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Primal Rage (Genesis) artwork

Primal Rage (Genesis) review


"Welcome to Planet Urth! No, this post-apocalyptic wasteland is not the Earth that you used to know and love. Not too long ago, a giant meteorite crashed into our world, casting ruin and destruction across the globe. The impact shook the planet to its core, triggering severe earthquakes, tsunamis, and even (gasp!) global warming. Between the searing heat of the explosion and the radical shift of the continents, billions of people were killed in the catastrophe. Indeed, mankind as we know it has g..."



Welcome to Planet Urth! No, this post-apocalyptic wasteland is not the Earth that you used to know and love. Not too long ago, a giant meteorite crashed into our world, casting ruin and destruction across the globe. The impact shook the planet to its core, triggering severe earthquakes, tsunamis, and even (gasp!) global warming. Between the searing heat of the explosion and the radical shift of the continents, billions of people were killed in the catastrophe. Indeed, mankind as we know it has gone from Starbucks-slurping yuppies and depressed cubicle drones and reentered the Stone Age. The collapse of modern civilization has left the few thousands of survivors cowering in caves, hunting and gathering to survive, and sporting some fashionable animal hide ensembles. Since these folks won’t be enjoying the comforts of 21st Century technology for the next few millennia, they’ve got nothing better to do then worship a bunch of godly beasts and pray that their meaningless existence in this Hell will improve.

Their gods, however, have different plans. Instead of acting as benefactors for their lowly worshipers, these beings seek only to attack each other in a bid for worldwide supremacy. That’s the point of Primal Rage; unlike other fighting games that feature Karate practitioners looking to better themselves or ninjas out for non-specific revenge, this lineup of divine warriors are only out to conquer the planet and subjugate mankind. Yeah, these guys definitely aren’t Christian/Muslim/Jewish/whatever other deities of today. Instead, they’re a bunch of giant, bloodthirsty carnivores. Sorry, but there are no messiahs or angels here; just a couple of T-Rexes, a velociraptor with a Mohawk, the Loch Ness Monster, a King Kong version of Mortal Kombat’s Sub-Zero, a bile-spewing ape, and a big spiky…thingy. Forget about everything you ever learned from Clash of the Titans, because these guys are out for blood.

Regardless of what their faithful worshipers think, the characters of Primal Rage are far from omnipotent. Fearsome appearances and gargantuan sizes aside, they attack just like your typical 2D fighter (just with claws and excessive gore effects). Armed with the directional pad and a few buttons, you’ll be able to make these titans dash forward for a quick slash, jump to avoid oncoming projectiles, and block against an onslaught of razor-sharp talons, snapping jaws, and whatever else your opponent may be packing. Despite their beast forms, these fighters can still attack using makeshift roundhouse kicks, jugular-ripping uppercuts, and a handful of other moves. Each beast comes equipped with a handful of special attacks to dish out even more mayhem. Unlike the Hadokens, Sonic Booms, and other stuff you’ve seen in other fighting games, you’ll get to pepper your foes with a flurry of stalagmites, turn them into a pile of charred flesh with a few fiery breaths, fart them into submission, and even send them awash in a warm, acidy flood of urine.

Ooh, how unconventional.

While Primal Rage features plenty of disgusting moves and more than enough gore to make an overprotective mother faint, it doesn’t have much in the way of quality. The biggest problem becomes obvious as soon as the first battle gets under way; as you try to charge into your foe and open it up with a bloody slash, you’ll find that the controls are horribly laggy and unresponsive. Your well-timed button inputs will go unrecognized as well. Instead of tearing into your foe with a quick punch and kick combo, your character will likely do a feeble wrist flick and miss its target entirely. The fact that the game is horribly unbalanced doesn’t help things, either. Though the character roster features a measly seven fighters, only a few of them are actually worth using; that flaming T-Rex won’t look so cool when it’s getting thrashed around by an enemy with broken range and vastly superior speed. At least, if you can actually see it. The attack animations will frequently freeze up or disappear entirely, leaving you to wonder if your character actually did anything. Instead of actually learning the combos and shallow intricacies of each character’s moveset, you’ll likely end up mindlessly button mashing your way through the competition. Needless to say, this is no Street Fighter 2.

The game tries to distract you from its utter crappiness by boasting plenty of detailed imagery. Like Mortal Kombat before it, Primal Rage features digitized renderings of its main characters. You’ll be able to see the shadows rippling across a dinosaur’s scaly hide, the rows of fangs protruding out of it mouth, and even its drooling tongue wag around when it gets knocked out. Even little things, like blood smeared into the monkey’s fur or the spike monster’s countless layers of realistic rock armor make the fighters look good. However, there’s nothing quite as cringe inducing as hearing one of the behemoths let off a gutteral (albeit realistic) roar of die as they die. Sadly, the rest of the game didn’t get the same kind of treatment; though you’ll be fighting in the vicinity of erupting volcanoes, collapsed buildings, and city ruins, you’ll find many of the backgrounds look muddy at best. At least your character’s worshipers (at least, the poorly rendered shapes that represent them) will be cheering on the sidelines, shouting chants of encouragement even as you accidentally step on them.

So, what can Primal Rage teach us about fighting games? It has a small cast of unique fighters with a decidedly dark plot, but the unbalanced playing styles of the characters don’t help. There are tons of blood gushing with every slash and bite, but the choppy animations and lack of fluid gameplay make the combat a tedious affair. While each fighter has plenty of unique (if not utterly disgusting) moves, the aggravatingly laggy controls and pathetic button responsiveness make the game less of a serious fighting game and more of a button-mashing free-for-all. Primal Rage focuses more on graphic depictions of gory violence and childish humor as opposed to the fundamental aspects of a 2D fighting game. Accordingly, it’s easily the worst fighting game on the Genesis, if not of its entire generation.

Rating: 1/10

disco's avatar
Community review by disco (May 07, 2007)

Disco is a San Francisco Bay Area native, whose gaming repertoire spans nearly three decades and hundreds of titles. He loves fighting games, traveling the world, learning new things, writing, photography, and tea. Not necessarily in that order.

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