Bio Bytes: The Joy Of Forcing Tortured Beasts To Fight Each Other
by: -RoG-

I'm here today to proudly announce that I've officially broken my 10-year-long addiction to gambling at cock fights. No longer do I need to see two feathered fowls peck and claw away at each other until one is good 'n dead, for I have found a new fight to entertain myself with. A fight that I can hold in my very own hands without losing any further monies at all. No, it's not another kind of cock fight... pervert... I'm speaking of Bio Bytes!

Bio Bytes are a fairly new toy line from Jakks Pacific. The basic idea behind them is to have "real animals" duke it out in a virtual battle. In other words, while the battle itself takes place on your little handheld screen, you can watch your ferocious beast react to the action its bio tank. At roughly $25-$30 a pop, they're overpriced if you ask me, but you can usually find 'em much cheaper on eBay.

Now, I would give you full details on the Bio Bytes story line, but the Bio Bytes web site domain (which they urge you to visit on the front of the instruction manual) appears to have been purchased by a cybersquatter. Way to remember to renew your domain name there, Jakks Pacific - now we'll never know the true story behind these bio creatures.

In addition to the controllers, you can buy additional bio-tanks to gain control over additional creatures. Creatures like killer whales, great white sharks, crocodiles, tigers, velociraptors and a tyrannosaurus rex. You simply unplug them from the controller and pop in another one and you'll then be able to use that creature to fight your battles. And that's really why these toys captured my attention in the first place.

I've never been into the digital Tamagotchi pets 'n what not that you have to constantly take care of in order for them to stay healthy and happy. I'd rather just overfeed them until they die of dysentery than have to watch over them constantly. But Bio Bytes are different. You're not taking care of them though they'll give you a smile, a wink or a wag of their tail... you're training them to KILL KILL KILL!

And seriously... who could resist the urge to see two creatures, who would never have the chance to duke it out in the real world, go mono y mono with each other until one of them was dead? A great white shark versus a tiger? A t-rex versus a killer whale? You won't see that shit on the Discovery channel, I guarantee it. Actually, Adult Swim did an absurd "Who would win in a fight between a flying shark and a flying crocodile?" promotion a few years ago and used sock puppets to reenact it. Nobody knew they were going to use sock puppets for it, so it was kind of a let-down, though still funny. But I was really rootin' for that flying shark, so much so that I even made a stupid flash animation for it at the time to show my support. Sadly, those bastards let the crocodile sock puppet win... but now, with Bio Bytes, I figured I'd have the chance to redeem my great white shark once and for all.

Oh, and in case you hadn't guessed by now, I friggin' love sharks and make a point to watch Shark Week on the Discovery channel every year.

Look at those beauties! I honestly don't even need the Bio Bytes controller... I'm perfectly content just putting these beasts on display in their glorious little bio-tanks for the world to see.

We feel your pain t-rex and tiger! Well... not literally, but you know, we'd take your place if we could. Well... not literally, but you know, we're just saying this shit to make it sound like we care when all we want to see is your bodies flail about as we force you to fight other beasts. I guess what we're really trying to say is that we humans are assholes and you're gonna suffer as a result of it. Welcome to the rest of your lives!

The Bio Bytes units offer several modes of game play: Direct Control, Quick Battle, Tournament, and Head to Head mode. Direct Control mode has got to be the most useless feature because all it does is allow you move your creature - which as you can see above, is more like making it twitch - and make it roar. I bet you didn't know that sharks can roar, eh? Well now you do. You see? This isn't a mindless toy that's going to make kids want to force real animals to fight one another... it's an educational toy, sculpting the minds of future veterinarians and world leaders!

Good god, look at that thing twitch. You'd think the developers behind this thing could've given these creatures a wider ranger of motion considering the expensive price tag and the fact that the whole point of the toy is to watch these "real" creatures react to the virtual battles.

The screen itself is simple enough to follow, and regardless of what creature you're controlling, you can always enter a quick battle with any of the other creatures. You'll see some nice lil' pixelated graphics of them and they'll always perform a little intro animation showing off their deadly fighting skills such as chomping teeth or swinging tails. As you can see, there are some additional creatures that aren't yet sold in the Bio Bytes line, so it's nice that they at least included them to fight on the screen.

The way the battles work is each creature is broken down into 3 sections: head, body, and tail. It's a turn-based battle in which you decide what part of your creature's body you want to attack with and what part of the other creature's body you want to damage. You can also choose to not attack and instead try to block or run from your opponent as well. There's really not much skill involved, as most of it seems to be based on luck and how much the computer feels like screwing with you.

The battle animations are fairly basic and I honestly wish there was a way you could skip them and just find out how much damage you did. It just gets a tad bit old watching the same 3 animations over and over again, especially when you consider that the games would take waaay less time to complete without 'em.

The one animation I never get tired of, however, is the one that plays whenever my great white shark has a victory. It actually does a little victory swirl and then gets right up in your face and appears to be laughing. A shark that roars AND laughs? You can't tell me that's not 100% badass.

