interaction with objects (e.g. switches) are available. The hero is able to use various weapons as well as his Darklight powers against many foes. These offensive, ranged powers deplete a special energy called "Mann-Ra", which regenerates itself over time.

The souls of organic enemies are released when they are killed. Approaching these souls before they disappear, the player obtains various power-ups to health and Mann-Ra, which may be temporary (restoring) or permanent (increasing their maximum count). Armor and other items can be found as well. In addition to walking around the cities and war zones, the player can use vehicles like tanks and air cars in some of the levels. Most areas also contain friendly characters who might give the player information. Money can be found scattered throughout the levels, and spent on weapons in the gun shop.

Spellings

  • 电脑魔神:夜光石的传说 - Chinese spelling (Simplified)

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Screenshots

Promos

Credits (DOS version)

91 People (87 developers, 4 thanks) · View all

Design
Programming
Additional Programming
3D Graphics Engine
Graphic Design
3D Graphics Director
Graphic Artists
Music
Sound Effects
3D Models & Animation
Incidental Design
Incidental Dialogue
Video Movie Player
  • EA Canada
Marketing
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 78% (based on 16 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 22 ratings with 3 reviews)

A fun first-person shooter you probably never even heard of

The Good
Some people think Origin is a legend when it comes to creating role-playing games. They created System Shock, a successful first-person shooter that had many RPG elements. They wanted their next FPS to be more of the same, and they wanted someone who worked on role-playing games to create a first-person shooter/RPG hybrid. That person would be David W. Bradley For people who don't know Bradley, he was behind some of the games in the Wizardry series (namely 5, 6, and 7). That game would be called CyberMage: Darklight Awakening, which is set in a cyberpunk reality.

The comic-style introduction tells how the player gets brought back to life after saving the life of a stranger, only to discover a crystal embedded in his forehead. This crystal gives the player control over a mysterious power known as the Darklight. The lab, where the player was resurrected, is attacked by an army led by NeCrom, who also is capable of controlling the Darklight. This introduction sets the story up quite nicely.

Like a few Origin games of its kind, CyberMage is set in a dark and gritty world, a world already realized in the Tex Murphy universe. Most of the game takes place outdoors, having the player navigate slums, cities, trenches, warzones, and gardens. Some of the backdrops are excellent, with my favorite one being the skyscrapers and mountains on one side, and industrial areas on the other. Also, I like the way that it was one of the first games to allow you to play in high-resolution. The graphics are far crispier in this mode, and I haven't had any trouble running it through DOSBox.

The first RPG element that kicks in is the use of mana, which provides you with ammo for any spells you come across. Every enemy drops a certain amount of mana when they are killed, and because of this, it's impossible to run out of mana if you use it well. There are still weapons to pick up, but these have limited ammo. So I believe that mana is use for backup in case you do run out of weapon ammo.

As a first-person shooter, CyberMage features gameplay mechanics that were unheard of at the time, and these more or less made their way in future games of its kind. One thing is the existence of NPCs (non-playable characters), who tell you what you need to do upon your arrival in a certain location. Jetpacks are also introduced, and these help you fly across hazards such as acid and lava. And which first-person shooter before it allowed you to jump from rooftop to rooftop?

Another thing that I really enjoyed was the ability to commandeer a vehicle, starting from level two onwards. Not only does it allow you to use its powerful weapons against an entire group of enemies, but it can also serve as backup. There are so many hits the vehicle can take before it becomes disabled, and once it is, the vehicle doesn't die with you in it. You automatically get out and proceed on foot. Finally, the interior of each vehicle is laid out nicely, and each is equipped with a map that allows you to steer through certain areas.

The game contains both RPG and adventure elements. At some points in the game, you can get cash laying around the place and use it to buy weapons, ammo, or power-ups. I like the adventure element since there are so many things to do other than shooting anyone you see. All throughout the game, you have to use an inventory item with something on screen; and more often than not, things that are essential in completing a level Once you make your way out of the lab, you proceed through the slums where you have to collect at least 2k to fight in the arena. Later, you have to free your comrades at SARCorp so that they are able to fight against NeCrom's forces.

