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Biko 3 Biko 3 Biko 3 Biko 3


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Title: Biko 3
Genre: Fighting
Platform: MS DOS
Credits: Illusion

Eldwulf's Description: For some years now, a little company known as Illusion has been producing a series of 3D H-games. Yes, you read that right. The good (perhaps not THAT good) people at this firm have come out with a bewildering variety of such games, ranging from RPGs to 3rd-person shooters to a highly-successful hardcore knockoff/parody of DOA: Extreme Beach Volleyball (minus the volleyball).

One of the more notable series in Illusion's portfolio is the Biko series. "Biko" roughly translates as "stalking", which constitutes the primary mode of gameplay here; the player guides a (male) character through a 3D environment in pursuit of a girl, and this culminates in an H-scene. This review will discuss the 3rd and most recent game in the series.


HN Opinions
Average Rating:


Eldwulf (07.07.2001)
Possibly the prettiest H-game ever made... although it may mess with your head.
There are 5 separate scenarios in Biko 3, each of which has multiple endings. Only a couple of endings in each scenario (the "best" and the "worst") have H-scenes; while I haven't played through all the endings, I have finished the ones with the H-scenes (for obvious reasons...).

In each scenario, the main character looks the same (a Japanese, anime-styled male with medium-length hair, in nondescript clothing) and has the same name, but the scenarios do appear to be more or less mutually-exclusive; the similarities can be put down to the developers not wishing to disorient the player with a plethora of different names and appearances.

Each scenario features one of the five main female characters; none of them appear in another girl's scenario. They run the gamut from ordinary (the main character is struggling to turn in a term paper and gets help from the cute librarian) to pretty wild (the main character is... a tentacle demon in disguise). Typically, the first part of the scenario sets up the relationship (if any) between the main character and the girl, and gets him following her. The second part comes after the stalking sequence, and concludes the story for that scenario.


Story and Plot:
As previously stated, the stories presented in Biko 3 run the gamut from ordinary to fantastical. The real point of interest here is that depending on the items the player picks up during the stalking sequence, as well as his actions during gameplay, several very different endings can result. In general, each story has two "H endings": the good or romantic ending, and the bad ending in which the girl gets raped.

Yes, I said raped. If you have trouble with the difference between fantasy and reality, DO NOT GET THIS GAME. Please. If you can, but still get nauseous at the thought of playing out a rape scene, then it's up to you. Just be aware that you will have to pass on what amounts to a good 30-40% of the game's content, and get a walkthrough to avoid the bad endings.

The romantic endings are fairly typical of the genre. A couple of them do stand out-namely Reiko's (the doctor) and Mio's (the miko, or Shinto priestess). As for the bad endings, let me just say that they remain well-plotted and realistic. There's none of the "ooh, it felt so good when you raped me, I think I'm in love with you" garbage that sometimes rears its ugly head in the genre. When the girl does remain with the main character (two scenarios), it's either because (1) he didn't actually participate in the rape (Chris), or (2) she manages to summon up the courage to forgive him (Mayu). The latter is probably one of the most heart-rending scenes I've seen in an H-game, although the cynical side of me is muttering that the probable denouement of the whole thing is likely to be a highly abusive relationship.


Characters:
While the characters all conform to certain stereotypes, they are fairly compelling ones. Mayu is the typical kid-sister-like character, Rin is the quiet bookish one (although she has a few lines which make her sound eerily like Yomiko Readman), and Reiko is the highly intelligent doctor who's trying to get to the bottom of a crime. Mio and Chris are the standouts; Mio is a sword-slinging miko, while Chris is a cybernetically-enhanced assassin with no memory of her past. In general, while the characters' description is fairly generic, they are well-written enough to partially ameliorate this.


Gameplay:
The story sequences in Biko 3 follow the standard visual-novel pattern. In a departure from the previous game in the series, there are no branch points or choice boxes; the player's impact on the story is solely a function of his actions during the stalking sequence.

Stalking is easily one-half of the game in and of itself, and is conducted in a fashion that will bring to mind the Metal Gear series. The main character, who is seen in the third-person, is controlled via the mouse in a manner similar to many modern FPS games, only without weapons; holding the left button causes the character to run forward, and holding the right button makes him walk backward. The character can also walk instead of running (double-click and hold), or crouch to reduce visibility (double-right-click). Finally, he can interact with specific features of the environment such as garbage cans (this to be explained in a moment).

The goal of the stalking sequences is to follow the girl through a series of 9 areas (parks, sections of a city, etc) without losing sight of her or being spotted. At times the girl will pause and let down her guard; the game will indicate this as an opportunity to "Attack" and cut the sequence short, but it nearly always leads to the rape ending, so those going for the good ending will have to exercise patience and clear all 9 areas.

