Midway's no stranger to violent fighting games, and Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. continues the trend set by Mortal Kombat. Bio features fierce and brutal combat--on the ground and in the air.
Looks That Kill
Graphically, F.R.E.A.K.S. provides an eyeful, including detailed carnage, fluid animation, and well-designed polygonal characters. And, yes, there's lots of blood to splash around. Although this preview version is a little over 10 percent complete, the graphics are cleaner and smoother than Mace: The Dark Age for the N64.
Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. (Biological Flying Robotic Enhanced Armored Killing Synthoids) takes place in the not-so-distant future, where warring corporations settle their differences in the fighting arena. Eight fighters fill Bio's lineup, and each is equipped with a different weapon and specialized attacks. The game uses six buttons: two punches, two kicks, and Fire Weapon. The sixth button activates your fighter's jet pack, but you can hover in the air only briefly.
Look, Mano Arms
Bio features 3D fighting in gigantic arenas--some with interactive backgrounds that can inflict damage on a fighter (like a mangier machine or fire pits). Another unique feature is the ability to sever an opponent's limbs during a fight. Losing a limb does take some special moves and abilities away from the victim (not to mention health), but even an armless fighter can still win a battle.
Download Bio F.R.E.A.K.S.
Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. clubs its way into the undercrowded Nintendo 64 arena with a unique fighting style and some of the bloodiest beat-downs since Mace: The Dark Age. The only way to disarm an opponent in this game is to literally dis-arm them.
F.R.E.A.K.S. peaks with a few cool fighting shakes that set it apart from the rest of the Nintendo 64 beat-'em-bloody crowd: fighters can briefly fly around the various battle pits, and can lose limbs during a fight. Even if a fighter loses both arms, however, they can still win the battle (which makes for a very gruesome "victory" screen). The arenas--which include everything from giant rollers to acid pits to huge saws--are also dangerous.
The gameplay scheme is a mix of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat controls, using joystick motions and rapid button-tap combos. Unfortunately, combo freaks won't find many high-hitting ones here, and it's easy to pin an opponent in a corner and pummel them to defeat.
If you're starved for a good Nintendo 64 fighting game, Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. deserves a look. It's far from perfect, but for a bloody fighting title, Bio's a great way to ^ reach out and dismember someone.
- If you fall into the giant rollers, you'll lose an arm; if you fly too close to the giant saw blades, you'll be cut in half.
- Fighting Mutilator is painful and frustrating. Use hit-and-run tactics on this titan, and never take him head-on.
- When you fight the last boss, Mutilator, stay out of the water: just below the surface are mechanical piranhas.
Bio uses the red palette...a lot! The characters are very lifelike, as are the colorful fighting stages. However, the moving camera occasionally obscures the action, and the "shield" animation looks more like a graphical glitch than an actual feature.
The controls are sluggish but manageable. Bio's far from unplayable, but some special attacks and techniques can become a hit-and-miss affair, which is a real pisser--especially when you're in the heat of battle.
The audio truly shines with crystal-clear voices, excellent sound effects, and (especially) the reactive roars of an onlooking crowd. The heavy-metal music soundtrack is perfect for the carnage.
Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. doesn't break any new ground, but it's definitely worth a look--particularly if you are a gamer looking for a little variety (and buckets of blood) in your Nintendo 64 fighting-game lineup.
This PlayStation version of Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. suffers from the same problems the N64 one does. First, the play is a bit sluggish. Jumping, pulling off combos and basically just controlling your characters in general is too clunky. I do like the graphics quite a bit (even though they can be a little chunky at times) and the character design is brilliant, but neither of these things are enough. The ability to fly and the fairly large arenas seem cool at first, but when it comes down to it, I'd rather just fight and not fly around. Sure, it's good as a technique, but in all actuality, it doesn't do much for me. Most everything in Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. looks pretty good but all too often fancy visuals are what come to mind as what's cool about this game instead of solid gameplay. Speaking of which, i have to admit the gore in the game is pretty cool. It's been awhile since 1 laughed at squirting blood--and I mean that in a good way. One visual effect that isn't so good is how your character looks white blocking. You get this metal coating or something over your body, except it looks like some lame polygons. It's kind of weird. If you're looking for something to pass the time with when friends are over, then Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. may be something to consider...if it's on sale. But if you're looking for a solid purchase, by all means rent it first.