The atmosphere is very good. No matter where you go, there are always people walking around, whether it is enemies or citizens just going about their business. Once you pass this big TV in the city featuring NeCrom, he starts to speak about establishing a dictatorship and that everyone will tremble at his knees.

The music consists of a series of tracks (MIDI, not CDDA) that blend in well with the gameplay. It doesn't loop so that you won't get bored listening to the same one each time. There are some good sound effects, with the main one being the CyberMage huffing and puffing as he moves around in short increments. The enemies taunt you like in other first-person shooters of the time, and some of the things they say are hilarious. My favorite are the Culties, who you meet halfway through the game. Their taunts are even funnier. The sound effects that play when you pick up mana or firing your weapons are good also.

The Bad
CyberMage wasn't very successful due to the difficult gameplay. I found it difficult to get around the later level, with the major one being navigating the temple. You have to find numerous hidden passages to get to the level exit, and there are buttons that blend in with the walls and are not clearly visible. I had to consult the walkthrough to get around. Another gripe I had was the jetpack. When you turn it on, you are lifted up from a ground at a reasonable height, but if you try to get to a place that is the same height as you, it drops back down to your original location. What's the use in that?

The Bottom Line
In conclusion, CyberMage is a FPS/RPG hybrid that follows in the footsteps of System Shock. To me, the plot of the game wasn't interesting, but I had as much fun going around, killing enemies, and getting involved in the game's adventure element. The graphics and sound are excellent, and the voice acting is superb. The introduction sets the game up quite nicely as well. On the downside, the game's high difficulty means that you probably have to consult a walkthrough to get through its puzzles. Other than this, CyberMage is quite a good game worth picking up from your store's bargain bin.

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43092) · 2012

A fun game to play if you have the energy to track it down.

The Good
The weapons have a nice feel to them, the plot is dark but creative, and the levels are very well thought out. The characters are well drawn. Sounds are nice.

The Bad
With the story line behind the game so rich, this had the potential to be a really good System Shock clone instead of a really good Doom clone, other than that...not much to complain about.

The Bottom Line
A worth while time killer for someone that doesnt mind hunting it down and slapping down around ten dollars.

DOS · by Gene Davison (801) · 2000

One of the best FPS's ever

The Good
I liked--no, loved--everything about this game at the time, although many other games have now equalled it in various ways. The level design in particular stands out, and some of my favorite levels ever are to be found in this game (although my least favorite level ever is also found in this game--see next section). All in all, this one stands at or near the top of my list of all-time favorites; quite an achievement for a game so unknown and unheralded.

(It should be noted that I had the strategy guide when I played, though. It was quite good and lent a lot of color to the story that I would have otherwise missed. Get it if you can find it--it's one of the best such guides you'll ever come across. It is/was published by Origin.)

The Bad
Level Two. Get past it, then forget about it. Don't let it sour you on the rest of the game.

Also, I went back and tried to replay the game recently and found the keyboard controls to be somewhat wonky and uncomfortable. I originally played it with a gamepad, which was a lot more intuitive.

The Bottom Line
CyberMage is a first-generation FPS of the highest caliber. It anticipated design elements found in games like Half-Life by a good four or five years, and the production values are excellent. It was written by David Bradley, of Wizardry fame.

DOS · by Jim Newland (56) · 2001

Discussion

Subject By Date
Jump? BurningStickMan (17918) Nov 7, 2011
Looks like an awesome underrated FPS Unicorn Lynx (181794) Oct 1, 2011

Trivia

Extras

The Cybermage game box came with a free comic book that explained how our character starts his adventure.

German index

On November 27, 1996, CyberMage: Darklight Awakening was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS. More information about what this means can be found in the game group.

References

In the next city level after the player leaves the Bloodbath Arena, a news report can be heard mentioning the "up and coming" TriOptimum Corporation locked in a dispute over Saturn's mineral rights. This is a cross-reference to another Origin sci-fi game, System Shock.

Information also contributed by BurningStickMan, Xoleras

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Accatone, Roger Wilco, CaesarZX, Patrick Bregger.

Game added January 24, 2000. Last modified August 15, 2023.