SummaryWho are you and how did you get in here?
The GoodOn the planet Daedalus lies a genetic research complex that is lead by a Dr. Mastaba. Mastaba belongs to a group called the Mondites who abduct people and subject them to cybernetic experiments. One of their latest victims is Lex who gets turned into a cyborg and thrown into a prison cell. He recovers shortly only to discover that he is made up of human and alien technology, and that his memory was wiped – he has no idea who he is and why he is there. If he escapes his cell, he needs to unravel the truth about himself, the research complex, the Mondite movement, and the alien civilization that once inhabited Daedalus.
Most of this information can be found by examining monitors scattered throughout the complex, and reading through logbooks that he picks up. If the information that he discovers is relevant, he records it in his journal. (He has no idea how he does this.) BioForge requires a lot of reading, but I found what I read interesting, as I read about experimental subjects losing their memories and are driven to the point of insanity. It makes the story flow on.
BioForge is an action-adventure game. Although you have the opportunity to explore the complex in full, and enter rooms that have advanced technology and gadgets that go clickitty-clak, there are situations that you have to deal with someone or something through hand-to-hand combat. An example of this is defeating the NurseBot at the very start of the game, as well as the marines that occupy the interior and exterior of the complex. By pressing the [Ctrl] and [Alt] keys, you can punch or kick enemies. Enough of these and you bring them down. An alternate to fighting with your limbs is using the blaster, which you won't pick up until late in the game. If you manage to pick it up, it can be used against the mechos that run up and down the corridors.
You may be faced with some puzzles in the game, but again, the hints on solving them are found in logbooks and on monitors. The puzzles range from getting a robot opening a door that requires a palm print to playing “mix-and-match” and open a sarcophagus. For me, they were not hard, and there were little times that I had to refer to a walkthrough because I had no idea what the objective is.
When Lex is hurt by an enemy, his body shows some blood to indicate that he has been damaged. If he takes several hits, he starts to limp when he walks. One more hit and he is knocked out. His health can be restored by collecting and using medical devices. The animations of Lex and his enemies are done with rotoscoping, which is one of the techniques that few games use.
Before I actually started playing BioForge, I read through the Personnel Files, which I found rather interesting. It is the personal log that belongs to one of the prisoners you meet in the game. Furthermore, it gives you an outline of what has been going on in the complex.
The BadDuring hand-to-hand combat, the two people (Lex and his enemy) exchange dialogue when they deliver a blow to each other. This dialog is boring, as the same conversations get repeated over and over again in the same fight.
I don't know if it is my fast system, but there are situations that I think rely on the timer. For example, I have to shut down the reactor and a voice says “The reactor will reach critical state in 30 seconds”. I don't get a chance to shut it down in that time, as you hear “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, etc.” in five seconds. Another is trying to drop a bomb near a steel door. You are constantly reminded of the seconds you have. When you have plenty of time, you know that you are safe for the time being. But when you decide to drop it in the wrong spot shortly after, the timer counts down to its last seconds, making sure that you are blown to bits.
The ending for the game is rather disappointing, and it raises a few questions that I had. It deserved a sequel, whether it sold poorly or not.
The Bottom LineIn conclusion, BioForge is a game of exploration. You move Lex around the research complex, admiring the rooms and the technology that they contain, looking at monitors and logbooks, and finding useful information that may or may not be recorded in your journal. Once you obtained the most important information, your next task is to escape Daedalus. The game required a 486-33 with 8MB RAM, which were hefty system requirements at the time that the game was made. However, newer systems can run it if they can boot into MS-DOS. BioForge has great graphics and animations, and also contain puzzles that are easy to solve, depending on what you have learned so far.