Primal Rage. Atari Games (1994) Super Nintendo

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Me big man, me like fire. Fire shiney.*

*I don’t know… I guess I am regressing to one of the cave dwellers that get eaten by a T-Rex

Gameplay

Primal Rage is a standard Tournament Fighter, you get the jist don’t you? One-on-one fighting with a combo and special move system. There isn’t that much to say about it really, except rather than being pallette swapped ninjas or robots, you are pallette swapped King Kongs and Dinosaurs. Bet that sells the game for you immediately?

To be honest, I was hesitant, I had just played King of Monsters and King of Monsters 2 which while different, were effectively Not-King Kong punching Not-Godzilla in the face and they were terrible and we shall never speak of them again.

Primal Rage is Ice Monkeys versus Lava Dinosaurs. So don’t be surprised when you’re T-Rex spits a totally radical fireball at the other geezer.

No no, it really is this ugly.

Story

Something about a pre-historic meteor landing on Earth and wiping out mankind. The few survivors become cave-dwellers, who then decide to start worshipping the 7 big fucking monsters that crawled out of “Urth” after the meteor struck. Still more coherent that the plot to Mortal Kombat.

Graphics

The only thing blurrier than the boxart at the top is the in-game graphics as the in-game graphics looks like hairy arse on a glass table smeared in vasoline.

Lets point and laugh at how ugly this versus screen is!

Moves

Firstly, and this is honestly my most important test in a Fighting game, which Primal Rage passes with aplumb. That test is “can I throw an Hadouken“. Obviously I am not expecting a Lava Monkey to shout Hadouken and shoot a blue energy ball, but what I do mean is can I figure out some of the moves by picking up and playing. Thankfully, the answer to this question is resounding yes.

OK, I had to button mash a few games until I figured them out, but the majority of moves for the characters I used followed the age old Street Fighter idea of a few simple directional inputs followed by an attack button or two.

Added on top of this is a combo system, and this is where the experts will shine and whomp the nubs like me. I can string together s 3-5 hit combo and i’ll be boring my mates in the pub later as I was so pleased with myself so much i’ll bang on about it. But I get the feeling that Primal Rage is one of those where a pro would 37 hit combo you in the space of 3 seconds and win that match before you’ve managed to throw a quick punch.

Even with a higher resolution capture it still looks like arse.

Fatalities

This being a Tournament Fighter of the 90s it means that Fatalities are a given, and like the moves they are actually easy to pull off. None of this stupid “stand precisely two characters length away and input your entire genetic sequence in on the control pad in 0.5 seconds” more a “Hold down two buttons and twizzle the d-pad“. Granted I had to read a move list online to find these out, but I was able to pull off pretty much every fatality I tried first time.

It is almost like the developers realised that fatalities were supposed to be a fun addition and not a fucking exercise in being a Melvin or paid for DLC.

Characters

Armadon: Big Spikey Boi. Looks like an armadillo to me, might be a real dinosaur. But I don’t know because I am shit at life. Is apparently the Virtuous God of Life.

Blizzard: Not a game developer, but an Ice Monkey. Is the God of Good.

Chaos: Big angry monkey. God of Decay. Bet you can tell by his name he is a “baddy”.

Diablo: Not the Lord of Terror, but is the God of Evil. Again, obviously a baddy.

Sauron: This geezer is also not a flaming eye in the sky, but he is a a T-Rex. Despite being the God of Hunger he is a goodie!

Talon: A shitty little raptor. God of Survival, which makes him a goodie in this world.

Vertigo: Apparently this is a lady dinosaur. Not sure what kind… Had a snake tail, so Snakey-Raptor. Godess of Insanity. So a bit of a bad ‘un

All in all they are different enough and there is enough variety in design between them to make them all standout (unlike early Mortal Kombats). My main issue is adding these characters as keywords is forever going to screw up my cataloging… Blizzard, urhgh he is going to appear next to Warcraft if I ever bother to review it!

Its a character select screen, do you really need a witty comment?

Conclusion

I like that Primal Rage caters to nubs like me AND the Tournament Fighting Melvins out there who are actually good at this type of game. No, it wouldn’t be fun playing somebody better than you as you’ll be inevitably get crushed. But Primal Rage also passes my second key test of a Tournament Fighter and this is perhaps the most important one…

Can me and a mate play this game together and have fun. Again, the answer is a resounding yes. If you get two people who have never played Primal Rage to pick up a pad and play each other chances are you’ll both figure out a cool move or two. Yes one of you can spam jab and win that way, but those mates aren’t invited round anymore after the great Eddy debacle of Tekken 3/ Oddjob in GoldenEye.

Pros: Pretty fun, fast combat, fair difficulty

Cons: Looks like hairy arse on a glass table

76%

Back in the Day:

Primal Rage was a huge commercial success and was ported to more things than Skyrim. It did however get mixed reviews with a number of people remarking on how ugly the game was.

Also Available on: Arcade NA: 1994, Genesis, MS-DOS, Game Boy & Game Gear NA: 1995 EU 1995, 3DO & Amiga NA: 1995 EU: 1995,
Atari Jaguar CD NA: 1995, PlayStation NA: 1995 EU:1996, Sega 32X NA: 1995 EU: 1996, Sega Saturn NA: 1995 EU: 1998

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