Primal Rage. Atari Games (1994) Super Nintendo

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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Posted in Super Nintendo
7 comments on “Primal Rage. Atari Games (1994) Super Nintendo
  1. Kariyanine says:

    I’m terrible at fighters but everything you said about this one makes it seem like it could be something easy to jump in to and play with my wife (fighters are one of the few types of games I can get her to play with me.

    Like

  2. Red Metal says:

    In all fairness, Primal Rage did have an ambitious presentation for its time, but yeah, the look has not aged well at all. I didn’t really grow up with fighting games other than Super Smash Bros., but my brother did briefly rent the Super Nintendo version. It’s interesting now that the presentation style isn’t as eye-catching that people are starting to judge these kinds of games based solely on gameplay. The consensus I’m hearing is that it seems to make the case that it doesn’t pay in the long run to promote style over substance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve always had fighting games and always been terrible at them,apart from Tekken 3 I like to think I was good at that.

      Substance should always win over style and often I’ll argue a game isn’t made worse for having aged graphics.

      Aged controls and mechanics are much worse, for example Tomb Raider 1 is abysmal it looks bad now but it is unplayable because of terrible camera and controls.

      GoldenEye on 64 looked pretty crap even in 1997 but the core mechanics have aged fairly well (apart from map design and AI).

      However, some game graphics will render it unplayable for me. A lot of early PS1 3d will give me a migraine now and I won’t be able to play for more than 10 minutes. Or hideous 3d attempts on the 16bit consoles like Jurassic Park.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Red Metal says:

        I know what you mean; I find it fascinating how the early 3D look hasn’t aged as well as the early 2D look. We didn’t really think much of that presentation back then because we had nothing to compare them to, but in the long run, they did look ugly. I think that’s why there hasn’t been much of a nostalgic push to make 3D games like the ones on the PlayStation; games from that platform are still appreciated, but I always get the sense it’s in spite of the aesthetical choices (especially when you consider how much fans want a Final Fantasy VII remake). I’ve noticed independent efforts tend to either come up with a highly-stylized 3D appearance or a 8-bit/16-bit 2D one.

        I don’t think a game is made worse for having aged graphics either; after all, one of my favorite games of all time is Majora’s Mask, an early 3D game. It’s all about the gameplay, really.

        Also, I get the feeling Tomb Raider was made before developers had 3D camera controls down. It’s like playing FPSs before developers realized that hands rest naturally on the “W”, “A”, “S”, and “D” keys, and made those the controls for basic movement.

        Like

      • Oh god console FPS games before analogue! Using L and R to look up and down!!!!

        I nearly mentioned Majora/OoT the camera on that is pretty bad at times but yeah the core game still shines through.

        And you’re right about 8/16bit. If the game looked good on 8/16bit then it still looks good. Mario, Mega Man,Sonic or Link to Past all look as good as they did. Whereas Mario64 Zeldas, 3d Sonics look much worse than they did.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. […] Primal Rage by Van Rockingham – I did briefly see Primal Rage played as a kid, but in all honesty, the game didn’t seem too interesting. As the years have gone by it’s pretty obvious that the visuals, though striking for their time, haven’t aged particularly well. In his take, Van Rockingham revisits the game in an attempt to determine if he can still have fun with it all these years later. […]

    Like

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