Category Archives: Fatal Rewind

Fur Fighters: Bizarre Gets Blasting

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It would be nearly three full years between the release of Formula 1 97 and Bizarre Creations’ next game — and that next game was quite a change in style!

Having proven themselves in the racing game sector with the two PlayStation-based Formula 1 titles, the company turned its attention to Sega’s new Dreamcast console and two new projects. One of these, Metropolis Street Racer, would prove to be Bizarre Creations’ breakout hit. But don’t sleep on the other, because Fur Fighters is a fascinating game that is well worth your time — even if it’s not what you’d typically expect to see from the company!

And for those who don’t have easy access to a working Dreamcast, there’s even a PS2 version that came out a year later with some significant improvements such as cel-shaded visuals and full voice acting. It’s that version, subtitled Viggo’s Revenge, that we’ll be focusing on for today.

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Formula 1 97: Racing, Refined

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A year after the well-received Formula 1 hit the PlayStation, Bizarre Creations proved that their apparent skill in creating great racing games wasn’t just a fluke — because they made another Formula One game, and it was even better.

Formula 1 97 hit store shelves in September of 1997, a month before the 1997 racing season came to a close. While development ran fairly smoothly — and apparently legendary commentator Murray Walker was so impressed with the game that he signed an exclusive agreement with Sony to provide commentary for another two years — Psygnosis and Sony ran into legal issues with the sport’s various governing bodies after the game launched, and ended up having to repackage, rename and rerelease the game.

Thankfully none of that matters now, and Formula 1 97 still provides an enjoyable racing experience for both arcade racer fans and more dedicated petrolheads. So let’s take a closer look!

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Formula 1: Bizarre Creations’ True Beginning

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So far here on Fatal Rewind: A Bizarre Creations Retrospective, we’ve seen how Martyn Chudley and, subsequently, a team of able assistants, commanded a solid technical mastery over the hardware they were working on, producing beautiful looking games that played well.

Today, we reach a significant milestone in the history of the company and their games, because it marks the point at which Chudley and his team became Bizarre Creations, the name under which they worked up until their untimely demise in 2011.

It also marks the first time they worked on a type of game that would come to be seen as their particular specialism: the accessible but realistic racing game, straddling the line between arcade game and simulation. Let’s look at Formula 1, released for PlayStation in 1996.

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Wiz ‘n’ Liz: Hunting Wabbits for Fun and Profit

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Three years after the well-received The Killing Game Show first hit home computer screens, Martyn Chudley and friends were back with a new title, this time for both Amiga and Mega Drive. I give you Wiz ‘n’ Liz: The Frantic Wabbit Wescue.

Having gone by “Raising Hell Software” for their previous game, some alleged behind-the-scenes trouble with Sega forced the team that would eventually become Bizarre Creations to go nameless for a period; the introductory screens for Wiz ‘n’ Liz credit Chudley and his co-designer Mike Waterworth directly by name rather than attributing the game to a company. The actual name Bizarre Creations would appear for the first time with their next game — but more on that next time!

For now, let’s take a look at Wiz ‘n’ Liz which is, by all accounts, a thoroughly strange game, but another beautiful example of how Chudley and his team were consistently capable of creating exceedingly attractive, highly addictive games that would constantly keep you coming back for more.

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The Killing Game Show: The Only Way is Up

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A couple of years after his first commercial video game Combat Crazy had failed to set the sales charts alight — despite being an enjoyable side-scrolling platform shooter — Bizarre Creations founder Martyn Chudley was back with another game, this time for 16-bit platforms.

The new title was known as The Killing Game Show, and was published on 16-bit home computers by a company called Psygnosis, which had been establishing a very solid reputation for itself since its inception in 1986. Not only was Psygnosis a spiritual successor to the legendary 8-bit developer-publisher Imagine Software, but it had also demonstrated right from the start that it was a company dedicated to high-quality, well-produced games that oozed class and style — on both the computer screen and on players’ shelves, too.

The Killing Game Show, developed by Chudley and a team working under the name Raising Hell Software, was an ideal fit for Psygnosis’ portfolio, featuring impressive visuals and solid but challenging gameplay to back them up. So let’s take a closer look.

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Combat Crazy: The Genesis of Bizarre Creations

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The late Bizarre Creations is, it’s fair to say, a developer that a lot of people have very fond memories of. And for a variety of reasons.

2021 marks the tenth anniversary of their unceremonious closure at the hands of Activision after the disappointing (to Activision) commercial performance of their excellent “powered-up racing” title Blur. And so I thought it was high time we paid them tribute.

Over the course of this ongoing MegaFeature, we’ll look at Bizarre Creations’ complete back catalogue, stretching from the company’s roots back in the Commodore 64 days, all the way through its classic racing titles on sixth- and seventh-generation consoles, and onwards to its sad demise ten years ago. You might be surprised at some of the lesser-known titles these Liverpool lads put out during their time in the business — and I’m sure we’re all sorry they’re no longer around today. So let’s get started by taking a trip right back to the very beginning.

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