Until recently, arcade-style games for the PC have often fallen short of similar titles developed for consoles. However Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. (which stands for Biological Flying Robotic Enhanced Armored Killing Synthoids) has the speed, graphics, and all-around playability of a first-rate coin-in-the-slot game.
The basic concept of the game is, well, basic. Choose which genetically improved "freak" you want to play, pick the opposing super-beast you want to fight, and then smash, shoot, and slash away. If you win the fight, you get to do it all over again.
In spite of this relatively simple concept, the game is a lot more difficult and far more fun than it sounds. Not only do you have to be quick at hand-to-hand combat, but you also have to remember that the characters are armed with anything from guns to chain saws and that, thanks to a rocket pack option, both your character and his opponent can fly.
Because it takes a while to master the multitasking required to make good use of all this weaponry, Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. is best played with a gamepad. But even using keyboard controls, the gameplay becomes fairly intuitive and the various special moves are easy enough to pick up. The real beauty of the game is in the stunning locations and the use of television-style camera angles to provide the best view of the action.
The battle arenas are three-dimensional and feature a suitably depressing atmosphere and eerie, distant sound effects. Luckily for more defensive players, there are plenty of places in the arena to hide before jumping out to surprise your opponent. Be prepared -- the violence is displayed with the same degree of detail as the locations, so parental discretion is advised.
The violence is often important to the gameplay, however. For example, it makes sense that a character won't be able to perform certain moves after losing one or more of his or her (or its) limbs! Gamers who are looking for their next adrenaline fix should love this game. It is ideal for a quick burst of action -- even if it does cost (your favorite character) an arm and a leg.
Graphics: 3D and very fast screen scrolling.
Sound: Blood curdling screams and realistic chainsaw and gunfire
Enjoyment: Great fun if you like fighting games!
Replay Value: I'll get you next time, you ugly brute...
Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. is a little known, competent PC version of Midway's Playstation and N64 game of the same name. Although the game is far from classics like the Tekken series, it is still much better than the horrible War Gods, Midway's previous fighting game. Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. boasts innovative character design and exciting 3D environments, although the controls still feel "sticky" and the fighting system sub-par. The game even has an interesting backstory (although still cheesy): in the far future, America has fallen and the fifty states have broken up into different territories. Huge corporations have started to take over the different states and are using genetically enhanced spies to look into the dealings of other corporations. Attempting to regain control of escalating violence, an agreement was made between the corporations and the remaining US governmen to settle disputes between corporations in an arena. This is when the corporations developed the "Bio F.R.E.A.K.S.", short for Biological Flying Robotic Enhanced Armored Killing Synthoids.
There are nine different fighters to choose from, including some of the most interesting characters you'll ever see in a fighting game. There are three different classes of "F.R.E.A.K.S.", synthoids that have no mechanical enhancements, "retros" that have weapons attached to their bodies, and "dozers" that are completely mechanical except for their brains. The weapons and armor that each character have are all different, and very cool to use. Zipperhead, for example, has a huge gun attached to one arm, and a massive axe-like weapon attached to the other. Of course, you can use either of these weapons in the game along with various kicks and special moves to dismember and decapitate your opponents. To make the action even more fun, each character has a gun and a jet-pack, so you are able to fly around anywhere in a level as well as shoot your opponent. Protection against the guns comes in the form of a shield, which can only be activated for a short time before running out. This adds a bit of strategy to an otherwise static fighting game. The gameplay is very reminiscent of Time Killers, an old arcade game where you could chop the other characters to pieces. In Bio F.R.E.A.K.S., you can cut off opponents' arms, or decapitate them for the quick finish. Similar to Mortal Kombat, Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. is extremely gory. Blood flies everywhere including in-your-face across the camera. The graphics are detailed and the animation very smooth.
Unfortunately for all its neat characters and cool weapons, Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. is weakest in the area that matters most in a fighting game: the fighting system. Compared with the likes of Tekken, the fighting in Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. just feels sticky and childlike. The projectile weapon / shield balance is the most innovative part of the combat, and is well done. However, being unable to perform complicated combos and reversals, as well as throws, makes the game feel very dated and restrictive. And there is nothing to entice you back to the game once you beat the (insanely difficult) final boss. There are no hidden characters, easter eggs, or any other bonus. The game doesn't have many problems, but what problems it has are significant enough to affect the fun factor. Overall, check out Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. only if you are not looking for depth in a fighting game, or are beginner to the genre looking for a relatively simple game that makes a good diversion once in a long while.
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