Published on May 13th, 2024 | by Gareth Newnham

Cyber Citizen Shockman 3: The Princess From Another World Review

Cyber Citizen Shockman 3: The Princess From Another World Review Gareth Newnham

Summary: One for retro enthusiasts and run-and-gun die-hards.


Knife to a gunfight

When you see Cyber Citizen Shockman 3: The Princess From Another World ( Shockman 3), your first thought is likely to be, how do I play the other two, and why I haven’t heard of this series before?

Put simply, aside from some fairly quiet Virtual console ports for the Wii / WiiU, this Mega Man-esque action platformer had the misfortune of being on the PC Engine (Turbografix), and so no bugger ever played them. That is until the first two entries in the series were unleashed onto consoles as part of Shockman Collection Vol.1 Earlier this year.


If you’re a completionist, I’d say pick up the Shockman Collection Vol.1 first and go from there, as it’s only $17. However, you don’t need to play the previous games to enjoy Shockman 3. As with most games from the 16-bit era, the story is mere window dressing for the over-the-top action contained therein.

Shockman 3 opens with series protagonists Sonya and Arnold relaxing on a beach while a huge spaceship lands in their hometown, helmed by a Princess who wants to restore the might of the Gaian people.

The duo then transform into their Shockman forms to rush off and stop the princess. However, one of the princess’s helpful henchmen releases a demon called Gash, who had been held captive for 200 years, to help with the invasion, and all hell literally breaks loose.

It’s all nonsense, but it’s charmingly rendered with the kind of cheap early 90s anime cutscenes that I still adore. This is the first time that these cutscenes have been translated into English.

You can also play through the original PC Engine CD-ROM release Kaizō Chōjin Shubibinman 3: Ikai no Princess, which features overwrought Japanese voice acting and characters with much better names (Tasuke and Kyapiko).

Translation work aside, very little has been done to change the core experience of Shockman 3, and it’s very much a game of its time (1992). So expect lots of parallax scrolling, big bright sprites, and tons of explosions. Oh, and the kind of controller-tossing difficulty spikes that second-string run-and-gun games of the period were known for.

However, to add to your list of worries, you don’t have a gun. Instead, you hack away at everything with a large sword or charged shot summoned by holding the attack button. But don’t expect Zero from Mega Man X or Strider. There just isn’t that level of acrobatics on display or swordsmanship, either.

Though you can choose to play as either Arnold or Sonya, in practice, both control and attack exactly the same way. This is odd, considering Shockman 2 introduced gunplay and was much closer to a traditional Megaman clone. You would think a sequel would expand on that instead of just tossing it aside.

In many ways, Shockman 3 feels like an attempt to be the PC Engine’s answer to Megaman, but it learned all the wrong lessons from the blue bomber’s early adventures. Whatever flow state you manage to get yourself in is inevitably interrupted by tedious platforming sections and bosses with big health bars, screen-filling specials, and attacks that make you feel like you’ve bought a knife to a gunfight (because our heroes have).

If you just want to get to the credits and don’t care how, there is a built-in cheat system that gives you everything you’d expect, from infinite health and lives to being able to kill bosses in a single hit. As you would expect, this takes all the frustration out of playing the game and what was left of the fun. However, a happy medium can be achieved if you’re selective with what cheats you use, and the game becomes a lot more enjoyable as a result.

If you need a break from trying to save the world from alien princesses and demons, Shockman 3 also contains the usual bonus features that most retro ports these days include: the original manual ( but unless you read Japanese, it’s about as useful as the one in Tunic) and galleries of concept and fan art. Its nothing major but a welcome addition all the same.

Final Thoughts

Shockman 3 ultimately feels like a classic run-and-gun game where the hero has forgotten to pack their pistol. Though hacking and slashing through hordes of foes is always fun, and it certainly has that high-octane arcade charm that most PC Engine games have even to this day. It’s hard to recommend to all but PC Engine enthusiasts and genre die-hards due to its punishing platforming and brutal boss fights.

However, for just under $10, if you think you’re up for the challenge, it’s probably worth a punt.

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