ReBoot: Countdown to Chaos ReBoot (PS) is a third-person 3D shooter/racing video game published and licensed by Electronic Arts for the Sony PlayStation in 1998.
It featured Fast-soaring Zipboard action; advanced 3-D engine recreates the immense and vivid world of Mainframe; 13 radical weapons to obliterate unsuspecting virals; 19 free-roaming 3-D levels include all 7 futuristic sectors; dynamic lighting and weapon effects; exclusive episode footage of the award-winning TV series ReBoot™ and Analog Controller support. The character's voice actors also returned to voice footage and story scenes. Released in April '98, the title was also Rated "E" for everyone. In Europe, it was rated 15+.
Unlike the television series, the ReBoot game had no interference from Broadcast Standards and Practices, the ABC Network censors; as such the adventure's theme was overall much darker and mature than the first two syndicated seasons, making it possible for the protagonist (Bob) and supporting characters to die. The game's storyline was created by Mainframe Entertainment and is considered an exclusive episode of the award-winning series ReBoot, according to the back of the package. Animator Scott Speirs directed the episode clips made exclusively for the game. The games linear script was made by Blue Zone Productions Ltd. out of Vancouver Canada.
The gameplay was received by the critics as mediocre; controls were frustrating, although the story cut-scenes done by Mainframe Inc were entertaining to those familiar with the CGI show.
Synopsis and Background
"In the expansive 3-D computer world of Mainframe, battle lines are being drawn between the viral forces of the evil Megabyte and you, the Guardian Bob. Flying acrobatically on a Zip Board and wielding an arsenal of weapons and tools, Bob must battle the destructive forces of Megabyte and repair Tears that threaten to destroy Mainframe. Can you overcome Megabyte's minions and save the world from a countdown to chaos?"
(c) 1998 Electronic Arts. ReBoot™ and (c) 1998 Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved. The brand name of ReBoot™ and ReBoot™ characters are trademarks of Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. and are used with permission and under license.
'ReBoot: Countdown to Chaos' chronologically takes place soon after Mainframe's Twin City was destroyed and Bob is now the newly instated Guardian 452 of System Mainframe. With the loss of their sister city, Mainframe's citizens have no trust or confidence in a visitor from the Super Computer. Bob must prove himself to be the city's savior and protect his new-found friends from their mortal enemies, Megabyte and Hexadecimal.
The game's plot revolves around the two viruses using the power of the tears to create widespread chaos and instability throughout the city, in a bid to create their own dominions. From the beginning, Megabyte betrays Hex to reach the System Operating Core and a new viral dawn, while the self-styled Queen of Chaos intends to cause as much devastation as possible. Megabyte is now releasing Tears to damage Mainframe in order to assist him with his plan for taking complete control of it. Bob must mend and diffuse these tears with Glitch before they detonate. Timing is of the essence. The young Guardian is tasked with ensuring Mainframe and its people survive this nightmare.
The game takes place before the first season of ReBoot and an unspecified amount of time after the flashbacks seen in Daemon Rising. It introduces Megabyte's muscle machine, Clash, who can suddenly bristle with weapons that can mechanically telescope, extend, and unfold into shape. His demise also begets the origin of Hack, Slash and Scuzzy.
The adventure relies on interactive-storytelling; events are driven by the player's progress, resulting in various outcomes, multiple endings, and cut-scenes depending on how well the player does. Should he/she perform badly or die, there are serious consequences, after which Phong recites advice to the player cryptically delivering messages of encouragement, like "The future is not written in ROM, the game player with the fastest clock speed will journey first to the ultimate ending", or "While there is only one path to success, there are many roads to failure", and so on.
In Chapter One, Hexadecimal and Megabyte have joined forces to develop and construct a Mirror superweapon based off Hexadecimal's Looking Glass mounted atop Silicon Tor in Giedi Prime. It operates by firing out a ray locked onto a volatile tear, thereby creating a massive explosion from said energy. Hexadecimal fulfills her end of the bargain, while Megabyte snidely remarks the same. Unknown to the Queen of Chaos, one of Megabyte's ABCs has already deposited a tear beneath her Lair in Lost Angles. Hex is growing impatient for a demonstration, whilst Megabyte orders Herr Doktor to activate the Mirror and release the tear's containment field. The deadly beam destabilizes the tear; the blast destroys the entire tower above. The Super Virus, realizing she has been double-crossed, screams in rage as the Lair collapses around her. In his headquarters Megabyte gloats "Family first, Hexadecimal".
