From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cybermorph box art.jpg
Stand-alone cover art in all regions by B.J. West
Developer(s)Attention to Detail
Producer(s)John Skruch
Sean Patten
Designer(s)Andrew Keim
Faran Thomason
Joe Sousa
Programmer(s)Brian Pollock
Fred Gill
Artist(s)B.J. West
Chris Gibbs
Ian Harling
Writer(s)Hans Jacobsen
Composer(s)Andrew Holtom
David Lowe
Ted Taquechi
Platform(s)Atari Jaguar

Cybermorph is a shooter video game developed by Attention to Detail and published by Atari Corporation exclusively for the Atari Jaguar first in North America on November 23, 1993, where it was included as the pack-in game for the console when it launched.[1] It was later released in Europe on June 23, 1994 and finally in Japan as a stand-alone release on December 15 of the same year, where it was published by Mumin Corporation.[2][3]

The player takes control of a morphing fighter craft prototype named the T-Griffon, with an on-board artificial intelligence called Skylar, to battle in The Galactic War against the Pernitia Empire, who have seized information and supplies of the Resistance into pods within planets dominated by them that need to be freed to defeat the empire. Being one of the first titles released for the system, Cybermorph is widely believed to have been originally in development for the Atari Panther and ported to the Jaguar when the project was terminated by Atari Corp., instead the project originated as a demo for the abandoned Konix Multisystem console.[4][5][6] Two versions of the game were released, with minor differences between them; the pack-in version (copyrighted 1993 on the label) is a two-megabyte (MB) cartridge, while the later version (copyrighted 1994 on the label) is a one MB cartridge, which excludes the introduction and ending animation sequences and has fewer voice samples compared to the original release.[7]

Cybermorph received divisive reviews when it launched, with critics praising the graphics, semi-open ended levels and gameplay, while others criticized the sound quality, lack of in-game music, repetitive nature of the missions and Skylar herself for not being helpful and constantly reminding players when they crash into objects. Critics also compared the game with Star Fox, which was released months prior on the SNES. Nevertheless, the game was named "Viewpoint Game of the Month" by GameFan.[8] By April 1, 1995, the stand-alone version has sold nearly 2,000 copies though it is unknown how many were sold in total during its lifetime.[9] A sequel, Battlemorph, was released in December 1995 for the Atari Jaguar CD, taking place 30 years after the events occurred in this game. Retrospective reviews for the title have been mixed in recent years.


The T-Griffon's dashboard displays a number of elements such as number of lives, score, scanner/navigation beacon, forward and backward speed indicator, shield level, currently collected weapons and super weapons, pods counter and message window. Weapons are alternated by pressing Option, while Super Weapons are activated by either 1, 2 or 3 on the keypad.

Cybermorph is a semi-open 3D shooter game where the player pilots the T-Griffon on a third-person perspective with the main objective of recapturing critical pods spread out across eight different planets in five sectors to explore, fight against the robotic forces of The Pernitia Empire and defeat them, with a boss at the end of each sector. A hidden sixth sector is accessible via cheat code and progress is kept via password, as the cartridge's internal EEPROM only saves high-scores and other settings.

At the start of each sector the player can tackle any of the eight planets in any order, each one showing mission briefing before being launched into the level. Although the game is mission-oriented, players can explore the levels to find secrets and hidden areas within. Some of the levels have Vortex Towers, which destroys pods brought by Pod Carriers within the antimatter reach it generates and if enough pods are destroyed, the player will be forced to restart the level. Other obstacles introduced in later levels include bunkers, force fields which blocks the player from exploring further and spikes that rises from the terrain where a pod is placed, instantly destroying the ship but both can be deactivated by destroying their respective stations, among other obstacles. Teleporters are placed in later levels and warps the player into unreachable areas within the level.

