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Video Game / BloodStorm

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The arcade flyer, which trumpeted the involvement of Johnny Cage's stunt actor, and the actual gameplay.
After Time Killers faded into oblivion, Strata turned their attention to creating yet another Mortal Kombat killer. What they came up with was BloodStorm, which was released in 1994.

According to the needlessly complicated backstory, the world was destroyed in the so-called Mega War. The conflict radically altered the Earth’s geography, climate, and populace, creating a wide range of freaky transhumans. Eight provinces managed to contact each other, forming the Provincial Alliance. After several centuries of peace, the Alliance has begun to fall apart due to paranoia and infighting amongst the provinces. This comes to a head when the High Emperor, the Alliance’s leader, is assassinated. His successor will be chosen in the BloodStorm tournament, a battle between representatives of all eight provinces. Meanwhile, the true mastermind watches and waits.

To be fair, while BloodStorm is a fairly average (at best) fighter, it did have some innovative ideas for the time. Each successful fight nets the player one of their opponent’s moves; if said attack required a weapon, it would be added to their sprite. It also included a prototypical save feature, using player-created passwords to record progress and fighting stats. It was also the first weapon fighter to let players drop their weapons willingly, or even change them with another character’s (the change was mostly cosmetic, however). The game also boasted some rather clever ways of unlocking content, such as knocking down a part of the background to cover up a death trap.

That being said, the game more or less tried to be a Bloodier and Gorier rival to Mortal Kombat’s then-supremacy. Each character has the usual fatalities, but there was also a “Sunder” move that cut your opponent’s entire lower body off, leaving them sliding around on their entrails. The gameplay, sadly, was a lot closer to Time Killers, meaning limbs would be cut off at near-random, the specials were often clunky and non-responsive, and the actual combat tended to be slower and more forced than its contemporaries. Throw in the hype storm surrounding Mortal Kombat 3, Strata’s own financial woes (they closed down shortly after the game’s completion), and the fact that it never received a console port, and you have a forgotten relic of the arcade era.

Not related to the second book of the Batman Vampire trilogy and try not to get it mixed up with Bonestorm