Meanwhile, in Baudway Sector, Dot is unveiling the Diner for its grand opening as Enzo plays with his puppy Frisket. Mike the TV bursts onto scene with his "Hard Drive News" bulletin informing the public of the explosion at Lost Angles, treating the cause as suspicious. Enzo quickly leaves via Zip Board, just as Bob is arriving in the sector.
If the player fails to get all the Tears on the first level the Diner is leveled by the resulting fires. Bob arrives as Dot and Enzo stare aghast at the wreckage. A charred Cecil annoyingly states "I don't do windows, or rubble!" Bob asks a rhetorical question "I guess that Energy Shake is out of the question?" while Dot storms off, clearly not amused.
If all tears are successfully found, Bob emerges from the Utility Tunnels before landing in the arms of Dot definitely pleased with his situation "This is good, this is very good" as Enzo and a crowd cheer on the Guardian.
Chapter Two begins with an angry Megabyte readying his viral forces beneath Silicon Tor, ordering his fleet to use all and any force necessary to eliminate Bob. Megabyte is determined to fulfill his destiny. The hanger opens as the ABCs assemble in waves of seven units, flying out of the Tor. Megabyte then hacks into the Pinnacle Elite VidWindows above the Principal Office, addressing the citizens to witness the dawn of a new world order, welcoming them to Megaframe. Bob flies up to the Window angrily retorting to the virus "Over my deleted bitmap!" but Megabyte smugly replies "As you wish, Bob". The Guardian flees as the ABC legions give chase.
If the player loses, Megabyte welcomes the cities populous to Megaframe before laughing evilly.
As Chapter Three opens Megabyte is berating Herr Doktor, for the scientist had previously assured him Hex's Mirrors would keep the tear containment bonds stable. Megabyte is resolved that he will have a clear path to the Core. Herr Doktor makes a bad excuse he could not decipher it with just two hands, whereupon the virus crushes his right hand, replying "Now you only have one… find out!" as the Binome feebly cries "Mein digits!" Outside, Bob is now approaching the Beverly Hills Sector.
These tears apparently caused Web Creatures to invade Mainframe. If the player is not quick enough and loses the chapter, a monstrous black creature with multiple tentacles, somewhat reminiscent of a web creature, is slowly absorbing the whole Principal Office.
A successful run shows the CPU fighters engaging the flying spores, the CPU General contacts Bob telling him they're got the situation under control but also alerting him to a new tear picked up in Kits Sector. Bob panics, realizing that's exactly where his new apartment is.
Chapter Four reveals Bob making his way to Eight-Ball Apartments where a large crowd of Binomes and Numerals are gathering. Under present circumstances, the Guardian urges them to evacuate Kits immediately. The crowd however blame all their troubles on Bob, accusing him of being secretly in cohorts with Megabyte; believing Mainframe was perfectly fine before the Guardian arrived. The scene turns rather ugly as the mob advances on Bob. Dot, flying a Data Crane, swoops in and rescues Bob, and tries to calm the mob down. Bob assures Miss Matrix he can handle this himself, and Dot obliges by dropping him back down.
If the player fails, the scene opens onto Nibble's Diner of Megaframe. Dot and Enzo are marked with large barcodes and regret the loss of Bob, failing to warn him of the imminent danger, as Megabyte mockingly welcomes everyone to his city from a Pinnacle VidWindow. Should the gamer only be moderately successful, the apartment at Kits lies in ruins as the crowd heckles Bob throwing garbage at him.
Winning the chapter results in Bob crash landing onto his bed in 8-Ball Apartments, knocking him unconscious; he has vivid dreams of Dot promising everything he could ever desire, yet being abducted by Hexadecimal. Phong opens up a VidWindow yelling "This is no time for resting Guardian!" informing that Floating Point Park needs him urgently.
Chapter Five starts in Silicon Tor, where Megabyte decides to go to Plan B and "release the family heirloom". Large blast doors open up revealing a menacing robotic figure named Clash. According to the game, this large robot was created by Megabyte's father. Its orders are now to exterminate the Guardian, once and for all.
Failing the scenario or unable to stop Clash, shows a teenage sprite kneeling before Megabyte, grinning; it is Enzo with the exact look and outfit from Identity Crisis, Part 2. Captain Quirk who has been taken captive exclaims "You took out his frontal chip, you barbarian! Soylent green is Enzo!" causing the virus to laugh maniacally.
Winning the stage results in Clash suffering a critical error, causing him to decompile. He explodes into three; Hack and Slash making up his entire body; while Scuzzy was formerly his head. Bob is now being congratulated by all the citizens at Floating Point Park, standing approvingly as he gives the thumbs up. On another island from his limousine, Megabyte is glaring angrily at the scene through small binoculars.
