Cytron Masters Review
Developed by Strategic Simulations (Part of the RapidFire line)
Review By Chris Smith
The Space Gamer #59 (January 1983)

Designed by Dan Bunten
Twelve-page rulebook and disk
May be "paused" but not saved
Paddles required.

This game has an unusual setting for combat: Wars are fought in arenas, not battlefields. In the two-player version, each player controls an army composed of machines called Cytrons; in the solitaire version, the computer is the opponent.

There are six types of cytrons, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Shooters are laser-armed, but are easily killed; Bunkers can take several hits before becoming useless, but have no offensive capability; Mines are more powerful than shooters, but must come in contact with their target, and each one may only be used once; Commanders allow for the control of a group of cytrons (orders must usually be given individually), but have no other function; Missiles can attack a small group rather than an individual, but are expensive; and Anti-missiles can shoot down missiles, but have no other function, and don't always arrive on time.

As the game begins, each player owns one command center, four power centers, and as many cytrons as he cares to purchase with the initial power allotment. As the game progresses, power is gained from the power centers and may be saved or used immediately to make new cytrons. Power centers may be captured, but the main objective is to place a mine in your opponent's command center, which destroys it and ends the game. All cytrons (except missiles and anti-missiles, which are handled differently) move at the samerate. Commands allow the players to make new cytrons and to move the ones on the board, but do not allow players to specify targets for their shooters, the main offensive weapon. Shooters choose their own target according to a strict program. It is up to the player to position them properly.

Cytron Masters requires a bit of tactical know-how, and its real-time command system gives it a slight arcade feel. I think this is the perfect combination of arcade and board game. My only complaint involves the game's solitaire version: The computer, as opponent, does not become a progressively better player as the human does, it merely gains a compensating extra amount of power from the power centers.

A last good point which I should mention concerns the game's instructions. Although it has the normal rulebook obligatory to complex computer games, Cytron Masters also has a half-hour instruction program on the disk, complete with visual examples! The rulebook itself isn't necessary except to clarify a few fine rules points.


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