Weapon and Super Weapon power-ups are randomly dropped by enemies and can be collected to expand the ship's arsenal and they can be stocked until it reaches a set number but Cargo Carriers also have weapons. Coins are also dropped by enemies as well but they only give points except those marked with X, which grants an extra life. The T-Griffon also changes its shape depending on the player's control actions and weapons. Crashing into mountains damages the ship, while crashing with building at high speed either on front or in reverse instantly destroys the ship. By pressing 4 on the controller keypad, the player toggles on or off a cross-hair. Pressing 5, 7, 8 & 9 on the keypad changes the fixed camera angle respectively while pressing 6 changes the perspective from third-person into first-person.


The Galactic War has begun and robots that can automatically rebuild themselves have been created as ultimate weapons by the Pernitia Empire, who keeps adding planets from multiple sectors to their growing empire and their regenerative technology becomes entrenched permanently into them. The Resistance have developed new weapons to defeat the pernitians but they were captured alongside supplies, useful information and key designers of the resistance forces that were cryogenically suspended and were all put inside pods and placed into conquered planets of the empire. The player is assigned to recover the pods so that the resistance fighters can have all of the necessary elements to stop the empire from spreading and free planets conquered by the pernitians by piloting the only fighter craft prototype left: The Cybermorph TransmoGriffon morphing attack craft, or T-Griffon for short, which is transported by intersolar cruisers and only usable in planetary territory. It also uses similar technology used by the pernitians and comes equipped with Skylar, a holographic intelligence agent designed to give mission and battle information.[10] After recovering multiple pods and setting free the planets from multiple sectors, the player is sent into the last pernitian stronghold to destroy the multiple battle stations and recover the last pods within. After recovering all the critical pods and cleared the sectors, the Resistance manages to defeat the Pernitia Empire.

Development and release[edit]

Although the Konix Multisystem was abandoned, the flying carpet demo developed by Attention to Detail for the unreleased system became the basis for Cybermorph on the Atari Jaguar.

Attention to Detail, or ATD for short, was founded in September 1988 by University of Birmingham graduates Chris Gibbs, Fred Gill, Martin Green, Jon Steele and Jim Torjussen.[6] The newly formed team was approached by their mentor Jon Dean for work on the Atari 2600 but it was cancelled. Jon later approached the team once again, now in regards to the Konix Multisystem, and the team worked alongside Flare Technology on the operating system, development tools and demos in order to make development easy and attract third-party developers for the then-upcoming system.[6] Among the many demo programs developed by ATD for the Konix Multisystem was a flying carpet demo,[11] which was created from scratch in 11 days and was based on Zarch (also known as Virus).[4] Atari Corp. liked it and approached to the team in creating demos for the now then-upcoming Jaguar.[4] This demo became the starting point for Cybermorph's development.[4]

Faran Thomason, who is best known as the producer of both Bubsy in Fractured Furry Tales and Warlocked for the Game Boy Color, worked as a level designer and tester for the game.[12][13] He stated that when the game was showcased in Atari Corp.'s US offices it was in a very basic state, consisting of only the ship flying and a rudimentary Gouraud-shaded terrain. The testing department at Atari was tasked to implement levels and structures in the game, while ATD laid down the terrain and enemies via a rudimentary editor the Atari testing team would use to implement them into the game.[14] Cybermorph was first showcased at Atari's August 1993 press conference at Sunnyvale, California in an early but playable state.[15][16][17] A 1993 promotional recording sent by Atari to video game retail stores features the game in a much earlier state with many differences compared to the final release.[18] B.J. West, who worked as an animator in Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy, created both the cover art and ending sequence for the game.[12][19] Sean Patter, producer of both Cybermorph and Iron Soldier, stated that by bringing the testing team to design game resulted in a lot of work but he remarked that by doing so resulted in making it into "a much better game in the long run".[12][20] Several other members at Atari were also involved with its production.[12][21]

