CYBERMAGE: DARKLIGHT AWAKENING

Step off the pages of a cyberpunk comic book and into a fantastic 3-D world. You're a novice superhero entrusted with the unearthly Darklight gem. To master its powers, you must dive into battle against the evil forces of NeCrom, the supernatural villain who is a complete master of the Darklight. CyberMage: Darklight Awakening, takes the interactivity of computer entertainment and merges it with non-stop, futuristic, super-heroic action.

It's the 21st century, and the planet Earth has changed. Organized government has given way to chaos as greedy corporations compete in the race for technology and its promise of power. And then one corporation discovers something so powerful, so fantastic, so extraordinary, that the secret leaks out despite all precautions. And after that, all hell breaks loose.

Through it all, you're just an ordinary Joe, trying to survive in a dangerous new world. But when you come to the defense of corporate mogul M. Katt, a suspected spy targeted by an assassin's bullet, you become anything but ordinary. Entrusted by M. Katt with the dark secret, you receive an alien Darklight gem implant, capable of providing immense powers if you can master its alien force. With the helpful teachings of the Earth Mother and others, you alone can save the planet from the forces that would destroy it -- your nemesis and evil counterpart, the deathbringer NeCrom.

KEY FEATURES
  • First-person point-of-view in VGA or SVGA
  • Pilot air cars, drive tanks or venture on foot
  • 14 killer weapons and 8 devastating superpowers
  • Character interaction / friends to discover
  • Creatures that fight each other - or attack you!
  • Stereo digital effects and full speech
  • Includes full-color CyberMage comic book (retail version only)
  • Battlefields, caves, forests, temples, slums, cities and more!
  • Designed by D.W. Bradley of Wizardry(TM) fame
  • "Simply Amazing"- Computer Gaming World
  • "Best of the Show"- PC Gamer (E3 coverage) 
~official blurb

Having developed titans throughout gaming's history, ORIGIN Systems holds quite the legacy. Sandwiched between the releases of Crusader: No Remorse and BioForge in 1995, CyberMage: Darklight Awakening remains one of the few titles in the company's history to be lost to time.

In many ways, CyberMage is similar to another hidden gem from ORIGIN - System Shock (though that series got a new lease by being blessed with remakes and reissues). It is primarily a first-person shooter with basic RPG elements deftly weaved in. You can level up your protagonist by collecting the souls of the recently deceased as well as collecting pyramid-shaped items in the game world.

These elements do take second place behind the shooting. The large labyrinthine levels are filled with enemies to blast away, their corpses remaining where the were killed until the stage is over - a godsend to let you know where you've been. Some occasional story beats are scattered around too, with NPCs offering up a fairly lengthy diatribe when you approach. You can tell they're sympathetic to your rampage not because they won't shoot at you, but because they will glow blue if you try to shoot them - at least in the first few levels. By stage three, killing an ally will alter the colour of their soul which will drastically lower your stats if collected.

At times, there are some decent set pieces such as fighting in an arena or surviving in a city under martial law. There are a few minor puzzles to solve too, which mostly amount to finding key substitutes to open the way forward or gambling.

If there's one thing that brings the whole package down, it's the controls. While par the course for a mid-90s shooter, they suffer by being extremely limited in how you can remap them.  By modern sensibilities, it's almost unplayable. It got to the point where I played with DOSBox's remapper feature to alter the keys to my liking (play using 'Run-REMAPPED.bat' for this version).

All in all, I'd probably class CyberMage: Darklight Awakening as a hidden gem, but in all honesty, it should be considered a classic in the same way as other games from ORIGIN. It looks stunning, has an absorbing story with a lengthy campaign (levels can take over an hour to complete on the first try). Highly recommended.



To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox to bring the game to modern systems. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more info on the custom remapped keys. Manual, Comic and Official Guide included. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 107 Mb.  Install Size: 178 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ

Download


CyberMage: Darklight Awakening is © ORIGIN Systems Inc
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me


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8 comments:

  1. Cybermage is a fantastic game, so thank you very much for this! I will also completely agree on the controls. If there's one main gripe I have with the game, that'd be it.

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    1. You're welcome. You might find my remapped version more tolerable. I wouldn't normally do this but I found it was warranted here.

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  2. Oh wow. This is great! Thanks again!

    I wanted to know. If possible could you look into the heavy gear games? Which I found hard to get working.

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    1. I'm aware of them, but that's about it. I've added them to my request list but as always I can't promise anything.

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  3. Cybermage! I can't thank you enough!

    There was also a demo that had a level not included in the full game.

    (I wish it would be possible that someone would write a modern engine for this...)

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    1. Yeah, I looked into the demo. From what I played it appeared to be the same as the Training level in the full game so I didn't add it.

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  4. Fun Fact: It's kind of implied this game takes place in the 2040's of the System Shock universe.

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    1. I remember reading something about that! I didn't see much connection in-game but I know they both share a designer or two. Not just System Shock but the original Deus Ex too.

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