Video Game: Cyber Storm
CyberStorm is a series of Turn-Based Strategy games for the PC, based on the Starsiege universe. The first game, Missionforce: CyberStorm, was released in 1996. The second, CyberStorm 2: Corporate Wars was released in 1998.In Missionforce: CyberStorm, players take on the role of a Non-Entity General in Unitech Corporation, joining the ongoing Robot War against a race of mechanical beings known as Cybrids. The player builds and customizes their own force of both Humongous Mecha and their Bioderm pilots, selecting from a wide range of weapons, equipment, and pilot ability. Using these tools, the player participates in randomly-generated skirmishes against the Cybrids to earn money and promotions, eventually outfitting his or her forces well enough to take on the main Cybrid command centers in three different star systems.CyberStorm 2: Corporate Wars is set even further in the future. Cybrids are still encountered in isolation, but have ceased to be a major threat. This time, the player supports one of eight corporations' efforts in a new star system. In addition to outfitting forces and fighting strategic battles, the player now directs base defense, research, mining outposts, and eventually, assaults against the other seven corporations in order to force them permanently from the star system.Although not amazingly popular, the first game received good reviews, while the second was thought to be a victim of Sequelitis. Both games offer solid turn-based strategy gameplay on a wide variety of unique planets and moons.
The CyberStorm series contains the following tropes:
- A Commander Is You: Each corporation in the second game has different talents and limitations.
- Artificial Human: Most bioderms, though their higher thought capabilities are limited. You can have them grown, which is apparently very quick, have them trained, and recycle them. The cheapest one looks like an overgrown fetus. Not to be confused with the bioderms of Starsiege, who have natural origins but were cyborged.
- Bad Boss: Bioderms have limited lifespans. HERCs can be outfitted with self-destruct devices. Do the math.
- Boring but Practical: Once you have access to them, an army consisting only of Reapers and Juggernauts — the two heaviest HERCs in the game.
- Brain in a Jar: One of the unique Bioderms.
- Building Is Welding: some HERCs are shown being worked on. Naturally, you can see the mechanics welding them.
- Chunky Salsa Rule: Every so often, you'll be told that a Bioderm was killed by a direct hit to life support (i.e. the cockpit), leaving your HERC standing there, completely useless.
- Deflector Shields: Firing missiles and cannons at a shielded opponent will do only a pitiful amount of Scratch Damage. Lasers, plasma cannons, and EMPs can knock out shields easily, but are weak against armor. Particle weapons — with many added in the second game — are equally mediocre against both. Shields can be adjusted during battle to cover a certain side better than the others, possibly so much that the opposite side's shield is paper thin.
- Fog of War: If turned on, it is crucial for at least one (combat-weak) HERC with an advanced sensor array to play spotter.
- Gang Up on the Human: Half-averted in the second game. The corporations do fight amongst themselves, and even occasionally wipe each other out. Near the endgame, with three or four corporations remaining, they do tend to see you as the huge threat you are and ally against you.
- Human Resources: Bioderms, and possibly natural humans, can be recycled for a quick profit. This is done in the same vats where they get routine medical treatments, which has lead to some problems.
- Humongous Mecha: Kind of a big deal.
- It's a Wonderful Failure: Individual missions can be failed with impunity, but if you have no HERCs and lack the funds to purchase any replacement at all, you'll be strapped to a beacon and set out as bait for Cybrids.
- It's Up to You: In the first game, you seem to be the only competent commander in Unitech (there are fewer commanders standing at each successive promotion cutscene). In the second, you appear to be the Supreme Commander of your chosen corporation, despite beginning at a low rank like Ensign.
- Nanomachines: The field repair systems are said to work by using these, with the nanomachines becoming part of the damaged subsystem.
- People Jars: The vats where bioderms are grown, maintained, and recycled while still alive. It's like an immoral, compact hospital.
- Player Mooks: The Bioderms. Some are unique in the sense that they are one-of-a-kind and given to you at certain promotion levels. The rest are clones, and all of them can and will die — either in combat, or from old age.
- Subsystem Damage: Each HERC has over a dozen subsystems, all of which can have integrity anywhere from 100% (undamaged) to 0% (blown off; unrepairable in the field). Perhaps due to engine limitations, a HERC with both legs at 0% can still stand, however.
- Super Soldiers: Pilots of natural origins eventually became too slow. Bioderms, vat-grown, biologically modified cyborgs, replaced them. Their lifespan is ten years at best; Or maybe that's just when they stop being useful.
- Turned Against Their Masters: Temporary example? One bioderm apparently got a brief jolt of self-preservation, refusing to enter a vat, and destroying the base in the process. And then they gave him to you.
- We Have Reserves: The bioderms, being easily cloned and purchased, are treated as expendable (proportional to their market value, of course). A more interesting example is you, the player character. While your value to the corporation increases with your success, at the beginning, you are just one of hundreds of new commanders, and they outright tell you that your lives are worth less to them than the HERCs you command.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Seems to be averted, with natural humans being treated as the property of Unitech just as much as the artificial ones, though they may have entered this arrangement voluntarily while bioderms are Born Into Slavery.
- With This Herring: You seem to be the only commander that accomplishes anything worthwhile, but you have to earn every single credit yourself.