Potential. It's something that so many games have,
yet whether it's for one or a hundred reasons, so many games fail to reach it. Primal
Rage is one of those with a perfect concept, and some terrible execution. It should
be a classic, but instead, it's a sub-par, barely playable fighter with a goofy,
unmanageable control scheme.
Stop motion dinosaurs have taken over the world, and apparently,
the world's population couldn't fend off a meager eight of them. Now they've decided an
entire continent to themselves isn't enough, and they're going to war to take it all over
in sanctioned one-on-one battles. Someone also seems to be keeping track of rounds and
time. You tell them they ran out of time.
The major problem here is how loose this game plays. Hits seem to connect when they want,
the animation is too quick, and the beasts move too much when striking. The latter sounds
rather stupid, but unless you've studied this one, you'll never know just where an attack
is going. Most of the slashes and bites don't even look like they should damage anything.
Adding to the problems are the special moves. These require a ridiculous amount of
dexterity, requiring multiple buttons to be held down alongside the usual fighting game
motions. After years of other games in this genre, it's impossible for this to feel
natural. The fatalities, while worthwhile (you will NEVER forget the first time you pull
off the Golden Shower), are just as hard to get off.
It's also hard to understand how giant, flesh eating dinosaurs can qualify as bad
character design. Since the roster is so small, and there are two giant apes and two
Allosaurs, it's really less than that. You can spend the time learning the discrepancies;
it's just not worth it.
This 32X port suffers from a disappointing lack of color. The backgrounds have taken a
major hit. The size of the sprites remains just a little smaller than in the arcade
version, just with far less detail. All of the animation seems to be here, though it's
difficult to judge considering how fast these attacks go by. All of the music is here,
just toned down. It's recognizable, and it's a fair cartridge port. The roars and
sickening sound of flesh being ripped apart are here too.
As sad as it is, this is the best 2-D fighter on the console. It only earns that
distinction because the competition is so awful. Even if this was a perfect port, it would
be a perfect port of a terrible game. If you're a Primal Rage fan, there are
better versions out there, and you'll be happier there (PS One, Saturn).