December 23, 2005

Bio Menace released as freeware!

We at Apogee / 3D Realms want to wish you a safe, happy Christmas / Hanukah / whatever you celebrate season. :) To that, we're repeating something we've done in the past - releasing something as a "Christmas present" to our fans. This time we dip back back back into the archives....

Thirteen years ago, our company was heavily into the old sidescroller market. We had successes with games like Commander Keen, the original Duke Nukem, as well as Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, and plenty of other titles. However, in 1993, we released one based on the Keen 4 game engine - this game was called Bio Menace. While it wasn't the runaway hit that Duke Nukem was, Bio Menace was a very successful game for its time. It stayed as a product in our line for many years, until being discontinued awhile back (mostly for technical reasons). However, now we're here to bring the game back to you - as freeware.

Continuing in our series of freeware releases from the past, Bio Menace is now available for you to download in a full registered form. This download contains all three episodes, and you can get it from our FTP site here.

In doing the work for the Bio Menace release, we managed to track down the original Bio Menace guy, Jim Norwood. Jim also worked with us on 1997's Shadow Warrior (also with another of our guys from back then, Frank Maddin).

Jim had a few words to say about the freeware release of Bio Menace..

'The good ol' days' - that's what I always say when I am referring to the times when a one person with a vision, some TLC, and a lot of time on their hands, could sit down and write a cool PC title from start to finish without a sixty million dollar budget and a team of one hundred.

I wore every hat while working on Bio Menace. From designer, to artist, to programmer - I was a veritable army of one (at least in my own mind). Alas, those days are long behind us. I have continued to be a part of the game industry as it has matured at a frightening pace over the last fifteen years, and these days, one needs be a lot more focused to find a niche among the mega-teams it now takes to create a competitive, cross-platform title.

....little games like Bio Menace still have merit as a learning tool on the road to gaining the coveted knowledge of the 'big picture' of game development that any development house worth their salt will look for in a solid candidate. Perhaps making Bio Menace freeware will take you one step further along that journey. That is my hope...

We've also got some words from Scott Miller, the founder of Apogee on Bio Menace...

Bio Menace is an interesting project for several reasons, not the least of which is that Jim Norwood created practically every asset on his own, from game code, to art, to sound, to level design. The one significant area not created by Norwood is the game's engine. It was created by Id Software, and was the engine original used for the second trilogy of Commander Keen games, starting with "Goodbye, Galaxy."

Because Bio Menace was a one-man show, it took close to two years to create, and by the time of it's release it was somewhat dated as a 16-color EGA game. Still, it sold pretty well, and allowed Norwood to pursue his next major game with us, Shadow Warrior, teaming up with Frank Madden, and using the Build engine.

Both of them have more to say in the readme file that comes with the freeware release, so make sure to check out what they say, including an interesting story from Scott on how id Software helped out with the creation of this title. We have a few more Bio Menace tidbits on our website, including our archived page of information on the game, as well as some game maps on every level from all three episodes (done by Apogee fan Frenkel). Check it all out!

For a complete list of our freeware releases (and our other games), check out our games page, which has a section on freeware releases, and what is available besides Bio Menace.

As one final Christmas present, we want to preview something we're going to be doing starting early next year. When doing research on Bio Menace, we decided to seek out quite a few of our developers from days gone by. We're going to be doing an interview series with quite a few of them based on their games, their time spent with Apogee, and how they see the industry today. Some of their answers might surprise you. Some of the names we have lined up for this series are Jim Norwood (Bio Menace, Shadow Warrior), Frank Maddin (Crystal Caves, Shadow Warrior), Mike Maynard (Blake Stone), Peder Jungck (Secret Agent), Karen Crowther Chun (Math & Word Rescue), as well as folks like Tom Hall & John Romero and many more. If you're a fan of the old school days of our company, you definitely will not want to miss this series when we start it sometime early next year. Keep your eyes peeled for more on that.

Once again, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us here at Apogee / 3D Realms!

Posted by Joe Siegler on December 23, 2005 at 10:15 AM | Permalink
News Categories: The Classic Games