Primal Rage



Title           Primal Rage
Game Type       Beat-em-Up
Publisher       Time Warner
Players         1 or 2
Compatibility   AGA
HD Installable  No
Submission      Tom Waddington (tom@waddie.org.uk)

Review
Primal Rage is a beat-`em-up based on the hit Atari coin-op and it has
dinosaurs in it. Of course, being a hit coin-op doesn't necessarily make
it a good game, lots of crap coin-ops have been hits. Galaxian, say.
However, since I have never played the coin-op, it doesn't really affect
my opinion either way.

Oddly enough, having dinosaurs in it doesn't make it a bad game.

The conversion has been handled by Probe Entertainment via the Sega
Megadrive version, the same team that handled the Mortal Kombat and Mortal
Kombat 2 conversions. Perhaps for that reason it feels very similar to
those games. The graphics have all been rescaled and colour-reduced from
the digitised arcade originals and although they look bland when still, in
the middle of a fight they look fine.

The dinosaur theme makes the characters more easily classified than in
most beat-`em-ups, and they behave much more like they look like they
should than most, without needing extensive biographies. Thus, the one
facet that could be considered the game's main weakness (how are you
supposed to identify with a thirty foot lizard?) turns out to be a great
strength; if you prefer a fast and nippy fighter to a lumbering brute it's
easy to select the right one without extensive testing and manual reading.

The sound is fairly standard for this sort of thing; some meaty thuds and
crunches and a few annoying tunes. It doesn't exactly add to the
atmosphere, but neither does it it detract from the game.

The control system is also very similar to Mortal Kombat's, involving lots
of joystick waggling and button pressing. It supports two fire buttons,
which makes things a little easier, and you do get used to it, especially
if you stick to a single character, but pulling off the more powerful
moves is very difficult against the computer on higher difficulty levels;
by the time you've managed an A-U-T-T-T-D-F2-D you've been beaten to a
pulp. Still, they're more easily achieved than those in the Amiga port of
Street Fighter 2, for instance.

In fact, the Mortal Kombat influences are apparent throughout: Fatality
moves, gore and digitised graphics. I suspect Probe took a few liberties
with the conversion so they could make better use of their experience with
the Mortal Kombat games. This is no bad thing, though; the Mortal Kombat
games were great.

A major pain is that the game comes on four disks and although it does
recognise a second disk drive, it can't be installed to a hard drive and
there isn't yet a WHDLoad or JST patch. The number of disk swaps is kept
to a minimum but obviously you can expect to be shuffling them around a
fair bit and it does break up the flow of the game.

I'm not a huge fan of the beat-`em-up genre, but I really enjoyed this
game. There are a plethora of combos and special moves to discover for the
hardcore fans and the basic moves and simpler specials are all easy enough
to use to make it playable for the casual gamer. All in all, a worthy
game. When an HD installer turns up it will be just about perfect.




Category list.

Alphabetical list.