Bio Hazard Battle
The planet of Avaron had faced a terrible crisis. At the end of the first global Biowar the enemy unleashed a powerful retro virus that mutated life on the planet into large and deadly creatures. Hundreds of years have passed since the incident and the remaining humans on the orbiting station Odysseus have awoken from their cryogenic sleep. The Odysseus computer has determined that Avaron is now habitable once again by humans, yet the planet remains hostile. It is now the mission of one pilot to determine where the remaining humans can set up a colony so that the human race can thrive again.
Bio Hazard Battle is a slightly different take on the side-scrolling shooter. Instead of a space fighter or a super jet, the ship you pilot here is a Bioship, which is basically a living ship. It’s a nice change of pace but the game has some issues that prevent it from reaching shooter greatness.
There are four Bioships to choose from however, none of them are the ship pictured in the box art. That ship, which looks more like a prototype from the Darius series, seems to have taken a turn into the wrong packaging. The Bioships have a creature-esque look and is like something you might find in a lurking in the depths of an ocean.
Each ship is also equipped with slightly alternate weapons systems that use a pod that moves with your ship. There are seven weapons available, but you chosen ship determine what weapon you’ll receive upon collecting power-up seeds. Each Bioship’s power star starts with green implosion pods, which sounds cooler than they actually are. Collecting an orange power-up seed will grant you a plasma ring that bounces off surfaces, or a seeker laser which is a homing laser. A yellow seed will give your ship either a spin laser that only fires forward, or a very slow fire petal. Blue seeds give you painfully slow bonds that attach to enemies or the multi-directional nova.
Each ship also has a forward firing weapon which can be charged-up for a larger and more powerful shot. The regular rapid fire of the shot cannot be upgraded and because of this, success in the game is determined too heavily on what power star you have. If you have anything but the seeker laser or nova equipped, the game will be much more difficult. Many of the enemies come in from above, underneath or behind and the seeker and nova are able to effectively destroy them. Sure, you can position the power star to fire in any direction, but is more of a pain than it should be. Why they couldn’t have assigned the C button to move the pod is beyond me.
Weapon power-ups can come up to four at a time with each one being a different color. If you accidentally pick up a weapon color you don’t want you may be stuck with it. It becomes not only important to avoid enemies, but also certain weapon power-ups.
Most of the enemies are large insects or slugs, with a few bats and globs of goo thrown in. The giant crabs look silly, though. The bosses are huge mutated creatures with a big spiral slug, an anaconda with a skull head, some messed-up cave seahorse that covers itself in turds, a manta-shark with a mouth half the size of its body, a bigger living ship and a miniature Death Star.
The first stage is your ship’s re-entry into the atmosphere of the planet. For the entire stage your ship is falling through the atmosphere and is a cool idea for a stage. You then fly through a ruined city, a mine, and an ocean. In stage six you face a huge Bioship that you destroy piece by piece. You then fly into the Biowar labs for the final two stages. The visuals are appropriately grim and give a nice feel to an apocalypse caused by big insects.
The foreboding music is kind-of cool at first, but wears you rather quickly. There is one track that is used in four of the eight stages. The boss “music”, if you can call it that, becomes annoying almost instantly.
Bio Hazard Battle had some good ideas, but could have been better had they been more developed and thought out.