North American Nintendo 64 cover art
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. is a 3D fighting game released by Midway in 1998. It was originally planned for arcades. Prototypes of the game were tested at arcades, but the final arcade release was canceled (although a rom image of the prototype was eventually dumped and works in MAME) and the game was later released for the PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and PC.
- Bullzeye, State represented: California. Freak classification: Synthoid
- Delta, State represented: Michigan/Indiana. Freak classification: Synthoid
- Minatek, State represented: Missouri. Freak classification: Dozer
- Psyclown, State represented: Illinois. Freak classification: Synthoid
- Purge, State represented: Utah. Freak classification: Retro
- Sabotage, State represented: Maryland. Freak classification: Bounty Hunter
- Ssapo, State represented: New Mexico. Freak classification: Retro
- ZipperHead, Freak classification: Retro
- Clonus, State represented: Florida. Freak classification: Unknown
- Mutilator, State represented: Texas. Freak classification: Dozer
The World of Neo-Amerika
In the not-too-distant future, the mighty country known as America has fallen like all great empires throughout history. Its fifty states broken into private territories after what was called... The Techno-Industrial Civil Wars. Computer technology, bio-engineering, cybernetics and mechanics accelerated at such an incredible rate, it forced industrial competition to the point of uncontrollable and ruthless corporate espionage.
While the government tried to keep control of the country by a single thread, the effect of the giant corporations' white collar wars drove the economy into a tail spin. With Wall Street in shambles, the government bankrupt and technological corporate giants running unorthodox takeovers, Neo-Amerika was born. Starting with Micro-Gene, a Dallas based microchip / bio engineering company, New Mexico was easily annexed by the construction of more micro-chip processing plants and cloning technology labs. Arizona was the company's next target and by the time Micro-Gene moved in on Nevada, things started to get ugly. Micro-Gene had been using enhanced agents to spy, sabotage and gather information on competing companies, but other competitors began fighting back with their own brand of genetically enhanced corporate spies and agents.
These wars between giant corporations a.k.a. "GI-Corps", gave way to more complicated, advanced and unethical methods. The kidnapping of corporate executives and replacing them with clones capable of downloading company secrets was becoming commonplace. Soon, murder and terrorist tactics became tools of choice in the battle between the GI-Corps.
With the advent of the GI-Corps battles, each State developed desperate measures to secure themselves from a hostile take-over. By declaring Federal independence from the U.S., drastic laws and borders were created between states. Violence soon reared its ugly head and the Techno-Industrial Civil Wars began.
Something had to be done before the once great country destroyed itself or became target to outside invasion. An agreement had to be made between the government and the GI-Corps before America was torn apart. So a radical concept was introduced to prevent the possible loss of millions in the increasing wars between GI-Corp controlled states. Thus...
The Secret Games Commission (SGC)
Spearheaded by forces unknown (possibly foreign interest), a commission was set up in league with the remaining U.S. Government to regulate the piracy that was tearing apart the United States with the hopes of possibly re-uniting the once proud country. The SGC and the American Government put forth a proposal to the GI-Corps: territorial or contract disputes would be settled in an arena. Instead of armies, one champion would represent a GI-Corp controlled state in battle against another corporation's champion. The winning Champion would take control of the opposing state along with whatever other states that may have been acquired from previous battles.
The Coming of the Bio F.R.E.A.K.S.
The first unified law in decades was passed and the concept of one-on-one battles settling GI-Corp disputes became a reality. As a matter of fact, the creation of ultimate fighting machines was inevitably the next step in the industrial world of Neo-Amerika and its civil wars.
Each GI-Corp jumped at the opportunity to create these warriors from technology they specialized in. Cloning had become an easy task for the science divisions of the corporate states. Enhancement by genetics and cybernetics were available technologies as well. Born from these scientific secrets were: Biological Flying Robotic Enhanced Armored Killing Synthoids.
Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. for short, these enhanced humans were created specifically for the purpose of battle. Bred in laboratories as killing machines, the Freaks were genetically endowed with peak strength and agility, a rapid healing factor, body tissue regeneration and built-in weaponry. They are owned by the GI-Corps and controlled through a bio-drive that also allows them to down-load combat skills and strategies. An intricate tattoo of circuitry gives them access to the bio-drives, which are located in each Freak's skull. There are three stages of Freakdom:
- Synthoids: Genetically enhanced clones with tissue regrowth abilities.
- Retros: (as in retrofit): One flaw in the Freak creation process is that the tissue regrowth abilities will fail after a while. If a body part is destroyed and the regeneration processes has discontinued, cybernetic replacements are attached to the Freak.
- Dozers: These are freaks who have not only lost so much of their human tissue but also the ability to regenerate. Their bodies are completely mechanical save for the brain.
Closed-circuit battle pits are where all the action takes place. While more reminiscent of Roman gladiators than a football game, the states' populace savors the conflicts with crazed fervor. While the whole world watches the fights in frantic anticipation, there are those who do not enjoy the rigorous battles faced far too often: the Bio Freaks themselves.
The Freak Underground or GI-Corp Resistance
Not having any government of corporate sanctioned rights, being under constant control of a GI-Corp, doomed to a destiny of violence and ultimate loss of humanity, some Freaks have gone rogue and formed an underground resistance. Their goal, to escape the control of their "owners" and obtain their equal rights.
While the Secret Game Commission's ultimate goal is to re-unify America, the possibility of a GI-Corp Resistance interferes in some of their most important progress. If an underground movement becomes successful and all Freaks go rogue, then a swift relapse to the days of the Civil Wars is possible and the hopes of peace could be crushed.
The game uses a fully polygonal fighting engine, with 8 different fighters, and 2 boss fighters. It sets itself apart from the majority of fighting games by not locking the players down to a 2D plane of combat, allowing the players to move in full 3D including flying into the air for short periods. This allows you to move to higher levels in the arenas, of which there are 10, though only 9 are selectable in Vs. modes. Some of the arenas also have traps which can damage the characters or even kill them immediately.
Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. uses a mix of hand-to-hand and long range combat. Each character has an assortment of special attacks, both close and long range, as well as "finishing attacks". Much like the Fatalities of the Mortal Kombat games, these moves can execute the player's opponents while some, like in Time Killers, will remove limbs. Also damage from powerful attacks can add up causing a limb to be destroyed as well.
Limb loss can be shut off, however, just as the blood can. The player can even configure it to allow limbs to regrow after a while or stay missing for the rest of the battle. Limbs lost during the first round return, either way, at the start of the second.
The fully 3D nature of the game yields a different style of gameplay from the traditional fighting game. Players are able to not only move forward, backward, sidestep, and jump but also to fly away to a safe distance or speed dash in for close combat.
The players could stay close range for a more traditional experience, go long range and volley and dodge shots from each other, or play cat and mouse as one person continually moves across the room and the other speed dashes after them.
The game also has the buttons dedicated to a specific limb instead of level of strength. This makes it a more intuitive control with the four face buttons grafted to the limbs and the shoulder buttons used for dodging, flying, and your basic long range attack.
Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. offers several gameplay modes. The standard Arcade Mode which allows you to battle in a series of one-on-one battles against the other A.I. operated characters of the game, including the two bosses. The also standard Vs Mode where you can battle one-on-one against another person. There is also a Practice Mode so you can learn the controls of the game.
The other two game modes are Team Battle allowing you to play against the computer or another person in anything from two-on-two to five-on-five battles and Survival Mode which cannot actually be won as you fight each character again and again getting as many wins as you can before being defeated yourself.
Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. received mixed reviews upon release. The PlayStation version currently has a rating of 61% on Gamerankings while the Nintendo 64 version has a rating of 70%.
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