TMC Reviews: CyberASSAULT
(Review Date: October 19, 1999)
TMC Reviewer: Lynne Hall |
Mud Theme |
CyberAssault is placed within a cyberpunk setting, with a hi-tech,
cybernetic, neo-industrial environment, which replicates a futuristic
version of earth. The background for this MUD is based on an invasion by
aliens and the modification of people through biological, chemical, psionic
and cybernetic means. The aim of the game is to have the highest body count
possible and to kill and kill again. This is achieved through the provision
of a range of weapons, armour, artifacts and skills that when appropriately
combine enable players to become killing machines.
Mud Atmosphere |
CyberAssault bears many similarities to a single user game, although
getting into groups increases the possibilities, it is equally possible to
play on your own. The player base of CyberAssault is tiny, I never saw more
than 6 people online at any stage, so being able to get on without any
assistance is actually very useful. The players I did speak to were
helpful, but many of the other newbies are actually current players with
Players are not used to absolute newbies and some of the advice was
incomprehensible and often in the form of mathematical sounding stuff, that
initially I couldn't understand. However, they do try to help and if you
don't mind saying "I don't understand that" on a regular basis, eventually
people muttering "it's +3hnd" begins to make sense.
The players are a cheerful bunch and often the system wide discussions are
about other games, films and real life stuff as well as requests for
information about killing certain mobiles or finding equipment. In many
ways, I felt that playing CyberAssault was like sitting in a gaming arcade
with a group of people chattering on about this and that whilst they
prepared themselves to go on killing sprees.
Mud World |
The world is consistent with the cyberpunk ethos and offers lots of
possibilities for exploration. The main town, Motown, has shops and social
areas, such as nightclubs, hotels, etc. all with descriptions and
inhabitants that are highly Gibsonesque and the descriptions are
well-written. A variety of fighting areas are provided, these include a
range of industrial installations, a neo-Chicago, an Amish community and so
on. I found the fighting areas and victims a little repetitive and did
spend considerable amounts of time killing the same things over and over
again in similar areas. However, this changes at higher levels and the
areas and mobiles become more exciting.
Although the aim is to maximise the body count, killing is necessary simply
to obtain equipment that is of considerable use in improving a player's
ability to kill. The equipment is well thought out and to become highly
effective within this world, it is necessary to spend considerable time
contemplating combinations of different types of equipment and how it
affects your abilities. In relation to this, I did like the thematic
consistency in terms of equipment and the necessary commands to use this.
The modifications of commands and their integration with equipment gave an
air of realism to CyberAssault, such as scanning with pocket identifiers
and so on.
It is quite difficult at first to determine how the different equipment
affects your abilities and to identify appropriate trade-offs. In this
sense CyberAssault has a strong focus on tactical and operational
considerations, with clear advantages for the strongly numerical?
This is a good MUD for newbies, the "Boot Camp" is well thought out and not
only does it provide a good introduction to CyberAssault itself, but also
integrates many concepts of Mudding for the absolute beginner, with
commands such as autoexit explained in a very absorbable way. Strategies
for playing are also provided thus helping a new player to get started
quickly. Levelling in the early stages is exceptionally fast and players
will find themselves quickly approaching double figures (in a MUD with 30
levels). Advice about death traps, death, equipment and so on all enable
you to rapidly start killing with a vengeance.
A limited number of classes are available, with players able to be borgs,
stalkers, crazies and mercenaries. Although each of these has its
advantages and disadvantages, stalkers are rarely seen and are weaker and
less able than the other classes and players advised against this class?
Although there are a variety of skills and abilities, some of these are of
considerable use whilst others seem to have dubious utility, again other
players are willing to help you in using your practices wisely. For the
long term player, the remort possibility enables players to extend their
characters into two "superclasses" predators and highlanders that offer a
range of additional skills and abilities.
Additional Comments |
Although this MUD is not new, with some players having played for 2+ years,
it feels like a MUD that is in beta. A few missing features included the
lack of a background story and a fairly poor help system. Although newbies
are well supported in the Boot Camp, the help system requires that the
player understands the tactical nature of the game. There is a tendency to
assume a knowledge of statistics, basic tactical points and abbreviations,
and a number of the help files simply left me puzzled.
Immortal presence, at least during the times I played was non-existent.
However, I got the impression that most people and probably the immortals
as well, are around in the evening EST, which is possibly the preferable
time to play.
CyberAssault in not a player-kill MUD and although it has a violent,
vicious underlying theme, somewhat surprisingly there is a strong focus on
respecting other player's rights to have fun, thus encouraging the player
against the world, rather than player against player. This was positive in
that it has produced a friendly, cheerful group of players running rampage
in the world rather than battering each other. There doesn't appear to be
any roleplay at all, people work together for the pure aim of killing as
many mobiles as they can, with a strong focus on understanding and
manipulating game mechanics, as the pile of bodies grows ever higher.
CyberAssault is a pure hack and slash MUD. If you like pitting yourself
against the system and enjoy killing mobiles rather than other players in a
cyberpunk setting, then it could be the MUD for you. Although it's all
about killing, if you like numerical calculations and tactical
considerations and enjoy game mechanics then it is sufficiently complex to
make it interesting for the experienced hack and slasher. If you've never
tried a hack and slash MUD, this offers a cheerful, friendly environment
(albeit with a very small player base) which could be worth experimenting