With each victory you gain experience points, sometimes resulting in a "Level Up!" in which you get to increase the level of your creature's attack and defense stats. The idea behind is is that you'll eventually be able to put your maxed-out beast into the tournament mode and defeat all the other beasts to defeat the secret boss. When you enter the tournament mode, it tells you, "The Bernazoid awaits!" What the hell is a Bernazoid? All I know is in the instruction booklet there's mention of top-secret genetic experiments being conducted at Bio Byte Central Labs and they include a mysterious silhouette of some horned demon-like beast that resembles Diablo:

I'd love to show you what the creature really looks like, but I've yet to make it that far and I've been playing this damned thing all week long to try and reach it. If I do ever make it to that mysterious creature, I'll be sure to post an update about it.

In all honesty though, it's a complete crock of a game because the computer cheats at will and I doubt I'll ever get that far. It simply decides whether or not it's going to let you win, and if gives you the thumbs down, then you're screwed no matter how much experience you've built up. For example, if you block an attack from an enemy, it will reward you with a double-damage attack that cannot be blocked on your next turn. Sounds great right? Yeah, well when I take off 42 hit points in my next attack, the computer magically takes off 64 hit points from me. Considering it didn't block my massive shark bite, I'd love to know how the hell it got rewarded with a goddamned triple-damage attack. In other words: I call bullshit.

Jakks Pacific did announce Series 2 of the Bio Bytes, and as stupid as the game itself seems, I probably won't be able to resist the opportunity to own an octopus or a grizzly bear, forever entombed in a watery capsule. I just hope that when they do release the 2nd series, they explain one of the other great Bio Bytes mysteries to me:

Why does the fuck does the grizzly bear do a one-handed handstand for his battle intro? That's just not intimidating at all.

Questions or Comments about this piece?

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Reader Comments

Feb 29th, 2008, 05:43 PM
when i first saw this, the first thing that came to mind was: Pokemon/Digimon ripoff with real animals.
Feb 29th, 2008, 07:11 PM
They need a zombie Bio Byte (I know it isn't an animal I don't care) so we can relive ZOMBIE versus SHARK!
lurking on the walls
Feb 29th, 2008, 10:07 PM
wow...that's different, i hope you see the last boss though RoG, best of luck man
Forum Virgin
Feb 29th, 2008, 10:18 PM
Sometimes, I feel my childhood was cheated. Being 33 now, I was truly deprived of whining all year for, and then finally receiving one of these as a gift. I'm sure I would have tired of it quickly, and by February would never have touched it again.

Now I'd never spend 30 bucks on it, and having no crotchfruit of my own, I can't live vicariously through the joy of my offspring playing with one of these. (And using the excuse of, "Let Dad level your shark up for you,")

Still, best of luck, I think I speak for saying that I'm damned curious about this secret boss.
Feb 29th, 2008, 10:36 PM
I learned that sharks could roar while watching Jaws 4: The Revenge.
Crazed Techno-Biologist
Feb 29th, 2008, 10:50 PM
i actually played with Poxwhich was like this, but simpler and with an adventure mode.
now THAT was adumb game i could play for long hours.
Forum Virgin
Feb 29th, 2008, 11:36 PM
good luck with the boss man. If you love sharks though you should see the documentary "Sharkwater" it's coming out soon on dvd, I saw it at a festival and it's fantastic if not damn difficult to watch (it shows the whole sale slaughter of sharks by poachers and fin fishers). Great article.
Forum Virgin
Feb 29th, 2008, 11:38 PM
im totally with pentegarn on this one.....

Zombies Vs Shark ... even more if they make the original zombie from the movie
Forum Chaos Lord
Mar 1st, 2008, 12:03 AM
My friend Steve got me one of these. I really should open it up and play it.
Mar 1st, 2008, 06:07 AM
I'm going to go out on a limb here and, while a Diablo-esque villain would be cool, I'm going to say "Cobbled together dinosaur monster" for the boss. Although couldn't they have come up with a cooler name than "Bernazoid"? Burn-azoid I could see, but Bern? Ah, I dunno. Either way, good luck, Rog. If I were still at my old job, I could likely tell you when they hit the clearance racks, but I'm out of luck there.

By the way, I see there *is* a crocodile and I see you were obviously fighting it. So, how many times has the thing been beat down?

And also, you're right. Shark week rocks.
<me|yourmom> = you
Mar 1st, 2008, 08:11 AM
Good god, I googled these things and found them selling for $60+. Who in their right mind would pay that much for one?
Pickled Patriarch
Mar 1st, 2008, 05:40 PM
Originally Posted by Pentegarn View Post
They need a zombie Bio Byte (I know it isn't an animal I don't care) so we can relive ZOMBIE versus SHARK!
I think you're onto something there, Pentegarn, and I wholeheartedly support your campaign to add zombies to the Bio Bytes product line. Make it so!