If the character is more than a certain distance away from the girl OR not facing her, an onscreen meter will begin to decrease slowly, and when this reaches zero, the player is deemed to have lost sight of her (and failed the area objective). There are ways to exploit this, though, including the fact that in many areas one can point the character at the girl through a solid wall to maintain "line of sight".

In each area, the girl will follow a set route from one "entry point" to an "exit point". This route may involve stopping to cross the street, turning around to ensure she isn't being followed, and so on. If the player gets too close to the girl, she will stop (a question mark will appear over her head, in an obvious MGS reference) and eventually turn around to check behind her; unless the player hides quickly, he will be spotted, and then it's game over. Thankfully, there are a number of environmental features which can help a would-be stalker out, including disused wells, garbage cans, and so on; jumping into one of these renders the player undetectable.

There are other hazards in the game; animals will get alarmed if the player runs past them (causing the girl to question-mark). Some floors are covered with leaves, water or ice, all of which make a lot of noise when walked on and will alert the girl. Cops are another hazard; if the player runs past the cop, he will be stopped and questioned (tantamount to a game-over).

Finally, there are between 4 and 5 items in the areas of each girl's scenario. (Running over these items causes them to be picked up.) 2 of these are vital, as they enable the "best" and "worst" endings for that girl. Without these, the respective endings cannot be reached. 1 or 2 are "accessories" such as spectacles (yay!), cat ears (!), or collars (ouch), which can be worn by the girl during the H-scene. The final item only affects the rape ending, and typically unlocks an "extreme" interlude during the H-scene (more on this in a moment).

The H-scenes are the other half of gameplay in Biko 3; see the "H Content" section of this review for more details.


Sounds:
The sounds in Biko 3 are quite good. All the female characters are fully voiced-even during the H-scenes-and none of them grate on the nerves, not even Mayu, whose role as the "kid sister" would make her the most likely offender in any other game. The girls each have "internal monologue" voices which play during the H-scenes in response to what they're experiencing-although these can be turned on and off. In another nice touch, when the character is hiding during a stalking sequence, you can hear the sound of his heartbeat-getting louder as the girl moves closer to him, and softer as she moves away.


Graphics:
Biko 3 has possibly the best graphics in any H-game. There are a couple of minor caveats-first, that (in the H-scenes) the characters don't seem to cast shadows at all, and second, that close examination of the character models (heh) shows them to be very slightly polygonal-but these are really minor issues. Other than that, the graphics are beautifully done-it speaks well of the developers that they obviously spent as much time, if not more, on the (female) characters' clothes as on their bodies, and the environments in all gameplay sequences are excellently done, too.


H Content:
To be honest-whilst the story and the stalking gameplay in Biko 3 are well-executed, there's no way this game could stand on its own, let alone justify the price-tag, without the H-scenes. Consider these to be the full-3D, all-singing all-dancing version of the "explicit" scenes in many H-games; veterans of Doukyuusei will be quite familiar with the "mouse over the girl's body and find the sensitive spots" interface-except that these are in 3D with a fully-controllable camera. The foreplay section ("find the sensitive spots" for the romantic scenes, or "undress the girl" for the rape scenes) constitutes the first third of each H-scene. After that comes an optional interlude-in the romantic scenes, if the player finds enough sensitive spots, the girl returns the favour. However, in the rape scenes, this interlude tends to be even more extreme than the rest of the scene-the tamest of these involves the girl being violated with a pair of vibrators, and it only gets nastier from there. The last part of the scene is the sex act itself-one must note here that the speed at which the characters do the deed is determined by the movements of the mouse, which is a somewhat questionable design decision and can often result in jerky or ludicrously-fast movement. (There is an "automatic movement" feature, though, which helps to ameliorate this problem.) Here there are a number of positions to choose from, but the main thing to note is that to "end" the scene, one must fill up an onscreen "arousal meter" and then continue moving for a short period of time-something which people not fluent in Japanese may have trouble grasping, even with the help of the manual. This description may seem clinical, but it doesn't really do justice. The H-scenes are really very well done.


Conclusion:
Considering the price-tag, the prevalence of rape scenes, and the fact that it's mainly about the sex, Biko 3 is not for everyone. It doesn't pretend to be anything more than straight-up porn, even though the stories are (on average) better than your run-of-the-mill porn movie. However, what it does, it does excellently. I wouldn't recommend this title if you can't stand rape scenes, for the simple reason that (as stated) those are a large part of the game's content-but if you do get it, it's quite possible to go through it whilst avoiding all the bad endings.

Art/Animation: 9 Story/Plot: 8 Characters: 6 Sounds: 8 Gameplay: 7 Ecchi Level: 9
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