Bio Menace

Apogee Software, now known as 3D Realms, made itself a reputation for producing various shareware titles, among them being Bio Menace, which they ultimately released as freeware. Does it hold up to the company’s other decent titles?

Players guide protagonist Snake Logan through various sidescrolling levels, where he is able to fire his gun and throw grenades if he has any. Powerups are occasionally available allowing him to fire his machine gun without interruption (when the player runs out of ammo, they must rapidly tap the Alt key to get a decent fire rate). He also has lives that decrease when he runs out of life, and sometimes, health kits are hard to come by, and the player might occasionally find themselves stuck with zero lives in a level and have to be extremely cautious to avoid damage. Some cheat codes can make the game bearable, the difficulty being sometimes hard even on the easiest setting, although the game mechanics leave plentiful room for improvement.

As has been the case with Apogee’s other titles, the player can save their game, although loading a file restarts the current level where they save, although the other areas of control are decent.

The story is actually pretty good, with occasional dialogues when the player rescues a hostage necessary to advance to the next level, and the second level has two different endings that enhance replay value alongside the multiple difficulty settings. There is a general scarcity of developing story scenes, the biggest coming at the end of each episode, but the plot helps the game more than hurts.

The music is one of the best aspects of Bio Menace, even if it’s somewhat repetitive, and the sound effects are okay as well.

The graphics look fairly sloppy, with most characters in the game having red skin despite not being Native American, although some parts of the scenery look alright.

Finally, beating the game’s three episodes takes a little less than five hours, the multiple difficulty settings and varying ending in the second episode, as mentioned, adding replay value. Ultimately, Bio Menace isn’t one of Apogee’s finer titles, although it definitely has some things going for it such as its story and soundtrack. Those interested will be happy to know that all three episodes are available as freeware, with the DOSBox emulator allowing them to play it on modern systems.

The Good:
+Plot is actually decent.
+Good music.
+Decent replay value.

The Bad:
-No mid-level saving of progress.
-Can be hard even on the easiest difficulty.
-Somewhat sloppy graphics.

The Bottom Line:
An okay game.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: MS-DOS
Game Mechanics: 6/10
Controls: 5/10
Story: 8/10
Music/Sound: 7/10
Graphics: 4/10
Lasting Appeal: 9/10
Difficulty: Adjustable
Playing Time: Less than 5 Hours

Overall: 6.5/10

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