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Primal Rage (Genesis) artwork

Primal Rage (Genesis) review

"Blood! Gore! Dinosaurs!!! "

Blood! Gore! Dinosaurs!!!

What more could a pre-teen want in a fighting game? As an innocent nine-year old, I saw Primal Rage as an infinite taboo. At a glance, it seemed to take Mortal Kombat, a game rife with controversy, and replaced characters that were dull and lifeless with DINOSAURS!!! And they really killed each other! I mean, what more could you really ask for?

Of course, it's a well-known fact that all nine year old children are instantly interested in ANY game that is remotely violent. Regardless of how poor the quality of the game actually is, the fact the characters bleed when you hit them is enough to maintain attention. Games like Chiller, Splatterhouse 2 and the original Mortal Kombat relied on this shameless gimmick in order to actually inflate the playability of the rather dire gameplay. However, while subsequent Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse games used this gimmick as side platter to supplement something that is genuinely enjoyable, Primal Rage is a brilliant example of how NOT to use violence in fighting game.

Now, if you remove the exploding hearts, spurting fountains of blood and unpleasant finishers, what do you have?

Nothing. In fact, you are stuck with an incredibly plain fighting game that (a) doesn't do itself any favours by not using the standard Genesis control scheme for a fighting game and (b) has no hidden secrets to divulge in or to strive for. Firstly, if you've never played a normal Genesis fighter, then you'll know little about point (a). Well, the simple three button layout with A being the weakest attack and C being the strongest, which is perfect for beginners and experts, has been axed and replaced with a disorganised system which makes playing Primal Rage an unnecessary complication. Normal special moves which consist of a quarter arc forward/backward etc. are now something which most players would find completely alien. It's a beautiful example of the old Chinese proverb: If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Now, remember when Mortal Kombat started to take the piss with all of those palette-swapped ninjas? Well, Primal Rage wrote the damn book on taking the piss (Quite literally when you finally see Blizzard's fatality!). Out of the seven fighters available, only three of them don't have an identical twin! Now, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 had like four or five Sub-Zero/Scorpion rip offs, but at least they actually had different stances and moves! Primal Rage has Chaos and Blizzard, two apes which move in the exact same way (they even have the same victory and death poses!) They do similar things with the characters Sauron and Diablo, two T-Rexes who are practically identical. Thankfully, we also have some cooler characters such as the speedy raptor, the token lightweight character, Amadon, the token heavyweight character and Vertigo, the token “character that nobody uses because he's too specialised” character.

Primal Rage takes your chosen character through a mission of conquest as he rampages through the world, taking over various areas which are guarded by other dinosaurs. Remember on Street Fighter 2 when you fought Bison or when you first got to Shao Kahn on MK3? You actually felt that coming face to face with an unplayable/unlockable character really meant something! Like it was almost as important as ending a global conflict or solving world hunger. Primal Rage has nothing but a scoreboard after you kill the last enemy, you have no secret boss characters or any additional treats. You're simply told your score and a “Thank You For Playing” message. (They're thanking me?? Is this some kind of sick joke?)

With gameplay that's prehistoric for 1995 and lack of any variation whatsoever, Primal Rage is something that's best left buried. Even listening to Was (Not Was) while playing doesn't make this game cool! And they even made the Super Mario Bros. movie worth watching! That alone is a testament about how crap this game is! After that brief experiment, I knew this game had no chance of having anything enjoyable within its murky depths.

So, the moral of the story is: I'd rather listen to cheesy 80's New Wave than play Primal Rage.

Yeah, it's that bad.

goldenvortex's avatar
Community review by goldenvortex (May 19, 2007)

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