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Primal Rage (Sega 32X) artwork

Primal Rage (Sega 32X) review

"The Underated, RAGE!"

Eons ago, before humans walked the planet, there was rage. Life on Earth was harsh, as were the instincts of the planet's life-forms. These instincts evolved and so did the Gods. The Gods embodied the spirits of Hunger and Survival, Life and Death, Insanity and Decay, and especially, Good and Evil. Dinosaurs were the dominant animals on Earth and the Gods took the form that suited their needs.... Then the delicate balance was disrupted by Balsafas, a great wizard from a parallel dimension, recognizing the threat Earth would soon pose to the rest of the Galaxy. To stop the threat he destroyed the balance between the Gods by banishing one to the center of the Moon, which caused an unbalance of power and sent the surviving Gods into suspended animation. Now millions of years later a meteor collides with earth... and you know the rest of the story. The problem is when you see the endings or even in the intro you don't see or hear anything about this Balsafas wizard fella, which would have made more sense....story wise. You see bunches of blood thirsty dinosaurs fighting each other.

This is where Primal Rage shines and shows its unique play mechanics. Yes, you do have anti-air moves, light & strong attacks, special moves (some of which have more priority over others), air throws etc...etc... like most fighters out there, but unlike most of them it feels different. Primal Rage's gameplay is very different then, say, Street Fighter 2's. Yes, you are trying to K.O. your opponent, all characters require a certain strategy which differs per individual that plays them, like SF2, but with a different combo engine greatly enhances the experience. Primal Rage also introduces various jumps and made it so you could incorporate them into various combos. The combos in Primal Rage are based on Chain-Special-Juggle combos.

From the time Primal Rage was released, Atari had upgraded it (kinda like Capcom with SF2) a couple of times, correcting any problems. On this final version they improved the combos and made it so you couldn't do any that were too perpetual (did too much damage). Something else Primal Rage started is the Brain (dizzy) Gauge, meaning the only way to dizzy your opponent would be to hit them with any number of combinations or certain special moves (some of which would instantly drain and dizzy your foe). Something else I found unique is when you have zero energy left the only way to K.O. your opponent, is if an attack actually hits/connects.

The actual game controls are spontaneous and perfect, you do it, and it does it. This is also where I heard people complaining or not liking Primal Rage is in the execution of the special moves. There's nothing wrong with having new or different control mechanics. You pretty much held certain buttons down and then did the motion. It feels awkward at first, but after playing the game (or any game for that matter) you get accustomed with it.

Since the theme (dinosaurs) and controls were different, Atari decided to do the graphics different, using stop-motion animation (like Lucas used in the first three Star Wars sagas). This type of animation and graphics give Primal Rage a unique and original look. Overall the graphics are clean and the characters are very detailed and fluidly animated. Something I did find a little cheesy was the pallet swap between Sauron/Diablo & Blizzard/Chaos. Surely everyone deserves their own entity, but it's not that big of a deal. The backgrounds are also ultra detailed and well designed. A couple of more characters wouldn't have hurt either, seven just isn't enough.

The sounds effects are good and fit their respectful counterpart. The thuds when getting knocked on the ground to the scratching when digging your claws into flesh to the crunching/bone breaking sound when having a chunk ripped out of you, or the scissor sound when Talon bites. The voices are done nicely, from blizzard sounding like a Jaguar to Vertigo's snake sounds. The music is above average and fits the stage backgrounds decently (its a dinosaur fighting game what more is there to say).

Primal Rage came out when everyone was (or had to make) a fighting game trying to get the same success Capcom had with Street Fighter 2. Atari was one of those companies. They did everything right, did their homework and made a fighter that was different and unique. I think the problem was there were too many fighters out, and people started sticking to what they knew how to play (SF2, Mortal Kombat, S-Shodown etc.) It's funny, people used to rip on games that were too much like Street Fighter 2, then when a game comes out that's not like Street Fighter 2 (but every bit as good) they hate it. Go figure.


Community review by DEATHSCHILD (August 20, 2015)

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