Originally Posted by Nick View Post
I learned that sharks could roar while watching Jaws 4: The Revenge.
Yes indeed, didn't we all...

Originally Posted by Copper View Post
By the way, I see there *is* a crocodile and I see you were obviously fighting it. So, how many times has the thing been beat down? And also, you're right. Shark week rocks.
I lost count, but yeah, I've took out a lot of pent up sharky aggression on that croc. I've also taken out the killer whale and the octopus a few times just to leave no question about who is truly king of the sea!

Originally Posted by Ashmodai View Post
Good god, I googled these things and found them selling for $60+. Who in their right mind would pay that much for one?
Only an idiot would pay that much, because you can get 'em for about $25 in stores and for about $10 on eBay right now.
Idiot Genes
Mar 1st, 2008, 08:51 PM
Idiot Genes
Mar 1st, 2008, 08:58 PM
Not Another Whipping Boy
Mar 2nd, 2008, 02:07 AM
Sounds like something rejected from the pokemon franchise, I'd go back to watching real cockfights any day.
Mar 2nd, 2008, 08:16 AM
WOW! That company got owned by those cybersquatters XD
I hate them so much
Best of luck getting to that looks-awesome-but-most-likely-will-look-lame-and-impossiblly-hard/easy-to-best-last-boss RoG.
Exploding In...3...2...1
Mar 2nd, 2008, 11:02 AM
Originally Posted by Ashmodai
Good god, I googled these things and found them selling for $60+. Who in their right mind would pay that much for one?
Indeed, THATS a stupid price for stupid toys. because, in the ad, theyre wriggling like heck knows what, but they more TWITCH in real life than "attack". And, who'd be that much of a sucker to pay 25 bucks on one of these, Tamagotchis sell for like 10 at target! And that site has been PWNED!
Built in the 80s
Mar 2nd, 2008, 03:34 PM
Haha, those things look awesome! They need to build some sort of gambling function into it though.
Valkyr Addict
Mar 2nd, 2008, 04:43 PM
i loved diablo!

but almost no ever mentions it.
Forum Virgin
Mar 2nd, 2008, 07:05 PM
Actually, Discovery Channel or Animal Planet does have a series like this. Forget what it's called, but they have had battles like Hippo VS Shark, Lion VS Tiger, etc.
Cephalopod Extraordinaire
Mar 2nd, 2008, 11:41 PM
I love how the gorilla IS Kong.
No Future Guy
Mar 3rd, 2008, 01:33 AM
The mystery zoid guy looks like the triceratops monster thing that was a character in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters.
Pickled Patriarch
Mar 3rd, 2008, 03:19 AM
Damnations! I still haven't made it to the mystery creature yet...
Forum Virgin
Mar 3rd, 2008, 09:42 AM
I googled Bernazoid to see if there where any pictures of this fabled beast, but to no avail, the only page i found was this one. Considering the fact that the Bio Bytes web site didn't exist, and there's no other entries anywhere about Bernazoid, i'd say you made this whole thing up! You're a phony!
Chimichanga enthusiast
Mar 3rd, 2008, 05:23 PM
actually, i learned about sharks roaring in Great White...
Mar 11th, 2008, 08:33 PM
Animal Cruelty...
Shining Beacon of Virtue
Mar 23rd, 2008, 06:13 PM
I'm calling Peta...
Forum Virgin
Apr 10th, 2008, 05:50 PM

Behold! The Bernazoid!
Pickled Patriarch
Apr 10th, 2008, 06:47 PM
Haha nice, did you draw that yourself based on the shadowy figure in the instruction booklet, or is that image from somewhere else? Either way, thanks for sharing it!
Forum Virgin
Apr 11th, 2008, 08:04 PM
That's the actual drawing they used to base the Bernazoid on. Here are some animations of Bernie in action:

And since you like this one, here it is in GIF form:

Pickled Patriarch
Apr 11th, 2008, 08:08 PM
Whoah, finally we get to see the Bernazoid in action! Where'd you get those animations? Do you work for the company or something?

That jumping tail-whip animation looks like it would decimate my shark.
Forum Virgin
Apr 11th, 2008, 08:13 PM
The Bernazoid was meant to be uber-powerful, like the real Bernazoid who works at Jakks And yes, I worked directly on the project.
Pickled Patriarch
Apr 12th, 2008, 03:08 PM
Haha nice, that had to be a fun one to work on. Any chance you have more of those nifty little animations for all the other animals from the game... or perhaps a preview of the ones from Series 2? I'd love to see 'em. You just can't go wrong with a bear that does a handstand.
Forum Virgin
Aug 18th, 2008, 03:17 PM's Digimon, only made uncessarily difficult?
Forum Virgin
Apr 12th, 2010, 11:43 AM
I've beaten the Bernaziod. it's not very difficult. you just go on and battle just like your battling a regular animal. Once you get the hang of it its actually pretty easy.

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