Cybermorph makes use of the various hardware features found within the Jaguar such as Z-buffering, which is used in multiple enemies of the game to various effects. In addition, Z-buffering is also used to handle drawing of all the objects and the planetary terrain.[4] It also runs between 10-18 frames per second and displays around 6000 polygons on-screen. Gouraud shading is also used as a light source for all the polygon models, while the system's Motorola 68000 is used to move all of the objects in the game.[4] The voice of Skylar was provided by Victoria Lowe, wife of video game composer David Lowe.[12][22]

Cybermorph was first released as the pack-in game for the Atari Jaguar when it launched on in North America on November 23, 1993.[1] The game was later released in Europe on June 23, 1994, and finally in Japan as a stand-alone release on December 15 of the same year, where it was published by Mumin Corporation.[2][3] Later versions of the game published in 1994 were stored on a one-megabyte cartridge and has several features missing from the original 1993 version such as the introduction and ending animation sequences, as well as additional voice samples.[7] The cutting of these features in the one-megabyte version was a cost-effective measure Atari Corp. made in order to boost sales of the system, taking approximately two hours for the team to remove them in order to fit the game from a 2MB cart onto a 1MB cart. Fred Gill stated that "whilst an interesting engineering exercise, it was painful ‘mutilating’ something that we’d crafted over such a long time".[6] It remained as a bundled title for the console.[23]


Contemporary reception
Aggregate score
Review scores
Aktueller Software Markt9 / 12[25]
AllGame3/5 stars[26]
Atari ST User95%[27]
Computer and Video Games79 / 100[28]
Digital Press3 / 10[29]
Edge8 / 10[30]
Electronic Gaming Monthly5 / 10[31]
GameFan391 / 400[8]
Game Informer8.5 / 10[32]
GamePro14.5 / 20[33]
Génération 477%[34]
Mega Fun85%[38]
Play Time85 / 100[39]
ST Review88%[42]
ST Format87%[43]
Video Games59%[44]
VideoGames8 / 10[45]
GameFan (1993)Viewpoint Game of the Month[8]

Cybermorph divided reviewers.[46] Some found the pod-collecting gameplay to be dull and ultimately repetitive,[28][31][29][33] while others saw it as varied and challenging due to the number of different enemies and obstacles.[30][32][27][47] The usage of Gouraud shading was widely praised,[28][30][27][33] but the graphics were generally regarded as a disappointment given the Jaguar's capabilities, due primarily to the simplistic, untextured shapes.[28][30][31][29][33] A reviewer for Edge explained, "It all moves dead smoothly but, to be honest, the 3D ships and buildings are all a bit basic, made of simple shapes with gaudy colour schemes. There's little of the finesse that you find with simulators like TFX, and even Starwing contains much more interesting enemies."[30]

Unfavorable comparisons to the Super NES's similarly polygon-based shooter Star Fox (titled Starwing in Europe, where Edge was published) came up frequently in reviews.[28][30][29] Joe Santulli, for example, remarked in Digital Press that "Starfox is ten times better than this game - and Silpheed, a game that I really thought was all glitz, is easily superior to Cybermorph in terms of graphics and sound. So what gives here?"[29]

The audio came as a bigger disappointment than the graphics, with several critics complaining at the absence of in-game music[28][31][29][33] and the sound effects, which they found dated even by the standards of the previous generation.[28][31][29] The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly particularly emphasized the audio's poor quality, with Sushi-X elaborating: "My first impression was that the sound wasn't turned up because the effects were so subdued. After you get through the tinny intro music, you are left with simple beeps."[31] However, a few critics felt the game successfully delivered on the Jaguar's promise. Simon Clays wrote in Atari ST User that "I've never been overcome in quite the manner I was when I saw Cybermorph. More than anything it demonstrated the sheer power of the machine and its immediate superiority to anything else you'll see."[27] Some critics particularly argued that in-game music was not called for, as it would have become annoying over the lengthy campaigns and detracted from the game's atmosphere.[32][47]

