Biometal - Athena


Reviewed by Roger Post

No, itís not some new kind of music. Biometal is a somewhat creative yet mediocre shooter from the camp of Athena. Since there is a lack of shooters produced on the SNES system, Biometal could be a welcome addition for someone who needs a shmup fix on the SNES system, but when compared to the other classics on a multi-system level, BM falls short, offering only a unique play control system but not much more.

Take your basic side scrolling formula shooter, but add on a secondary weapon that has some unique properties, and youíve got Biometal. At the bottom of the screen, there is a charge bar, which starts out full and gradually goes down when you use the secondary weapon. Keeping it turned off recharges it, which is a good plan to follow if you want to get anywhere in this game. When activated, blue orbs circle around the ship, acting as a shield that can absorb bullets. Once the shield is up, you can leave it in a defensive position, or choose between two offensive tactics: shoot the orbs off in a straight line, then have them return like a boomerang, or expand the radius of the circle and have it destroy all bullets and enemies in close to medium range. Needless to say, this secondary weapon is the coolest part of Biometal, but sadly the game doesnít do much for me after that. There are about three regular weapons to choose from, none of which are very interesting.

Bosses in BM all have a similar look to them, and itís one that I donít like too much. Ulgy rainy-day brown is the best way to describe it. Gameplay is very fast, and the screen quickly gets filled with bullets from every direction (which is not a problem for those who understand the shield weapon.) Overall the game is pretty short, which may be a good thing in this case, with the last boss being a huge pain. Though Iím not very impressed with Biometal, give it a try for the shield system, which can be kinda fun to use after getting the hang of it. Think of this as a pre-cursor to Gigawing.

< Get to know a little about the ďHalbardĒ in BMís intro sequence. Why oh why do the Japanese insist on elaborating about peopleís blood types? Are transfusion sims the wave of the future?

(Actually is something they believe, like what we westerners do with zodiacal signs. The blood type determines certains aspects of the person. Or so they say. Next time you date someone, make sure to check the bloodtype compatibility =P - Akira)

The colors in Biometal stay pretty dark, with lots of browns. Even this background is plenty bleak looking. Iíve got the shield in guardian mode, as there are lots of bullets around.

That boss doesnít even have much form...he warps in, and fire a pesky laser from the front of the ship. Enough bullets to rival Gigawing in this one.

Now on level two Iíve got the shield attacking, which spreads out from you in a circle formation. Very interesting feature, the use of the shield. If not for that - this game would be *nilch*.

This flamethrower is way too erratic. And in this universe, flames are green, as are eggs and ham.

3rd level reminds me of Thunderforce 5. Annoying flys all over the place, play the exterminator!

The boss is an overgrown plant. Each stem has a different attack, take out the one that give you the most trouble first.

Into the city scape...much like Gigawing, success in this game depends on mastery of the shield.

Yes, another snake. Please, people use another animal, like a zebra. Why canít all shooters have the trademark zebra?

ďWhen I was your age, we didnít have walls that closed in on spaceships, we had to build our own walls from scratch, after walking twenty miles in the snow to get the materials.Ē - Grandpa Shmupper

This boss is pretty cool. He breaks up into the three components and has a different attack for each one, then joins together again for a stronger attack...

Shades of R-Type here..there must be hundreds of these guys, and they are hard to kill.

Ugly last boss: Flailing tail, bouncing bubbles, armored hide..cut him apart section by section, but be warned that the bubbles increase as he gets closer to death. He takes a lot of hits, too.

I find it very funny that the enemies are referred to as ďBMísĒ, seeing that bm is short for bowel movement. Now that the bmís are less in number, I guess we are regular again...thanks!

Thought the continue screen was cool...

I think the SNES was a missed opportunity for shmups. The ones that are good, are _real_ good. The machine had some potential, let down by the lack of speed of its main processor, which didn't let the machine shove tons of stuff at you, thus limiting the shmuppety experience. What has this to do with BioMetal? I think nothing =P Yeah, sorry, 'tis late.

- Akira


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