This game contains examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Chainsaw and Nekron stand out next to the more cartoony characters. Some stage backgrounds also fall victim to this, Obsel being the most notable.
  • All There in the Manual: The handbook contains a frankly insane amount of backstory for the game, the characters, and even the bosses. None of this matters in the game itself.
  • All Your Powers Combined:
    • Shadow is not only invisible, he possesses all the Passable Powers of all eight characters, plus the upgrades to the mines, the grenades, and the eyebeam learned from three of the other Agents of Nekron.
    • Whoever the player chooses can become this as well, after beating all their opponents (including, again, the three Agents with passable powers).
  • Assimilation Plot: Talon's ending. This is far from the worst ending possible.
  • Ax-Crazy: Hellhound. His ending, in its entirely: HELLHOUND TAKES CHARGE! SCORCH RULES! THE PLANET BURNS!
  • Black Market: Razor rises to power in his homeland through setting up illegal trade networks.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Tempest. It turns out she's the one who killed the High Emperor and unleashed Nekron upon the world, all so that she could assume power as the new High Emperor. Unfortunately for her, it turns out she still needs to fight in the tournament like everyone else and is just as liable as her opponents are to getting killed. Worse, in the event that she does come out victorious, Tempest ends up exposing her crime and is summarily executed. She loses no matter what the outcome is.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Tempest, initially, seems like one of the less morally-warped fighters, concerned mostly with avenging her father's death and ensuring his peace stays in place. Then it turns out that she is her father's killer and the mastermind who unleashed Nekron. Ironically, this ensures that her ending is one of the few "good" ones, as the whole planet unites against her, leading to her defeat and execution.
  • The Caligula: Freon, who rules over his icy realm as a hedonistic, self-centered tyrant, and becomes even more of a despot if he wins the tournament, turning everyone but his people into slaves.
  • The Chessmaster: Tempest tries to be this, by assassinating her own father and releasing Nekron, hoping to use this to ascend to the throne. Unfortunately, in her own ending, just before her coronation, she accidentally reveals what she did, leading the world to unite against her.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Razor endured this at the hands of both Tempest's guards and Talon's scientists. Suffice to say by the time the tournament comes around, he's still pretty miffed about it.
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: One stage allows you to uppercut someone into a ceiling full of these.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: There are three endings that are unambiguously "good" (though one is this for everyone but the player's character):
    • Tremor uses his position as High Emperor to force the other provinces to listen to his advice. Under his leadership, the world finally begins to recover from the damage it's absorbed over the years, and peace is achieved at last.
    • Razor declares war against Cyberia once he takes the throne. Preparing for and carrying out the war allows the provinces to settle their differences and, once Cyberia is burned to the ground, the world remains united, though without Cyberia's advanced technologies.
    • Tempest accidentally reveals, just before her coronation, that she assassinated her father, the previous High Emperor. She immediately flees, but the provinces band together to bring her to justice, and her execution is the first act of a united world.
  • Elemental Powers:
    • Atomic Superpower: Fallout. He shoots radioactive slime from his hands, his passable power is an E.R. Cannon, and his gauntlet shoots toxic quills.
    • Blow You Away: Tempest. She can shoot tornadoes that hold the opponent in place, her passable power is a barrier of wind, and her Gauntlet shoots a tornado that stuns enemies and draws them closer. Her Fatality spins her opponent's head around like a tornado.
    • Dishing Out Dirt: Tremor. He can transform into a boulder and roll at enemies or through the air, he can send a shockwave along the ground, his passable power is stomping the ground to cause an earthquake, and his gauntlet shoots stones of three sizes.
    • Playing with Fire: Hellhound. He can shoot a burst of flame, he can transform into a similar-looking burst of flame and charge at the opponent, his passable power is turning into a swirling fireball, and his gauntlet shoots a short-range burst of flame. His fatality involves turning into a flaming skeleton to tear off the opponent's limbs.
    • An Ice Person: Freon. He can freeze enemies solid, morph into an ice slick, and his gauntlet shoots ice boomerangs.
    • Having a Blast: Mirage. Her passable powers are mines and grenades, and her gauntlet likewise shoots grenades. Her Fatality is putting a bomb on her opponent's head.
  • Evil Laugh: Everyone belts one out when they win the second round. Even Tremor, the only unambiguously heroic character in the whole cast.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Most of the playable characters are exceedingly wicked. They're fighting not only against each other, but also against Nekron, the mastermind behind the tournament.
  • Expy: Hellhound and Freon share similarities to Scorpion and Sub-Zero, respectively, with Scorpion and Hellhound sharing fire-based powers, in contrast to their respective rivals' ice-based powers. They are likewise also headswaps of each other with different idle poses and special moves.
  • Finishing Move:
    • Each regular character has three: a Decapitation, a Sunder, and a regular Fatality. The Decapitation and Sunder moves can be performed at any time, but have a very small hit radius, plus the Sunder only fully activates against a stunned enemy (and only does normal damage otherwise). The Fatality can only be done when the opponent is stunned, but the opponent's health doesn't have to be already empty.
    • The eight Agents of Nekron lack character-specific Fatalities, only having a Decapitation and Sunder each, which are identical in animation to their normally-playable counterparts. Their Decapitation and Sunder also lack special names.
    • Moreover, a Sunder is not a true finisher, merely doing a lot of damage and removing the opponent's lower half, but not guaranteeing a one-hit kill like the others. If your opponent still has health after a Sunder, they can still fight, but as nothing more than a torso, head, and maybe arms. They can even still potentially win the match if they still have their arms or have moves that don't require arms (like the Optical/Surgical Laser, Cruise Missile, or E.R. Cannon).
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Tremor has quite frankly had enough of the other fighters' bickering leaving the earth to suffer, and since they wouldn't listen to reason before, he's gonna preach to them now with his fists.
  • Genghis Gambit: Not done intentionally, but as a side effect of Tempest and Razor's endings. Tempest unites the provinces against her by accidentally letting slip that she started the whole mess, while Razor unites the provinces against Cyberia when he wins.
  • Green Aesop: Tremor tries to give these to the provinces, but they don’t give a damn about what he has to say. When he becomes High Emperor, he forces them to listen... and ends up solving all the world’s problems.
  • Gorn: Let's just say the budget didn't go to ironing out the gameplay. It doesn't even wait for the game to start: there's plenty of gore in the attract mode.
  • Guide Dang It!: Just try to find all the Agents of Nekron without a guide. Or figure out all the cheat codes. Or your move inputs. Or just about anything.
