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Entry updated 2 April 2015. Tagged: Game.

Videogame (1995). Origin Systems. Designed by Ken Demarest, Jack Herman. Platforms: DOS.

Bioforge is a graphical Adventure game which prefigures later action Adventures; the gameplay depends on a combination of puzzles and combat sequences. The game begins with a non interactive Full Motion Video sequence showing the unconscious player character being transported to an unknown planet, after which multiple amputations are performed. The player then starts the game in a cell, to find that their newly awakened character has been forcibly converted into a Cyborg, and seems to be amnesiac. On escaping from their Prison, the participant discovers that the surrounding base appears to have been heavily damaged and abandoned. Much of the rest of the game is spent searching this devastated complex, which is inhabited largely by madmen and corpses. A great deal of information is available, however, in the form of text-based computer logs. Reading these and talking to the few sane characters encountered will gradually allow the player to assemble the embedded backstory of the game (see Interactive Narrative); their character was kidnapped by a group of religious extremists who had been experimenting on unwilling victims in an attempt to create a perfect cybernetic assassin. The technology used for these experiments was obtained by excavating the ruins of an ancient Alien civilization, a process interrupted by the unexpected recent appearance of an extremely powerful and aggressive member of the supposedly vanished species. There is something of the grand guignol about Bioforge; in one early sequence the player is forced to beat an insane cyborg to death with its own severed arm. The player's character, however, projects a curious sense of abused innocence; his default conversational gambits often involve offers to help and assist the various deranged monsters he encounters. While the gameplay is generally well constructed, the controls can be awkward, and the ending seems abrupt. Nevertheless, Bioforge is an intelligently designed, if somewhat excessive, piece of body horror. [NT]

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