Cyber Citizen Shockman 3: The Princess from Another World Review

Ratalaika Games are completing the Cyber Citizen Shockman trilogy here, by porting over another game that never made it to the West. Cyber Citizen Shockman 3: The Princess from Another World represents a major step-up, being the first in the series to release on CD. This allowed full voice acting and cutscenes, but are these improvements all just superficial, or will this entry improve upon the original where Cyber Citizen Shockman 2: A New Menace failed?

The first thing you will notice in Cyber Citizen Shockman 3: The Princess from Another World is the massive step-up in quality. An introductory cutscene plays out where Tasuke/Arnold and Kyapiko/Sonya are on the beach enjoying some much needed downtime. Gone are their resentments towards the professor about being made into Shockmen; they are happy to be on call when required. But first, sunbathing.

I think you can guess what happens next.

Yes, the titular Princess from Another World appears, leaving Arnold and Sonya with no choice but to cut short their vacation.

Cyber Citizen Shockman 3 review 1
The Shockman series returns

Players can choose between Arnold and Sonya, or team-up with local two player cooperative multiplayer. Cyber Citizen Shockman 3 follows a generic 2D side-scroller across seven levels playable in either Normal or Hard mode. It goes back to the melee focussed gameplay of the first game, but has a couple of neat sections where you pilot a vehicle to cause maximum damage.

Enemies will fly out from all corners of the screen at alarming frequency. It doesn’t appear that there is a set pattern to their appearance either, simply coming out at set intervals until they either best you or you complete the level.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer any of the cool looking environments of the first game either. It may be the best looking game in the trilogy, but it doesn’t capitalise on this at all, featuring bland environments throughout each level. Nor does it follow the precedent of the second game in terms of crazy boss designs; unlike the second game that had a competition for gamers to submit their boss designs, that isn’t the case here. Now, the bosses match the levels with their bland design.

That isn’t to say there isn’t some potential here. During the credits you can see some sketches of enemy design and they point towards what could have been instead of the rather bland ones that made the final cut.

It does perform better however. Cyber Citizen Shockman 3: The Princess from Another World is a much more solid port than the others, with no issues at all to report. Once again it comes with modern touches such as a rewind feature and some cheats to make things easier/manageable. Completing this game on hard mode without such cheats as invincibility or one-hit kills will test your patience to the max.

Cyber Citizen Shockman 3 review 2
Best get a shift on

Cyber Citizen Shockman 3 also features voice-acting. But it is in Japanese only, regardless of which version you choose to play from the main menu. There are subtitles present throughout however. I must give credit to the voice acting though, as the sound quality is superb for it. In fact, the overall quality of the cutscenes is impressive for a game like this.

Other new features include a CRT filter and save states. However, for a game that can be completed in less than an hour, maybe needing to save halfway through isn’t that much of an issue.

Cyber Citizen Shockman 3 also features those painfully difficult platforming sections that plagued the previous two games. Precision timing and accuracy is required that would likely cause a player’s death without the use of the cheats. You don’t start with spare lives or checkpoints here either; death usually means the end of your playthrough.

Thankfully, those cheats don’t block achievements from popping. Unlike other Ratalaika Games titles, Cyber Citizen Shockman 3: The Princess from Another World will require two playthroughs to unlock everything, one at each difficulty level. That is only two lots of seven levels however, and a couple of them can be completed within a minute with the cheats on. The final two are for collecting a lightbulb to increase your maximum HP and 100 pillars to grant you a continue. But the latter are dropped by every enemy so shouldn’t cause you any issues.

Cyber Citizen Shockman 3 review 3
Platforming? You got it.

Despite the noticeable jump up in overall presentation, this third outing for the Shockmen is also their weakest. The novel approach of the first game, and the crazy boss designs of the second, have both been replaced in Cyber Citizen Shockman 3: The Princess from Another World, leaving an incredibly generic 2D side-scroller. There are a couple of scrolling shooting sections but these are also fairly generic.

The cheats are, on one hand, obviously there to allow you to make the game easier. They also make the game more palatable, because running through Cyber Citizen Shockman 3: The Princess from Another World without them isn’t advisable. You could probably play through within 30 minutes with the cheats on, and yet somehow that feels too long. 

Unfortunately, Cyber Citizen Shockman 3: The Princess from Another World is simply another game for achievement fodder from Ratalaika Games.

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