During the first global biowar, a powerful retrovirus filled the planet Avaron with new and deadly forms of life. Only a few survivors remain in O.P. Odysseus, an orbiting platform circling Avaron.
Hundreds of years after the biowar, conditions on Avaron are still hostile but livable. Your mission is to pilot a Bioship to Avaron, fly over the areas that the probes have labeled least hostile, and check out the conditions there.
They don't make 'em like this anymoreGAMERamble | April 8, 2011 | See all GAMERamble's reviews »
It's seems for once it's not Earth that got invaded by ravenous mutant aliens but the planet Averon. The results remain pretty much the same though with the place in shambles and disgusting alien freaks crawling all over the place. Instead of a lone pilot send in to clean up the mess you have control of the Biowarriors, four flying genetic fighting machines, each with their own unique look and style.
Bio-Hazard looks and feels pretty much like your average side scrolling shooter but is also a lot more polished. Up to two players can play at the same time and the option to pick from four different fighters is cool. This makes a welcome change from the norm where player two is just a different colored version of player one. You also have the option to set the difficulty although be warned if you play on practice you'll only get to play until level five. Increasing the difficulty makes a drastic change to the amount of enemies and bullets against you so be glad that you have ten continues at your disposal. It's a pity that the player that dies first has to sit and twiddle their thumbs until the other player is game over before they can continue and I would have preferred five continues each that could have been used at any time. Not having to restart the entire long stage after being annihilated by the mothership would also have been welcome.
The graphics in the game are something else and are often so hectic with movement that finding yourself is tricky , never mind enemies or bullets. All the creatures are ray traced giving them a smooth and detailed look while the animation's was top notch for its time. Enemies rotate and move in and out of the backgrounds with ease and some of the larger enemies look so cool you have to force yourself to concentrate on the bullets and not stare at their movement. Likewise levels are detailed and varied and feature a host of cool locations. Fallen cities, infested jungles, spooky caves, underwater lairs and even a showdown with a huge space shuttle crawling with parasites make up the levels. There are only eight levels but they are so challenging that even with ten continues you won't be completing this game in a hurry.
The motherships were a bit of a missed opportunity though. There were one or two awesome ones but looking at the smooth movement and detail of the other enemies I think more could have been done. The last mothership in particular is nothing spectacular although it does take a pounding before going down. At times it's also almost impossible to dodge the bullets coming your way due to the swarms of enemies and obstacles on screen. Your firepower can be upgraded in the usual side scrolling shooter tradition and each power-up has it's own colored icon. The more of the same colored icons you collect the more powerful your weapon becomes. The difference though his that it's not your main gun that upgrades but instead a small drone that hovers around your ship R-Type style and fires while you do. Each Biowarrior also has different styles in which their turrets fire making sure that you'll have a favourite. You an also hold in your second fire button and release it to unleash a devastating concentrated attack best used to clear the screen of smaller enemies or large behemoths.
The sounds in the game were a definite highlight, although the sound effects were a bit of a letdown compared to the awesome music. Instead of the usual hectic music found in shooter games you instead have some eerie and atmospheric background tunes as you cruise through the alien infested areas. The music also builds gradually complementing the onscreen action perfectly. Controls are very responsive and you only have your fire button to worry about. It's also set to autofire so at least your thumb is still working after playing this game for a while. With the variable difficulty settings Bio-Hazard Battle is ideal for veterans looking for a new challenge as well as newbies to the genre. The fact that you can "practice" the game without spoiling the ending is a good thing and the four fighters something I'd like to see in more shooter games. The graphics are great despite the usual limited Megadrive palette and even the music is good. Fans of the genre should definitely check this one out. Frantic and fun.