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Bio FREAKS Review

Publisher - Midway
Developer - Saffire
Platform - N64
Type - Fighting
Score - 6/10

Their latest incarnation in the fighting genre is Bio Freaks. A wonderful little title that stands out for praise in some respects, but at the same time deserves a good caning in others. The gist of the story of the game is this: our world as we know it gets to a point of such disorder and chaos over money and territories that large bio-engineering and industrial companies have opted to settle these disputes in the arena by sending out their most gruesome, aggressive, heartless man-made killing machines to rip, tear, and shred each other apart. Sounds just like a normal Saturday night, eh? Oh, and one more thing, pull out that rain coat cuz this game's got more blood than a group of hemophiliacs mutilating each other while watching horror movies. Blood is a plenty here.

Graphics: The graphics here are top notch kiddies. If you thought Mace and Killer Instinct were nice, the graphics here could make you think second thoughts. Light sourcing from the Lava arena as well as the pulsing bursts of light that shine off of your armor as you spray the arena with gunfire adds to the excitement and realism of the game. One of the characters, a Lara Croft-esque bounty hunter named Sabotage also throws spears which get stuck in the wall or into the floor of the arena when you miss the opponent. However, if you do manage to hit your opponent, you can be sure that he will be in excruciating pain because he will continue to fight with all of the spears you impaled him/her with! There is just something really beautiful about looking at your opponent with 20-30 spears jutting out of their torso.

Anyways, back to the graphics. Framerate is consistent at 30 fps considering all the rendering, shadowing, and interactive arenas. There is minimal to no slowdown at all. Yes the arenas are interactive much like in Mace and they range from arenas with lava pits, buzzsaws, giant crushing rollers, to multiple tiers where you can bring your fighting to a whole new level, literally. Character animation is impressive with no seams (Fighter's Destiny), and even facial expressions that change with the outcome of the match. Taking off your opponent's limbs or doing a finishing move where you smack off his head like a ping pong ball is pure butter. You can almost taste your opponent's blodd as it splatters all over the screen in dark red blotches. Of course you know, playing without arms could seriously change your attack options, so this game is as much strategy as it is action. Graphics in this game is not an issue.

Sound: Sound is above average. Typical midi fanfare plays through in some arenas while most have a techno-ish, upbeat soundtrack to accompany the various ass-whupping tactics. There is no announcer to annoy you (Fighter's Destiny) except for the narrator to the game's story intro. The characters do have individual voices, though one or two are difficult in trying to make out what they're saying. Two of the funniest sayings come from the characters Sabotage and Bullzeye. In Sabotage's intro, she throws a spear out, and after you hear it impale someone, she proceeds to say: "I lose more boyfriends that way!". In one of Bullzeye's moves, he shoots towards the feet of the opponent while screaming "Dance Freak, Dance!" as you see your opponent doing a little jig to avoid your gunfire. Ahhh...if only Yosemite Sam was a hidden character.

Control: Control in this game is tight and responsive, as a fighting game's control should be. Saffire took the clue of Fighter's Destiny (do I have a thing for Fighter's Destiny or what? LOL) and included character move lists at the push of the start button. By default (you can change them), there is a button to fire your arm mounted cannon (A button), to hover (B Button), evade left and right (L & R), and left punches and kicks (the C button grouppo). Character movement can also be controlled via either the control pad or analog joystick. There is also a move display on screen so you can be sure you are performing your sadistic, psychopathic moves perfectly.

Gameplay:'s where the monkey deserves a good spanking. I give credit to Midway/Saffire for variety in terms of being able to spray your opponent with gunfire as well as hovering around the arena to gain tactical advantage, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty, fighting just becomes meaningless dodging and firing upon each other. There is very little hand-to-hand combat here as even the computer is smart enough to stay at a safe distance to pound you with lead. I don't know about you, but when I play a fighting game, I want to see my fist connecting with some poor schmuck's head or face. When I was at a distance, I found myself straining to rain fire upon my opponents, but when fighting got close, it all seemed like the same-old button mashing exercises we all know too well. Perhaps I'm too pampered by Capcom's Street Fighter series or Namco's Tekken series, but I would have preferred a more "hands-on" aggression in this game.

Overall: Bio Freaks deserves a look. Be warned, it might not be for the avid game fighter player. It attempts to combine strategic elements of Street Fighter and Tekken with the action of Killer Instinct and Mortal Kombat, but somehow I think it still has a way to go. For mindless, limb-decaptitating, bloody fun..this game has got your ticket. Serious fighters should take with a grain of salt.