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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.
This game contains examples of:
- 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.
- An Ice Person - Freon.
- Assimilation Plot - Talon's ending. This is far from the worst ending possible.
- Ax Crazy – Hellhound. His ending, in its entirely: HELLHOUND WINS! SCORCH RULES! THE EARTH BURNS!
- Black Market: Razor rises to power in his homeland through setting up illegal trade networks.
- Blow You Away - Tempest.
- Bonus Boss - Quite a lot.
- The Chessmaster – Necron.
- Conspicuous CG – Chainsaw and Necron stand out horribly next to the more cartoony characters.
- Some stage backgrounds also fall victim to this, Obsel being the most notable.
- Crapsack World
- Dishing Out Dirt - Tremor.
- 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.
- Finishing Move - Each character had three: a Decapitation, a Sunder, and a regular Fatality. The Decapitation and Sunder moves could be performed at any time, but had a very small hit radius. If your opponent still had life after a sunder, they could still fight, but as nothing more than a torso.
- Genghis Gambit - Not done intentionally, but is 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.
- Guide Dang It – Just try to find all the Agents of Necron without a guide. Or figure out all the cheat codes. Or your move inputs. Or just about anything.
- Guilty Pleasure
- Hive Mind – The entirety of Cyberia is this way, with Talon as the main consciousness. Win, and he links up with everyone else.
- I Love Nuclear Power - Fallout.
- 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.
- Mega Manning - Possibly one of the first fighting games to use this.
- Nineties 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.
- Palette Swap - All of the Bonus Bosses are just altered sprites of the main cast.
- Playing with Fire - Hellhound.
- Playing with Syringes – Cyberian scientists turned Razor into a cyborg as part of their experiments.
- Power Fist – Each character comes with their own gauntlets, which basically work in this way.
- Rainbow Pimp Gear - How you'll look by the end of the game.
- Refuge in Audacity: LIMBLESS VICTORY!!
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: The High Emperor's daughter 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.
- 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.
- 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 .
- Sequel Hook
- Straw Feminist: Mirage. And HOW.
- Villain Protagonist – 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.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: 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. His ending subverts this, as humanity is conquered and enslaved by the Ice People.
- ↑ its L, R, BACK LEG, BACK ARM, FRONT ARM, FRONT LEG