If anything, this looks slightly better than the N64 version we reviewed last month. Woo-hoo. Unfortunately though, the gameplay still sucks the big one, and now you have to wait for the lengthy load times too. I'm not a fan of pointless button-mashers at the best of times, but with the badly designed characters and cheap special moves (projectile attacks on demand) this just bores me. Yawny-yawny-yawn-yawn.
Like most of Midway's other fighting games, you just can't take Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. seriously. It isn't a very technical fighter, but it really doesn't try to be either. Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. is a showcase of flashy moves (most of them useless), great graphics and tons of gore. 1 can only recommend this game to casual gamers (the types who can enjoy mindless and mind numbing fighting games). But realty, you can find much, much better on the PS.
Yes, just what I wanted--another fighter with cheap button-mashing and flashy 3D effects! Just like the N64 version, the PlayStation one has a bunch of neat-o graphics and loads of gore to cover up the lack of any real game-play. As a fighting game purist, I'll stick with a hardcore old-school fighter instead of this fancy, blood-spurtin', fly-around-and-use-my-gun type of game. If you're like me, this game will only cause you frustration.
Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. is yet another interesting twist on the somewhat tired fighting genre. The game makes its mark with originality and shock appeal. And yes--this one just may shock you a little.
Eleven 3-D, in-the-round arenas featuring flashing lights, dangerous traps and multiple platforms serve as the battleground for you and 10 other mutant fighters. Characters have a wide variety of weapons including: projectiles, guns, standard punches and kicks and the ability to mutilate. Take off an opponent's arm or leg and watch the blood pump out of the fresh wound...now that's entertainment. You may also use preset combos as well as double combos to inflict major damage. Heat-seeking missiles, grenades and even giant shredders figure into the mix as well.
We'll bring you more on this interesting title as it becomes available.
- MANUFACTURER - Sapphire
- THEME - Fighting
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
Not to be confused with now-defunct Virgin's Freak Boy, Bio Freaks is the latest N64 beat-'em-up from Midway, the people who brought you War Gods and Mortal Kombat Trilogy. But don't start running away yet - Bio Freaks looks like it's in a different class altogether. Mlt's in a different class." Sorry, Airplane! flashback.
Set in a post-apocalyptic future that makes Mad Max look like a day trip to Frinton, Bio Freaks faces a total of ten characters (eight selectable, two bosses) against each other to determine who will rule the wasteland. Nothing new there. What is new is that, for starters, all the characters have weapons, ranging from chainsaws and flamethrowers to huge spikes protruding from their bodies. Another difference is that you can actually see the damage inflicted on a fighter as the game progresses. We're not talking about little scratches and small drops of blood here - we're talking limbs lopped off ("It's just a flesh wound!" - sorry, Monty Python flashback), impalements and even decapitations, the latter understandably bringing the Fight to an abrupt halt!
The arenas in which this bloody combat takes place are also a step apart from other fighting fare. Mace introduced the idea of multi-level arenas and dangerous architecture to the 3-D beat-'em-up world, but Bio Freaks takes it to extremes. The arenas can be up to three storeys high (each character is equipped with a ‘hover mode* that lets them fly), and if you throw your opponent into a lava pool or whirling blades they're not going to shrug it off!
Adding to the gory fun is a pseudo- first person perspective for fights, where your fighter becomes transparent rather like the old Punch- Out! games. This kind of view was available in Tekken 2 as a cheat, but this is the first time it's been made a selectable feature.
Developed by British programmers Saffire, Bio Freaks makes use of a 'soft-skinning' technique on the characters, which means an end to texture glitches as the fighters move around. The same technique is being used by hbC Nintendo for 10800 Snowboarding, and hopefully everybody else will take it up. Just say no to manky polygons!
A release in America is scheduled for this summer; GT Interactive will be putting the game out over here around September. We hope to bring you more on this exciting title next issue!
Commendable limb loss and 3D arenas. Not the finished article, though.
In the future, cable TV will beam the exact show you want to watch directly into your brain, tiny robots will give you a full-body workout as you sit in your armchair, and wars will be fought not by resource-consuming armies but by armed androids in one-on-one combat to the death. It's all happening! In the future!
Bio Freaks puts you in the synthetic skin of some of these androids, charged by their company overlords (the world is ruled by evil multinationals like Micro-Gene, NewCell Inc and Disney. This kind of thing happens all the time. In the future!) to get out there and conquer new territories. Plot aside, it's beat-'em-up action as usual... with a few exceptions.