Otherwise, the more positive reviews for Cybermorph tended to emphasize its gameplay rather than its audio-visual performance. The Edge reviewer countered his own criticisms of the graphics by adding that "in the final assessment, it's gameplay that counts and Cybermorph has nothing to fear in that department. From the first firebutton press, it's pretty much non-stop action, and even though there's no timer, the game comes with a built-in sense of panic as you attempt to scoop up all the pods and haul ass outta there."[30] Boss Music of GamePro had a more mixed reaction, citing an intriguing gameplay concept but repetitive action, blocky and untextured graphics, and "a deterring level of challenge".[33] Deniz Ahmet of Computer and Video Games assessed, "Visually, it looks stunning, but there isn't much interaction. The enemy craft are easily disposed of and once the novelty of exploring the shaded terrains has gone all you find is a repetitive game. This wouldn't matter in an action game like Star Wing, but it does in the tactical approach used by Cybermorph."[28]

The title received a "Viewpoint Game Of the Month" award from GameFan,[8] who also gave the game one of its most enthusiastic reviews. Lauding the open world environments, level design, massive length, and real-time 3D graphics, the reviewer said that after his first play session with Cybermorph, "I emerged, totally fulfilled, with the strange feeling that after playing video games for 9 years I had just played the first 'real one'."[47]

Retrospective reviews[edit]

Retrospective assessments
Review scores
The Atari Times75%[48]
Defunct GamesC+[49]
Electric Escape6.5 / 10[50]
Just Games Retro4/5 stars[51]
neXGam7.1 / 10[52]
The Video Game CriticD[53]

Cybermorph has received more mixed opinions in retrospective reviews on recent years. When writing for The Atari Times website, Brendan Onfrichuk criticized Skylar herself and her limited functionality, length, simplistic 3D graphics and lack of in-game music.[48] However, Brendan cited the gameplay and controls as positives and finishes his review by stating that "Cybermorph is a fun game that most Jaguar owners will experience since it is the most common game. The game offers hours worth of gameplay and it's shortcomings should not destroy the game for anybody. If you loved games like Defender, you'll certainly like to fly through the levels in Cybermorph".[48]

Adam Bickers of Defunct Games commented negatively in regards to the presentation, enemy design and technical issues but gave positive comments to the frame rate, sound design and technical achievement when it was originally released, while feeling mixed about the gameplay. He remarked by saying "It's not a bad game. It just hasn't aged well and is a little too repetitive. At least it paved the way for the awesome sequel Battlemorph and for that, ATD, I salute you!".[49]

Robert A. Jung from Electric Escape gave a more mixed opinion about the game, citing issues such as its slow pacing, controls and lack of in-game music as negatives, however, he cited the graphics and sound design as positives. He concluded by saying that "Some people may dismiss its cautious pacing and lackluster effects for faster, flashier games, but for those looking for something truly different, Cybermorph can be a satisfying experience".[50]


A sequel, Battlemorph on the Atari Jaguar CD, had already been announced by the time Cybermorph was released.[27] It was released in 1995 in all regions to positive reception.

In 1995, during the same year its sequel was released, the game's trademark was abandoned.[54]

Skylar herself appears as a boss on the stage Future Fuckballs 2010 in the 2013 title Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures for Nintendo 3DS, Steam and Wii U.


