Friday, 9 December 2016

SNES review 106: Primal Rage

As a kid I absolutely loved Dinosaurs, I liked everything about them, there size there power the fact that there were so many different types it just blew my mind, you can imagine when I discovered transformers and met the dinobots I thought life could not get any better than getting to see big dumb robotic Dinosaurs pulling Decepticon planes out of the sky, breathing fire and generally wrecking things.

Life as a youngster was very much a sequence of finding one thing after another that would grab your attention and make the days seem better and better another of these things when I was slightly older was Street Fighter 2 and the other various one on one fighting games which followed in its wake. A lot of the games of this type for awhile seemed to fall in to one of two camps either those that tried to keep looking sort of anime inspired (Street fighter, Art of Fighting, etc) and those that attempted to look as real as possible the most famous and the one that started that kind of trend being Mortal Kombat. So you can imagine how excited my tiny little mind was when there began to be news that a game called Primal Rage was being developed for the Arcade by Atari and that it would be a versus fighting game featuring Dinosaurs... and what is more not cartoon Dinosaurs but ones done in a very MK looking style so that they would look as real as possible, it was going to be Mortal Kombat but with Dinosaurs instead of Ninja's this was just mind blowing to all of us back then, it was like one of those kind of dream video game ideas you would come up with when talking to your friends the sort of thing you'd spend a whole day chatting about but then sigh knowing it would never be made yet here we were all met with the announcement of what we saw as pretty much MK Dino Wars (yeah there made by different companies and not related but look at it through a sugar high prepubescent pre-internet filter and it makes sense).

So Primal Rage has a bit of a story and it goes like this You are on a post-apocalyptic version of Earth called "Urth". On Urth Dinosaurs (and a giant monkey) are battling each other to determine the fate of the planet..... This plot made the game appeal to me even more because lets face it plot wise it is basically a B-movie, on Paper this sounds like a recipe for gold a Dinosaur featuring, B-Movie plot owning one on one realistic looking beat em up what could go wrong?

Players control one of seven large beasts that battle each other to determine the fate of the planet. Matches feature many of the conventions of fighting games from the era, including special moves and gory finishing manoeuvrers. Various ports were released for home consoles and personal computers but I am obviously talking about the SNES version, as far as I remember they wernt really that different but I haven't looked at any of them before writing this to verify that, I just seem to remember them all being pretty much the same. Sure this wasn't the first time a game was on everything of course but it did seem to be everywhere and get a big push.

Now I have to start with the games graphics because these were pushed as being a big selling part of the game and in total honesty they were pretty darn cool for the time and in all fairness I still think they don't look bad, they certainly could have aged a lot worse. The backgrounds are good, and so are the sprites, they are close enough to the arcade that if you go from the arcade version to the home yes there might be some differences but not enough that the average person will really care. The game has a real sense of depth yes its a 2D game but somehow it feels like a real world with depth. Unfortunately, there is one real issue here and that is the fact that a lot of the dinosaurs/combatants kind of resemble each other, I think that there could be a lot more favourite and its a shame I have to say that when there is only 7 of them, if there were more fighters and some of them were just sort of pallet swaps it would be a lot less of an issue for me.

Oh I have to stop and mention one of the little things I really love, there are human worshippers who run around in the background, you see them at times get thrown around and even eaten it is kind of awesome. On the other side though the game tends to have a sort of sluggish feel which I think is down at least in part to its frame rate.
I will just quickly touch upon the games sound to say that it is OK, there are a few decent beats and the odd roar you would expect but it could be so much better its just all so average.

It is really the gameplay where Primal Rage falls down, its not that its a bad game, its more that it is an average game which just needed more polish, it feels kind of hollow and unbalanced and I am afraid that on machine with games such as Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat it just feels poor in comparison. Certain characters seem to have moves which have a much better reach than others and its quiet easy to win by being cheap, the combo system seems pretty poor if you want to see a combo you kind of feel like you need to bang the buttons so fast that you cant really learn what you are doing .

I would give this game a 5 out of 10 and just say that it is very very average, sure you could do worse but you could also do a lot better. I got my copy from a market for £3 and that felt like a pretty reasonable price for it.. having looked online if your after it you can typically look at spending about £5 for a loose cart if you should spend that or not probably depends how you feel about average games.

1 comment:

  1. I had it on the 3DO which was meant to be one of the more "advanced" editions of the game...and I hated it! Like you, I love dinosaurs and the idea of a dinosaur fighting game was amazing but as a fighting game, it sucked. Personally I found it to be too clunky and stiff. Enemy CPU (on the 3DO version at least) was also pretty cheap and not fun to slug it out against.