Mini Review: Cyber Citizen Shockman – A Belated Western Debut For The First (And Worst) Shubibinman

Positively shocking.

Confusion abounds with this one. This isn’t the same Shockman that was originally released for the TurboGrafx-16 back in 1991, which was a localisation of Japan’s Shubibinman 2. This, Cyber Citizen Shockman, is a new 2023 translation of the original Shubibinman game from 1989; and frankly, that’s the most special thing about it.

Here a map overworld offers a choice of multiple paths, each leading to a very brief platforming stage scattered with enemies and pitfalls to leap over and avoid. Each has a boss, ranging from nice-looking mecha-styled things or well-rendered monsters, requiring little except rapid spamming early-on, and more concerted strategy later, depending on your health. Visiting the map screen offers up brief dialogue exchanges and the option to heal yourself or buy weapon upgrades with gold acquired during the stage. Deaths will slightly penalise your gold bounty, but hostages you save with each boss defeat also offer transient bonuses, health-ups, and occasionally become permanent map fixtures, like the dedicated healing nurse. Boosting weapon power is your modus operandi, eventually acquiring the chargeable Shockbeam – an addition that makes things much more enjoyable and shifts your approach to enemy negotiations.

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