  1. ^ a b "ATARI SHIPS JAGUAR FOR NEW YORK AND SAN FRANCISCO MARKETS; WORLD'S FIRST 64-BIT INTERACTIVE MULTIMEDIA HOME ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM AVAILABLE". PR Newswire. November 23, 1993. Retrieved 2018-05-28. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ a b Castle, Justin (July 21, 2018). "Historical Atari Jaguar UK Magazine Advert/Reviews Collection" (PDF). Issuu. p. 340. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  3. ^ a b "JAGUAR Soft > 1994-1995". GAME Data Room (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 25 August 2018. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Techview: 64 bit - Developing with Attention to Detail". Edge. No. 5. Future Publishing. February 1994. pp. 42–43.
  5. ^ "HCM: The Atari-Panther Story". 1997-11-27. Archived from the original on 2016-08-25. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  6. ^ a b c d zapiy (September 8, 2016). "RVG Interviews – Fred Gill". Retro Video Gamer UK. Archived from the original on 2018-06-30. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  7. ^ a b "Cybermorph - Trivia". MobyGames. Archived from the original on 2018-05-29. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  8. ^ a b c d "Viewpoint - Cybermorph". GameFan. Vol. 2 no. 1. Shinno Media. December 1993. p. 31.
  9. ^ "Atari Jaguar Lifetime Sales". Archived from the original on 24 August 2017. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  10. ^ Cybermorph game manual (Atari Jaguar, US)
  11. ^ RetroSteveUK (November 30, 2013). Konix Multi-System (Prototype Footage) (36sec). YouTube.
  12. ^ a b c d e Attention to Detail (November 23, 1993). Cybermorph. Atari Jaguar. Atari Corporation. Level/area: Staff roll.
  13. ^ Reutter, Hans (February 2000). "Faran Thomason Interview". CyberRoach Magazine. No. 9. Archived from the original on 2016-08-06. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  14. ^ Wallett, Adrian (September 3, 2017). "Faran Thomason (Atari/Nintendo) – Interview". Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  15. ^ QLvsJAGUAR (August 18, 2015). ATARI JAGUAR 1st Press Conference 1993-08-18. YouTube.
  16. ^ "Other Stuff". GameFan. Vol. 1 no. 9. Shinno Media. August 1993. p. 114.
  17. ^ "CES News - Atari Unveils the 64-bit Jaguar". GamePro. No. 49. IDG. August 1993. p. 54.
  18. ^ Retro Game Champion (June 6, 2018). Atari Jaguar: 1993 Graphics (Retro Video Game Tech Demo). YouTube. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  19. ^ Sillifant, Ross (2017). "B.J. West interview". Archived from the original on 2018-06-26. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  20. ^ BiffsGamingVideos (November 8, 2011). 1994 SCES: Parts 01-12 (Atari, Llamasoft, 4-Play) (28min 10sec). YouTube.
  21. ^ Wallett, Adrian (June 28, 2019). "Joe Sousa (Atari) – Interview". Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  22. ^ Sillifant, Ross (2016). "Ted Tahquechi interview". Archived from the original on 2018-06-26. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  23. ^ Smith, Jason. "Atari Jaguar Timeline". Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 2019-10-05.
  24. ^ "Cybermorph for Jaguar". GameRankings. Archived from the original on 2018-06-29. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  25. ^ Quermann, Bernd; Lethaus, Martin (April 1994). "Cybermorph - Morph-Morph, Hurra!". Aktueller Software Markt (in German). No. 86. Tronic Verlag. p. 56.
  26. ^ Scoleri III, Joseph (1998). "Cybermorph - Overview". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  27. ^ a b c d e Clays, Simon (February 1994). "ST Action - Jaguar Game Review - Cybermorph". Atari ST User. No. 97. Europress. pp. 62–64.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h Ahmet, Deniz; Skews, Rik (January 1994). "CVG Review - Cybermorph". Computer and Video Games. No. 146. Future plc. pp. 46–47. Archived from the original on 2018-06-29. Retrieved 2019-01-04.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g Santulli, Joe (January 1994). "Random Reviews Lite - Cybermorph". Digital Press - The Bio-Degradable Source For Video Gamers. No. 16. Joe Santulli. p. 20.
  30. ^ a b c d e f g "Testscreen - Cybermorph". Edge. No. 4. Future plc. January 1994. pp. 58–61.