He contacts mission control instructing them to retrieve additional tears for a second assault. Herr Doktor, now with two injured hands, responds by saying they're still having trouble decoding the Mirror-script. Megabyte will not tolerate incompetence. Clash is now broken into two separate robots which introduce themselves to the virus as Hack and Slash, complaining about a "splitting headache". Hack admits Bob beat them fair and square, while Slash argues "it should have been a split decision". Both joke that their boss was beaten as well, causing a wrathful Megabyte to dismantle them.
Chapter Six opens with Megabyte exiting his limo standing before the twisted gilded bridge at Lost Angles, musing over his failure. Speaking retrospectively about his supposedly-deceased sister Hexadecimal, he scoffs at gaining the power to control tears whilst taking her life in the process. He promises next time, Bob the Guardian will not be so fortunate.
He turns to leave when a broken shard of glass catches his attention, picking it up and inspecting his reflection. Suddenly Hex's arm lunges out of the shard grabbing Megabyte's neck, lifting him in midair. The rest of the broken mirror merges back into one again as Hexadecimal emerges from it, still choking her brother as the mirror disintegrates away. Megabyte tries to be apologetic but fails miserably. The Super Virus hurls him all the way back to the Tor. With a motion of her wrist she reforms Lost Angles prior to the tear explosion, summoning the energy in one hand screaming aloud "This is the countdown to chaos!".
She hurls the orange energy straight to Giedi Prime and back to the Mirror superweapon whilst Bob intercepts and chases after the deadly fireball. If Bob fails to stop the orbs path it strikes the Tor firing the Mirror weapon upon the Principal Office. Hex narrates "It's not nice to play with Mother Chaos!" laughing insanely while the System Operating Core is obliterated, and all of Mainframe subsequently destroyed in the enormous blast.
If the player does prevent this cataclysmic event, Hexadecimal is seen stroking her new pet Scuzzy having rebuild the Lair glazing fondly at Bob through her Looking Glass having become completely infatuated with the Guardian, vowing to win him over. She decides to get better acquainted through a more romantic atmosphere as the light dims.
Phong tries to contact Bob to warn him the System is tittering on the edge of collapse, and Dot has gone missing, but the message goes to static and Bob cannot comprehend what just happened.
Chapter Seven begins with Bob ready to confront Megabyte outside Silicon Tor while inside the virus is observing him through a VidWindow with his glaring red and green eyes. He activates a control panel on his throne, revealing numerous missiles, which launch straight up and after the Guardian who narrowly dodges them. Bob leaps into the Tor ordering Glitch to morph into a grapple where he swings across to fight the virus.
If the player fails to defeat Megabyte, he advances over to a motionless Bob holding him up, smirking "When you upgrade the system, you throw out the trash" before dropping his lifeless body back down again.
When the player defeats this boss encounter, Bob is armed with Glitch morphed as a cannon standing over Megabyte. Bob demands to know where Dot Matrix is, believing Megabyte orchestrated her kidnapping. But the virus points to the Mirror weapon above replying "She fooled us all"; in it Hexadecimal can be seen cackling while Dot is imprisoned in Hex's Looking Glass, helpless to brake free. Although exhausted, Megabyte overpowers Bob then mocks him that despite all his hard work, he's still left with nothing. Bob in a fury punches Megabyte several times before finally knocking him over with the barrel of the cannon. Bob then commands Glitch to morph into a 'BFG' before unloading a round onto the mirror, shattering it.
In the Final Chapter Bob hastens to Hexadecimal's Lair and is ecstatic to find Dot alive and unharmed, but something is clearly wrong. Not only is she wearing black but is behaving very oddly too. She promises to give him anything he wants, at first Bob is confused but quickly glances to see this "Dot" is casting Hex's shadow.
The Guardian rips the Dot Mask off her face as energy pours out. The impostor screams before transforming back into her true-virus form. Hex nastily concludes if you can't love them, deletion is the only alternative. She spawns multiple tears which spin around her before covering the entire city outside.
If the player cannot defeat the final boss, Hex is gloating over her new taxidermy skills "If you can't love them... stuff them!" revealing Bob and Dot as stuffed exhibits in glass. She stands holding Scuzzy atop admiring her new 'decorations', as the camera pans out showing the full extend of damage - Mainframe has been corrupted, now resembling Lost Angles.
Should the player win, Hex loses her mask and falls to the floor in a twitching spasm. Bob hurriedly breaks the Looking Glass, releasing Dot. The entire tower begins to tremble; Dot becomes anxious over her brother's safety. Just as the ceiling crumbles in Bob rescues Dot and flies out of the Lair together.
