Xenophage: Alien Bloodsport
Xenophage: Alien Bloodsport is a 1996 fighting video game developed by Argo Games (not to be confused with Argonaut Games) and published by Apogee Software (now known as 3D Realms) for MS-DOS only in North America. The game was originally released as shareware, but it was discontinued on November 6, 2003.
On April 24, 2006, the game was re-released as freeware for Microsoft Windows. On June 5, 2015, the game was again released on Steam for Microsoft Windows and Macintosh operating systems, but for unknown reasons, the purchase option was withdrawn, although it is still on Steam.
An extraterrestrial organization known as the "Council" abducts several individuals, including two humans, from various planets due to the aggressive tendencies demonstrated by their species. Trapped Inside a spaceship, they are ordered to engage in unarmed combat with each other inside holographic simulations of their homeworlds, for the amusement of the Council. Should any of the combatants fail during combat, their homeworld will be destroyed.
The gameplay follows the conventions of 2D fighting games; however, the characters are rendered in 3D. The camera follows the combatants, zooming in and out on the screen. The game includes considerable amount of gore (which can be adjusted), as well as special moves unique to each fighter, dubbed "humiliations".
Why It Sucks
- This game is another inept Mortal Kombat rip-off, due to the concept of fatality being stolen.
- The fatality itself (in this game it's called "Meat!") is extremely bad and unoriginal. In 95%, fatality ends only to ripping or squezzing head, depending on what character you fight.
- The plot is quite idiotic that shows the level of laziness in writing, just to milking money out of players. The "council" kidnapped the most aggressive representatives of a given species (including Nick, Selena and aliens) and placed them in holographic representations of their home worlds to fight for "council". Probably a construction worker was hired for the plot, who was forced to come up with something in five minutes.
- As the story is stupid and not very meaningful, this one doesn't really matter. The plot only connects the game at the very beginning, then suddenly the game itself forgets about it and turns into a generic Arcade fighting game.
- The graphics are unbearable to look at. The creators missed retro graphics so much and used their whims with dignity. Human models resemble bootleg Barbie dolls drenched in sunflower oil. Alien models are some gargoyles or low-quality Chinese toys that rely after a month. And the textures and objects are wretched sprites taken from the Super Nintendo and the Atari Jaguar era.
- Absolutely pointless camera that gets too close and causes a headache. In two-dimensional fighting games, the camera is usually farther away so that you can see the characters and the map in full, and it doesn't change so senselessly, at least for the 90s.
- This game probably has the worst music in any fighting game. The soundtrack offered by the developers is a cacophony or cheesy techno hammers, played by a blind man on an invisible instrument that reflects the worst quality musical artistry.
- The characters are the greatest misery and despair. They are all so general with no personality and no interest whatsoever, which makes them hard to like. Nick is a generic American farmer and Selena is an office worker (at least suggesting her clothes).
- Additionally, there are only two human characters. When we face an opponent who plays the same character as you, they only differ in the color of their clothes.
- The game also copies the combat system. For example, Selena has similar or even identical powers like Liu Kang - such as the bicycle and the Dragon Fire, which has been replaced as some kind of white plasma that distances the enemy.
- The controls here are as comfortable as throwing bags at the rubbish. The protagonist is steered like a pillar of salt, most of whom can jump and can barely walk.
- Incorrect hitboxes that make hitting too easy. Even if we haven't touched any part of the opponent's body, he will still get hit.
- The ending hardly exists. After completing the game, there is only insignificant inscription that main characters do not want to get involved, deciding that they should stay together and retain experience with that event. And finally there is a cutscene with a kiss from Nick and Selena.
- The character animations are extremely bad, reminiscent of Amiga times. Each action has very few animation frames, making it look a bit like a clay-motion animated series.
- Similiary like BloodStorm or Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, the game has the same problem of the clash between CGI and drawn sprites. Due to this combination with low quality graphics, it just doesn't fit.
The Only Redeeming Quality
- The characters, while lame and pointless, are not perfidiously inspired by Mortal Kombat. Instead, you are facing with aliens.
The game initially received mixed reviews, although in the later years the reception was more negatively. Gamezilla gave it a 58/100, claiming that it is not a bad game, although it is very simplistic and will not be of fun to mature players for long.
Computer Games Magazine gave it a 2,5/5 stars, saying there is no top-level playability, although it has "eleven huge characters, it is quite playable and on the whole isn't nearly as heinous as expected, just mindless fun."
As mentioned above, the game was received worse later. Examiner gave it a 1/5, summarizing "It's worse than Nitemare 3d. The only redeeming factor this game has is that it is free to play, because even spending a penny is too much."
Hardcore Gaming 101 didn't give a rating, although he also perceived the game negatively, saying "There’s pretty much no reason to play Xenophage, especially since One Must Fall came out a year earlier. It’s ugly, hard to play, and unfair. It’s easily one of Apogee’s worst titles, which is probably why it ended up being released as freeware on the 3D Realms website."
On Steam, the game received extremely negative reviews, with only 16% positive reviews based on 42 reviews.
- In the game you can play as Barney the Dinosaur (which ironically comes from the kids' show).