by Gary Hartman

Published December 1994 (PC Register)

Lunicus is an action space game from a first-person perspective. The aliens have invaded and your job is to blast as many aliens and alien-robots as possible before they destroy you and the Earth. Lunicus is produced by Cyberflix (Knoxville, TN).

Lunicus has no hard-copy documentation to speak of. I searched the box and jewel case in vain for clues regarding installation. The only installation information provided was hidden at the bottom of a flyer announcing other Cyberflix products. There is no manual describing the game scenario or what you're supposed to be blowing up, or how to accomplish this. A readme.txt file on the CD provides system requirements, installation instructions, and troubleshooting hints. Once the game is running, extensive on-line help is available, and games are easily saved by clicking on an icon of a diskette.

Once deciphering the process, I had no problems with installation. Lunicus comes on an MPC CD-ROM, so no disk-swapping is necessary. Lunicus runs under Microsoft's Win32s, a flat mode extender for the Windows 3.1 operating system. After installation, you have to run Win32s before running Lunicus (the "FreeCell" card game is provided as a check for potential interface problems).
Upon installation, Lunicus creates a new icon ("Lunicus") in Program Manager. Clicking on the "Lunicus" icon will launch the program. Other icons are also created, including "FreeCell" and several icons which run demos of additional games produced by Cyberflix.

You start Lunicus from a space station, where you wander around and interact with a few characters.  Interaction is minimal, allowing for only a few questions or comments, with standard responses which never change. From these interactions, you must figure out what you need to do to be able to fly to Earth to begin battling the bad-guys. Once on Earth, you are in a building with multiple floors; each floor is a simple maze (all of the floors are alike) in which alien robots wander around and shoot at you. You can tell where the nearest robots are by referring to the radar readout located in the upper right corner of the screen. Most of your targets are on the floor, but some are flying robots (much harder to hit). The object is to destroy all of the robots without getting yourself blown-up in the process. You may replenish your shields and stock up on ammunition by clicking the mouse cursor on certain cabinets. Although the floors all look alike, different ammunition and other useful stuff is contained in cabinets on different floors. This forces you to travel most of the floors in a building to stock up on ammunition and supplies before going outside into the city streets.

To enter the city streets from a building, you have to go into the elevator and press the down button. In the city streets, you travel in a tank and blast away at more alien robots, both on the ground and flying. The city streets are also a maze, but they are more complicated than the buildings. As in the buildings, the flyers are hardest to hit. If you start running out of ammunition, or if your shields are low, you can click on one of the numerous doorways to enter the building. Once inside, you can replenish your supplies from the cabinets. Don't worry about getting lost, since all of the buildings have the same layout. Each building comes complete with more alien robots to blast.

Navigation works the same in both the buildings and the city streets. Turning is accomplished by either using the arrow keys on the keyboard or clicking with the mouse. You can only turn in 90-degree increments. Because of the relative slowness in executing a turn, I found it very frustrating to try to turn where I wanted to go (if the arrow key is held down for a fraction of a second too long, you'll turn 180 degrees rather than the intended 90-degree turn).

Lunicus is an interesting and challenging game. However, I found the game play to be very repetitive, movement was somewhat clunky,  and I was not particularly impressed by the "bare-bones" graphics. I do not believe that Lunicus would have significant long-term playability, except for die-hard space shoot-em-up fans.

System Tested On:
IBM compatible PC (Gateway 2000) with a 80486 at 66 Mhz
DOS 6.2 & Windows for Workgroups 3.11
8 MB of RAM & 420 MB hard drive

Minimum System:
IBM compatible computer, 386 or higher (33 MHZ or higher recommended)
Microsoft Windows 3.1 or greater
DOS 3.3 or greater
SVGA with 256 colors (640x480)
Sound Blaster compatible sound card with speakers
CD-ROM drive
4 MB of RAM
30 MB of available disk space

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Last Revised:  April 11, 2000