The Failed Ending plays if the player did not halt Hexadecimal's attack on Mainframe. The tears slowly annihilate the city, leaving it nothing but a tiny island barely large enough for Bob and Dot to lay on together. A drone appears in front of the dismayed Guardian playing an automated message from Phong. The drone leaves Bob a device with which to alter the system's past, and save its future. Bob realizes this is a Revert Command that will allow him to undo the disaster. He leaps headfirst into the space-time anomaly where the player has the option to repeat the game's chapters to get a better ending.
If the player saves Mainframe yet fails to obtain good endings on all chapters, the Bad Ending occurs; Bob brings Dot to safety atop the Lair where Phong greets them. He thanks Bob for saving the city, yet regretfully bears the terrible news of casualties throughout the system, young Enzo among them.
Dot despairs, though Bob tried his best and confessed he would risk anything to save the little Sprite. Phong realizes there is but one option left: use the Revert Command to go back in time and set things right. Dot is concerned as the technology is very dangerous, but Bob reminds them it's their only hope. The Guardian resolves to change their past, and disappears into the rift.
When the player finally succeeds in every chapter, the Best Ending shows Phong praising Bob's efforts, remarking that he is truly the Guardian of Mainframe. Enzo cheers on the duo from the Diner via a VidWindow. Dot has now warmed up to Mainframe's new protector, wanting to thank him on behalf of saving the whole System, and kisses Bob on the cheek in gratitude. Bob, now smiling, says "It doesn't get any better than this".
Items in the Game
As you explored through each level you could find an item to power up your weapon, replenish your health or even give you invincibility. Some were hidden, while others appeared after defeating an enemy.
- Guardian Icon: Gave you an extra life
- Health Diamond: Fully restored your health
- Glitch Diamond: Fully restored your Weapon and Glitch tool energy
- Health Icon: Restored your health 10%
- Glitch Battery Icon: Restored your Weapon and Glitch tool energy 10%
- Guardian Shield: Gave you temporary invincibility
- Megabyte Key: Appears in all the levels except the Boss stages. These gave you access to a VidWindow to finish the game. The amount to find varied on which level you were on with the highest amount being four.
Bob starts the game with an ordinary pistol, but as you progressed through the game you could obtain more powerful weapons:
- Pistol Triangle: This upgraded your original pistol from a slow shooter to a rapid fire arm
- Blaster Triangle: Shot a deadly electrical charge, the more you collected, the bigger the charge.
- Rocket Triangle: Best used on long range targets, the more you collected the more rockets you could fire.
This was Bob's variety of keytools to either mend a tear or defeat an enemy
- Mend: Your default tool used to mend tears scattered around Mainframe. It had unlimited energy.
- Box Gun: Freezes your opponents for a limited time.
- Mortar: Mortar shaped explosive grenades
- Vampire: A boomerang like weapon used to steal health from enemies and replenish yours
- Flamethrower: A flamethrower with a short range.
- Anti Virus: Scrambles the wires of Megabyte's basic weapon, the turret and turns it against your enemies.
- Grapple: Used automatically if Bob fell into a void, it consumed one third of your weapon energy, if you didn't have enough to use it, Bob fell to his death.
- Introductory footage shows Gigabyte from Season 2, despite not featuring anywhere in the game.
- this could be foreshadowing to the flashback from later seasons which shows that Gigabyte existed prior to season 1
- Mike the TV gives his "Hard Drive News" bulletin, an allusion to a computer Hard Drive.
- Phong speaks of ROM, a reference to Read Only Memory.
- Bob defiantly cries "Over my deleted bitmap!", referring to the BMP file format, sometimes called 'bitmap' which is a Microsoft-proprietary image file format used to store digital images.
- this is based on a prepositional phrase
- A Binome dressed like Wally/Waldo from the illustrated children's book 'Where's Wally/Waldo?' is seen being trampled by the angry mob in Chapter Four.
- Quirk exclaims "Soylent Green is Enzo!" a reference to the 1973 dystopian science fiction movie "Soylent Green" by Richard Fleischer, where detective Robert Thorn discovers the horrible truth that Soylent Green is being made from people.
- Glitch morphs into a 'BFG', the most powerful weapon from id Software's FPS game 'DOOM'.
- Bob says "Stay Frosty", a reference to 'THX 1138' by George Lucas.
- The 'Revert Command' is modeled off the Reality Distortion Engine seen in Identity Crisis, Part 2.
- The 'Best, the Bad and the Ugly Endings' are wordplay on an Italian spaghetti western 1966 film "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" directed by Sergio Leone.