  • Head Swap: The seven optional bosses plus mandatory sub-boss Sin are just the main cast with different colors and heads. Furthermore, Hellhound and Freon are actually just head swaps of each other, but with slightly different standing poses. Blood and Shadow take it one step further by not only being head swaps of Hellhound and Freon (and so head swaps of each other), they even have the exact same moveset. Finally, the various "big head" codes let you play as versions of the normal characters with a different name and a comical oversized head.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Exaggerated with Blood, a secret character who basically has an ever-gushing blood fountain where his head should be. (He can still be decapitated, however; the head that falls off is Hellhound's, miscolored)
  • Hive Mind: The entirety of Cyberia is this way, with Talon as the main consciousness. Win, and he links up with everyone else.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Males born in Obsel have their feet cut off at birth, are used for breeding purposes, and when their usefulness ends, they're dinner.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Two of the stage fatalities work this way. One sticks the opponent to a spiked wall, the other dumps them onto a massive stalagmite.
  • Lady Land: Obsel. For bonus points, spell that backwards.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Freon, who's just trying to make peace with Scorch. This is a losing proposition, however; the leader of Scorch (to the extent that the kingdom has one) is the Ax-Crazy Hellhound, who delights in murdering his diplomats at the peace conferences. In his ending, humanity is conquered and enslaved by the Ice People - which is still better than many of the possible endings, including Hellhound's.
  • '90s Anti-Hero:
    • Just glancing at the screenshots and character names would give one the impression that Rob Liefeld was behind this game.
    • The genocidal, revenge-driven criminal Razor qualifies, mostly because he has a grudge against a far worse enemy and his objectives don't require anyone else to be crushed under his heel.
    • Subverted with Tremor, the only unambiguously good character (though he still causes just as much bloodshed in-game as any of the other characters and definitely still looks the part at least.)
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Talon, initially, would kidnap and perform horrific experiments on "bios" to try to cure the flesh-rotting plague ravaging Cyberia. However, as time went by, and he replaced more and more of his brain with circuitry, he became an unfeeling murderer instead intent on dominating all life.
  • Optional Boss: No fewer than seven, the Agents of Nekron. Some are reached by taking certain steps in various stages, others by inputting various Trash Talk codes. There are actually eight Agents, but one of them is a mandatory fight right before Nekron.
  • Password Save: One of the few arcade games, and the only fighting game to do this. By programming and entering controller inputs (like in a Classic Cheat Code), you could actually save your fighter's state, retaining earned weapons or changed gauntlets from one play session to the next.
  • Playing with Syringes: Cyberian scientists turned Razor into a cyborg as part of their experiments.
  • Power Copying: Possibly one of the first fighting games to use this - defeating an enemy allows you to take a bit of their weaponry.
  • Power Fist: Each character comes with their own gauntlets, which basically work in this way. They all used the same control inputs to use(to different effects), and could be stolen or swapped in mid-battle.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Tempest's ending. After slaying every enemy and winning the Bloodstorm Tournament, she accidentally exposes herself as the killer of the High Emperor. This unites everyone against her and results in her execution.
  • Redhead In Green: A Palette Swap of Tempest features her with red hair and green attire.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • LIMBLESS VICTORY!! (Difficult, but possible thanks to attacks like eye beams and shoulder cannons)
    • One of the secret characters is named Blood, who explodes out of one of your defeated opponents and has a blood geyser for a head.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: The High Emperor's daughter, Tempest, was his assassin. When she wins, she accidentally reveals this fact, and the rest of the planet unites to hunt her down and execute her.
  • Ring Out: Possible on the Subterra stage. Both sides are wide open, and falling in leads to an Impaled with Extreme Prejudice moment. By knocking down the stalactite above the pit (by throwing your gauntlet into it twice), one can jump into the pit without dying, which triggers the Optional Boss fight against Golem.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The very minute Razor wins, he launches a full-on offensive on Cyberia. Turns out nobody else liked them, and the planetwide genocidal rage unites humanity more than ever, though it leaves the entire planet without Cyberia's super-tech.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Fallout's ending has him win the tournament, but then give the finger to the other provinces and return to the Wastelands, leaving the world to tear itself apart.
  • Secret Character: Sin, found by entering a specific Trash Talk code to be exact.
    • Hidden bosses Golem, Ratchet, Crainiac, Dementia, and Wraith are also playable via Trash Talk codes.
    • All the characters except for Shadow are playable via Password codes, though the two main bosses are bugged, and change into Freon after only one match.
  • Snap Back: When a character loses a limb or even their head, they are automatically fixed by the time the next round starts. In Talon and Razor's case the former can at least be handwaved by the fact that their limbs are robotic and in theory more easily replaceable. Everyone else? ...Eh, don't think about it too hard.
  • Sequel Hook: For a sequel that never happened.
  • Shout-Out: A lot of the Trash Talk codes throw in references, flattering and unflattering, to various targets. 'Sushi-X rules this game!', 'Who cares where Goro is?', 'Dont wizz on the electric fence', 'Eat my shorts' and 'I fart in your general direction' are just a few of the references in the game. Seeing them all might take some effort.
    • One of the Big Head codes gives you a character named SENLIEB, with the body of Hellhound but the oversized head of then-senator (and anti-violence advocate) Joe Lieberman.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Razor's power of authority may come from a shady and dubious trading network, and his motivations are less than altruistic, but he's still one of the nicer contestants. Helps that he and Tremor have the only endings remotely resembling a "good" ending, aside from Tempest whose ending is good for everyone but her.
  • The Spook: Fallout. A mysterious, cryptic figure - no one knows who he is or what his motivations are, and if he wins the tournament he simply vanishes without a trace.
  • Straw Feminist: Mirage, leader of a band of matriarchal cannibals in the desert realm of Obsel. If she wins, the entire male population of the planet is enslaved and reduced to breeding/food stock.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: Implied. Any one of the character endings can become this if they failed to kill all the agents of Nekron.
  • Timed Mission: The fight with Sin takes place in the Chamber of Pain, a torture chamber where The Walls Are Closing In. If you don't kill her before the walls get too close, they shoot out spikes, instantly killing your character and ending the round in a loss.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: In single-player mode, the player receives additional skills from every enemy that they kill.
  • Villain Protagonist: Almost every single character in this game is a megalomaniacal, power-hungry Caligula in the making. Except for Tremor, Razor, and Fallout. And Fallout isn't much better.