Released as Crying in Japan, this horizontally scrolling shooter was largely ignored by western Megadrive owners due to the sheer volume of shoot-em-ups available on the console at the time. The unusual organic graphics probably didn't help either, but if you give it the time of day you'll discover that there's actually plenty to like here.
The gameplay doesn't stray too far from the standard set by Gradius and R-Type. There are eight horizontally scrolling stages and a choice of 4 different crafts with differing weapons. You can pick up weapon orbs which follow your craft about giving additional firepower. The design of the ships is pretty original; they resemble mutated insects and other animals, and this at least sets the game apart from the flood of spaceship-based blasters from the same era.
The first few levels are a walk in the park but the difficulty picks up later in the game with tunnels to navigate, bigger foes and trickier enemy patterns. The balance is just about right so this game will be fun for newcomers and seasoned veterans alike, and the bizarre levels designs will keep interest fairly high, encouraging you to play just one more time in order to see what new twisted backdrop is hiding away on the next stage.
If you're looking to bring a pal along for the ride, it's worth noting the multiplayer aspects of this game. Two players can play simultaneously which isn't seen often in the shoot-em-up genre. Sadly, there is some slowdown as a result of this but not enough to cause too much of a problem.
For fans of the shoot-em-up genre, Bio-Hazard Battle represents a solid purchase. It's a little underwhelming at times and the unusual visuals won't be to everyone's taste but it is a decent enough blaster with some interesting ideas. There are arguably better choices on the Megadrive such as Hellfire, Gynoug, Zero Wing, Aero Blasters and Steel Empire but if you can't wait for any of those to arrive on the Virtual Console you could do a lot worse than download Bio-Hazard Battle; just don't go expecting a triple A classic.