Firstly, Bio Freaks has a distinctive look, through the use of a 'soft-skinning' technique that gives all the fighters, no matter how bizarre, a realism not often seen in fighting games. The technique has now started to be more widely used, but Bio Freaks is its most effective showcase to date.
Secondly... well, it's gory. And not just in a Mortal Kombat gallons-o'-ketchup way, but in a hilariously sadistic manner that the “but they're only androids, not real people" defence barely covers. Limbs fly, heads roll, bodies are sliced clean in two, with severed arteries helpfully marking the point of impact by spraying huge red geysers into the air (and occasionally onto the camera). Not that this stops the fighting - until they're finished off permanently, the Freaks just keep on going even with limbs missing, like sci-fi versions of Monty Python's Black Knight.
It's Just A Flesh Wound
Other additions to the usual fighting formula include aerial combat (all the Freaks are equipped with jetpacks), weapons and shields, but these don't make as much difference to the gameplay as you might think. Shields defend against weapon attacks, but can still be penetrated by slower-moving impacts from blades and fists. Flight allows the Freaks to dodge some attacks and to reach upper platforms of the arenas, though apart from a few arenas where a misplaced landing if you run out of fuel can drop you into iava or toxic waste, the tactical value is fairly limited.
Despite the weapons and shields, most of the game is spent going toe-to-toe with the opposing Freaks, so the success or otherwise of Bio Freaks comes down to whether the combat flows as smoothly as the blood. In general, it does. Some of the moves are a bit too reminiscent of the Mortal Kombat series, which has frequently been criticised for being somewhat jerky and awkward, but it also has a selection of Street Fighter-sty\e rolling moves, which are easier to pull off.
However, it's the gore and amputations that are the obvious selling point, and they do actually make a difference to the gameplay - lop off a character's weapon arm and they can't shoot at you, take off both limbs and they're left waving their stumps and trying to kick you to death. All good clean sick fun. For sheer pace, Mortal Kombat 4 is probably the best N64 fighter, but Bio Freaks has enough going for it to make it a worthwhile alternate purchase.
In the future, wars will be fought by androids hacking off each others' limbs. Sounds like a good fighter, and it is...
Arm-ripping beat-'em-up with excellent graphics, but a little bit shallow on the gameplay front. Fun for a blast every now and then.
During a fight, hold Left on the Dpad and press start to switch to a first-person view.
What d'ya get when you plop a gun-totin' bounty hunter and a sword-wieldin' synthoid in an arena surrounded by a moat filled with lava? One heck of a bloody battle, which may even result in someone losing a limb or two. Despite this cool premise, Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. will surely be over shadowed by other solid PlayStation arena-based fighting games such as Bloody Roar and Mortal Kombat 4.
Sporting characters that could've jumped right out of The Road Warrior, F.R.E.A.K.S. is more of a 3D-action battle game than a true beat-down brawler. Bio is ruled by hit-and-run techniques (like in Virtual On), with little emphasis on combos. In fact, the only time combos are effective is when you blow off your opponent's arm and can get in close--and even then it's a matter of exact timing, 'cause chances are they still have enough firepower in their remaining extremity to blast you clear across the screen.
If you're a fan of weapons-based fighting and gore galore, Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. offers a good round of pugnacious fun. However, if you like more of a straight-up brawl, all fists point toward Tekken 3 and Bloody Roar.
- Taking the high road will enable you to easily rain death down on your opponent.
- You can finish off your opponents right quick if you trap them in a corner.
Bio's graphics are pretty smooth, but some backgrounds look really pixelated when the camera zooms in. The combatants sport clean textures and nice, if not gruesome, details. However, the first-person view is a bust because it's hard to tell your location in the arena.
Bio's controls can be a bit finicky at times, and it'll take practice to master 'em. Once you get your timing down, though, you'll be shooting off your opponent's limbs with ease.
The background music features an average mixture of industrial and techno beats. The in-game battle effects work well, from the blast of Sabotage's machine gun to the wet gush after you blow off someone's arm.
While it's clear that Tekken 3 (and probably Mortal Kombat 4) will rule the PlayStation ring, Bio's futuristic freak factor makes it worth renting just for the sheer pleasure of destroying your opponent while fighting with one arm.