In the far future, a fanatical group of religious extremists known as the Mondites have begun a campaign of galactic conquest. Lead by the seriously whacked-out Prime Paragon, the Mondites believe in the evolution of man through machine by cybernetic implants. Unfortunately everyone they've applied their theory to so far has ended up either dead or insane. Until you came along.
You are a prisoner in a Mondite complex with no memory of your former life. Your body has been turned into a hideous cybernetic nightmare by the evil Dr. Mastaba. The Mondites have discovered a long dead alien civilization of unimaginable power. And to make matters worse one of the aliens was accidentally revived from its tomb and is now running rampant throughout the complex.
Bioforge is an action-adventure game similar to Alone in the Dark, featuring polygonal characters over pre-rendered backgrounds and 3D combat.
It's time for some history. There was always a unique game that would make a small revolution and start the whole new category of video-games, the one that is the very first of the kind. As soon as that kind of game is released, you can tell that in no time there will be hundreds of "clones" and "look-alikes". And usually there will be another game that will make that category even more popular. So there were Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, Dune 2 and C&C, and so there was Alone in the Dark, the game that started this new category - 3D action-adventure.
Alone in the Dark, naturally had a lot of stuff that could be improved. One of them (and perhaps the most important since the story and atmosphere were great) was the movement of the character. It was much more like a robot than like the man. So, it was just a question of time before some game'd make a serious improvement in this area. The first one was the famous Ecstatica, where the design of the characters was based on ellipsoid and very realistic movement. The next step was the same effect but with realistic design. The next step was Bioforge.
Everything about this game seemed incredible when it was released: graphics, gameplay and especially the atmosphere. Naturally, when you play it a little you will see that it is not perfect, but there was no major fault that could bring down the entire impression. Enough of this general praise, let's go one by one.
A ship docks on a strange planet and two armoured men carry some guy who can't even walk inside. You can also see a face with an evil smile starting some sort of an operation. Next thing you know is that you woke up in a cell of some kind not knowing where you are and even more not knowing what you are. Although this kind of a start was used so many times in games, movies and stories, it doesn't seem to fail in making an interesting start. And when talking about Bioforge, what a start it is. You will immediately realize that the fact that you're awake doesn't mean that you survived yet.
Conversations with other characters are either automatic or in the cut-scenes. But you will find most of the information reading computer logs and personal notebooks. Here and there you'll find someone's notebook where you will find info about what happened from different aspects and sometimes you'll find important codes. Slowly you'll get a picture of what is going on while trying to discover your identity, what happened to you and perhaps the way of escaping. You don't have to read everything carefully if you don't want to bother. Instead you can just quickly move through logs or notebooks and then read the important information in your own log. There will be very few friends and a lot of danger of various sorts. The game manages to remain an adventure while you constantly deal with new troubles. The storyline is much deeper than it seems at the start and after a lot of action and slow progress in the story, things will turn around later. Well, there will still be a lot of action.
The combat button will switch the combat mode on/off. While in combat mode, you can combine hand and leg buttons with numpad buttons to perform a variety of attacks and dodges. Hand-to-hand combat is done very well, you will try to make hit after hit without giving your foe the time to fight back. If he does, you must perform the block unless he is too fast and manages to make hit after hit. So there is no easy fight really. This is also where biggest fault in the game comes to light: sometimes the camera position won't offer a good view of you and your foe. That may get irritating sometimes when you simply miss your enemy because you can't determine the right direction and he remains free to attack however he pleases. When in combat mode, if you don't do anything you will automatically orient towards the enemy, but sometimes you will want to run toward him and hit him right away. Automatic orientation is a good thing but still some cameras will give you headaches. This is not an easy game and this especially goes for action parts, because it may often happen that you start a duel very well, but one mistake can give your foe enough advantage to defeat you.
It is interesting to see the damage on your body. The less health you have, the more wounds will appear on you. Health can be restored using the battery inside of you. You actually have a battery that provides energy for your body and can be used for health recovery. This is important as there are not many new batteries to be found. Energy will be very important later, but you will have to discover it yourself. You will find only a few sorts of weapons but it is really not a fault. Every blaster can also be used as the club. At the end it seems that you will have more fights with hitting than shooting. You will be mostly shooting at robots of various kinds. Lasers are reflecting off glass and certain walls so you can shoot while still covered. This is sometimes the only way to defeat some enemies. And sometimes it is best to simply be fast.
This review could go on and on but it's better not to say it all. So, everything about this game is great indeed. It's an action-packed adventure with a deep and interesting story and a lot of troubles and puzzles to take care. This game is highly recommended to all video-game lovers, not only adventure and action fans. Surely one of the best games of it's kind.
Unfortunately, you need DOSBox to play it in XP and you will need a lot of skills to make it run smooth. The full enjoyment is reserved for those with Win98 (or older) only or perhaps for better emulation. Make sure that sound settings in DosBox match the settings in the game (IRQ,DMA).
Mount the directory where the Bioforge is as C: in DosBox. Example: if your Bioforge directory is in C:\\Games\\Bioforge, then: mount c: c:\\games
Use BIOFORGE.EXE to run the game
Bioforge is an action/adventure game that tries to do a lot, and only succeeds at some of it. Also it is at times ridiculously difficult, and combat can be a frenzied, disappointing experience. Still I love this game, because of the great plot, the excellent atmosphere, and the at the time state-of-the-art textured polygon graphics. The voice-acting is some of the best I've heard in video games (not a lot of competition) and actually adds to the atmosphere rather than looking tacked-on.
Bioforge casts you as an unknown test subject in a diabolical secret research project by some cultish baddies. You've been made into the ultimate killing machine, and you have been stripped of your memories. Your goal is to escape and find out your identity, hopefully punishing your torturers on the way. Sort of cliche to start, but it picks up nicely when you escape, and beat your fellow cellmate to death with his own severed arm...
Weird, huh? Well that's Bioforge. If you don't take the time to read every datapad and other information you come across, stuff will make no sense and you'll want to rip the CD (or the CD-rip) in half. If you do look around carefully, you will see that the guys at Origin put a hell of a lot into this game. There is an explanation for everything you've done and every thing you need to do. The trouble is finding it.
Combat: A necessary evil, but once you're good at it, you can trounce anything that moves. The key thing is pausing your mad mash of buttons so your character can turn back to face your foe. Otherwise you will be off target and get caught in an endless fullisade of punches and kicks.
There's some agonizing sequences (the reactor, for one), but if you think before you blunder into them, you'll do fine. The end game is extremely satisfying, since your character is kitted out with alien weapons and shields and you basically beat down about ten space marines in a row. Turning on the power to the alien base and finally killing that damn alien soldier is fun. Another neat thing about the game is it feels like a Schwarzenegger movie. Your character is full of campy one-liners and amnesia-movie cliches during combat, and I for one found it great fun to listen to. The ending and beginning cinematics are also great, almost movie-quality.
So if you like adventure games, but won't shy away from a little action, Bioforge is your ticket. It reminds me of Out of this World with its combination of action and adventure. You'll just have to read a lot more.
People who downloaded BioForge have also downloaded:
Alone in the Dark, Dark Earth, Alone in the Dark 3, Alone in the Dark 2, Bermuda Syndrome, Alone in the Dark 4: The New Nightmare, Blade of Darkness, Blair Witch Volume 1: Rustin Parr
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