|Art by Brent Anderson|
The premise of CYB✪RG C✪MMAND✪™ – heroic individuals undergoing a dangerous, experimental process in order to fight invading aliens – is good enough. Unfortunately, the game does not implement this premise in an especially engaging way. A better implementation of this premise can be found in the Strikeforce Morituri series published by Marvel Comics.
Created by Peter B. Gillis and Brent Anderson, Strikeforce Morituri began publication in 1986, the year prior to the release of CYBORG COMMANDO. The story begins in 2072, four years after an extraterrestrial race, the “Horde,” began their depredations upon the Earth. Human technology is no match for Horde technology. Thus the Horde launch pillaging raids from their orbital base and several land bases without fear of reprisal. The Horde have no interest in exterminating humanity or conquering the world, they just loot whatever civilizations they encounter. Still, they have more personality than CYBORG COMMANDO's Xenoborgs. The Horde use psychology against humans and Gillis does a good job of demonstrating their cruelty.
The Morituri represent the only hope humanity has against the Horde. Only a select few are accepted to take the Morituri Process, which has two phases. Phase one enhances the subject's physiology and grants increased strength so as to withstand the stress of the next phase. Phase two imparts a super-power to a subject, the exact nature of which is impossible to predict. Eventually, every Morituri subject will reject the enhancements with fatal results. Hence the name “Morituri,” which comes from the Latin phrase nos morituri te salutamus (“we who are about to die salute you”); a phrase attributed to gladiators. Whether or not any gladiator actually made that remark is immaterial to its relevance to our protagonists. Ideal Morituri candidates are expected to live up to a year before the process kills them. The “up to a year” lifespan is taken for granted, even though this assumption is made before any Morituri subject has survived for nearly that long. It seems to be wishful thinking or perhaps we as readers are supposed to suspend disbelief in this regard.
The Morituri enjoy a celebrity status, which is as important (if not more so) than their actual military accomplishments. In testament to this, the commander of the Morituri squad is not a Morituri herself, but had experience in the entertainment industry prior to the invasion. This is the type of dramatic element of which CYBORG COMMANDO does not take advantage.
A game based on Strikeforce Morituri would seem to offer a richer experience than CYBORG COMMANDO's “setting.” This is especially true in that there is little to distinguish CYBORG COMMANDO characters for one another while each Morituri subject has a different power.