  31. ^ a b c d e f "Review Crew - Cybermorph". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 55. Sendai Publishing. February 1994. p. 42.
  32. ^ a b c "Jaguar Reviews - Cybermorph". Game Informer. No. 15. GameStop. March 1994. pp. 38–39. Archived from the original on 2014-04-08.
  33. ^ a b c d e f Music, Boss (January 1994). "Special Feature: Atari Jaguar Reviews - Cybermorph". GamePro. No. 54. IDG. p. 22. Archived from the original on 2018-05-29. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  34. ^ Latil, Didier (February 1994). "Test Jaguar - Cybermorph - Une étoile est née". Génération 4 (in French). No. 63. Computec Media France. p. 118.
  35. ^ Humphreys, Andrew (August 1994). "Jaguar - Reality Bites?: The Games - Cybermorph". Hyper. No. 9. Next Media Pty Ltd. p. 24. Archived from the original on 2018-08-04. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  36. ^ Gaksch, Martin (May 1994). "Spiele-Tests - Jaguar - Cybermorph". MAN!AC (in German). No. 7. Cybermedia Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. p. 48.
  37. ^ "Software Der Nächsten Generation Die Ersten Spiele Für 3DO & Jaguar - Cybermorph". Megablast (in German). No. 4. Joker-Verlag. February 1994. p. 87. Archived from the original on 2018-06-29. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  38. ^ Weidner, Martin; Schneider, Ulf (February 1994). "Test Jaguar - Cybermorph". Mega Fun (in German). No. 17. CT Computec Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. pp. 84–85. Archived from the original on 2018-05-29. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  39. ^ Schneider, Ulf (April 1994). "Jaguar/Game Boy Review - Cybermorph". Play Time (in German). No. 34. CT Computec Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. p. 171. Archived from the original on 2018-06-29. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  40. ^ Eisler, Jan (June 1994). "Atari - Atari Jaguar - Cybermorph". Score (in Czech). No. 6. Omega Publishing Group. p. 54.
  41. ^ F, R (June 1994). "Jaguar: Crescent Galaxy & Cybermorph". ST-Computer (in German). No. 99. falkemedia. p. 88.
  42. ^ "ST Action - Jagged Edge - The Story So Far - Cybermorph". ST Review. No. 34. EMAP. December 1994. p. 59. Archived from the original on 2018-09-04. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  43. ^ Nuttall, Andy (February 1994). "Jaguar - Review - Cybermorph". ST Format. No. 55. Future plc. pp. 92–94. Archived from the original on 2017-07-16. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  44. ^ Schaedle, Wolfgang (October 1994). "Rom Check - Jaguar - Cybermorph". Video Games (in German). No. 35. Future-Verlag. p. 88. Archived from the original on 2018-05-29. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  45. ^ Hallock, Betty (February 1994). "Reviews - Jaguar - Cybermorph". VideoGames - The Ultimate Gaming Magazine. No. 61. L.F.P., Inc. pp. 76–77.
  46. ^ Phoenix, E. (March 1995). "The Final Word game review - Cybermorph -- Atari". Game Zero Magazine. Game Zero. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  47. ^ a b c "Cybermorph". GameFan. Vol. 2 no. 1. Shinno Media. December 1993. pp. 166–171.
  48. ^ a b c Onfrichuk, Brendan (March 6, 2006). "Cybermorph - Where did you learn to fly?". Archived from the original on 14 July 2018. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  49. ^ a b Bickers, Adam (August 22, 2009). "Atari Jaguar (Reviews) - Cybermorph". Archived from the original on 2018-07-14. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  50. ^ a b A. Jung, Robert. "The Atari Bin - Jaguar Reviews - Cybermorph". Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  51. ^ The J Man (June 25, 2007). "Review Categories - Jaguar - Cybermorph". Archived from the original on 2018-07-14. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  52. ^ Sebastian (June 23, 2016). "Cybermorph Im Test". (in French). Archived from the original on 2018-07-14. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  53. ^ Mrozek, David (October 18, 2000). "The Video Game Critic's Jaguar Reviews - Cybermorph". Archived from the original on 2018-07-14. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  54. ^ H. Peck, Anne (December 5, 1995). "CYBERMORPH - Trademark Details". Archived from the original on 2018-06-18. Retrieved 2018-06-18.

External links[edit]