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Primal Rage


1995 Time Warner Interactive

Atari Games Corporation




During the fighting game explosion of the early 90s, for roughly a year the hot game was Mortal Kombat II, the main reason being not so much for the game play (which was certainly not lacking,) but more because of the adult themes involved, i.e. ripping someone's head off with spinal cord dangling and being covered in the resulting shower of blood. In the wave of me-too fighting games that followed not many were able to effectively replicate this formula. Primal Rage was one of the few that managed to inject some originality into the genre and in years since has become a cult favorite.

First with the obvious: It's a fighting game with dinosaurs. While not the first arcade game to follow such a premise (such as this hunk of crap) it certainly was the best. The creatures are realized thorough stop motion models, which gives the game a sort of retro-feel, kinda like one of those old Harryhausen movies.

The game involves seven different beasts, who are revered as Gods by their caveman followers:

Armandon, God of life - A bipedal ceratopsid type dinosaur


Blizzard, God of good - Giant Gorilla/Yeti with freezing attacks


Chaos, God of Filth - Giant Gorilla that pukes on stuff


Sauron, God of hunger - Token tyrannosaurus dinosaur that eats things


Diabo, God of Evil - Just like Sauron but breathes fire


Talon, God of survival - Giant velocaraptor that moves real fast


Vertigo, Goddess of insanity - Bipedal cobra dinosaur thing that casts magic spells


The game follows each of these gods as they fight one another in an attempt to conquer the "Urth," which is what our planet is called one thousand years after some kind of gigantic cataclysm.

The snes port is a semi-decent attempt at replicating the arcade game. The models have been scaled down significantly, both is size and in the amount of colors used. They still have very good animation for a Super Nintendo game (much better than the Genesis version.) Graphics overall are several notches down from the arcade game but still look pretty good. Much of the sound effects made it intact as well, but noticeably the evil announcer voice was cut. There are other little differences here and there, such as the amount of little worshipers on the screen, background elements, etc. The biggest of course is the censoring of the notorious"Golden shower" fatality (which was not censored in the Genesis version, for some reason.)

The game plays exactly like it's arcade counterpart, in fact a little too much so. I've noticed a pattern with this game, whereas the difficulty will increase to near unbeatable levels, then decrease significantly once the player continues. It's set up the same way in the arcade, to eat more quarters. The problem with how this game is played is not localized with this translation though. The method by which the specials are done, "hold-tap-relase" don't really translate well to an Snes pad. They're not impossible to do, just difficult. The game does allow you to choose from several different controller configurations though.

Of the home versions available at the time this one measured up with the more advanced Playstation, Saturn, and 3D0 incarnations, and may be worth it for those seeking to fill out their 16-bit fighting game collections.

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