Should you be a fan of relatively obscure animes, and a fan of the CD-i, have I got a game for you! Based on the anime GALAXY EXPRESS 999, Escape From Cyber City is more than a simple FMV rail shooter; though, admittedly, not much more.
I cannot say I'm familiar with the anime in question, though the subject matter seems very suitable for a video game. After a devastating war, a cruel dictator rises to power and enslaves the bulk of humanity with his robotic cabal, and it is up to our hero, a plucky young lad with an antique laser gun, to save the day. While this game is one of the most enjoyable titles I've unearthed for the CD-i, I wouldn't go as far as calling it the CD-i's "killer app". Hell, I think saying "the CD-i's killer app" is an oxymoron. The game has that frustrating flair established by games like Dragon's Lair and Space Ace. The biggest difference is the ability to choose alternate paths in your pursuit of salvation. A lot of the paths, at least when starting out, are dead ends that usually find you being captured or killed. Still, you've got to hand it to Philips for at least trying, albeit however half-assed there attempt was.
When beginning a new game, the first paths to take are not immediately obvious, which is not the approach to take if your intent is to get a player hooked. When the first alleyway backdrop is visible, you have to scroll the cursor to the left or right to see possible exits; failure to do so will spawn a scene where three armed soldier drones approach and either capture you or capture you after you open fire on them. This is how the majority of the game plays and feels, though, which certainly didn't earn it any points.
At heart, this is a rail shooter with some alternate paths thrown in for "good measure". Since the majority of the game is set in that first-person shooter perspective, you would think the cross-hair would be more responsive; sadly it is usually not the case. Even when you know you are to dispose of who or whatever is firing at you, the standard Space Ace style devices allot you far less time that is necessary to even get your bearings. These games could have seen much more popularity had they only given the player more time to figure them out.
I was impressed with the attempts Philips made to add depth to this game, but overall it just isn't a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I do believe this is the highest score I've given a CD-i game, so it at least has that going for it.