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Primal Rage
Primal Rage flyer.jpg
North American arcade flyer
Developer(s) Atari Games
Probe (Home Consoles)
Publisher(s) Atari Games
Time Warner (Home Consoles)
Platform(s) Arcade
Release date(s) JP 1994
NA 1994
EU 1994
Genre(s) 2D Versus fighting
Mode(s) 1-2 players, playing simultaneously
Rating(s) ESRB: T (Teen)
Input methods Joystick, 4 buttons
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system Atari GT System
CPU Motorola 68EC020 (@ 25 MHz)
Sound TI TMS32031 (@ 33 MHz)
(4x) DMA-driven DAC

Primal Rage is a versus fighting game developed and published by Atari Games in 1994 as an arcade video game. Toys, comics, and other merchandise tie-ins were also produced.

Contents

Storyline

In Primal Rage, a meteor strike has devastated the earth; technology has ceased to exist, civilization has been utterly reduced to rubble and humans have regressed into tribes of Stone Age dwellers. Into this new radiation-scarred world, primitively referred to as "Urth", primordial rainforest has covered the land and numerous new species have evolved.

Out of their ranks seven creatures emerge who wage war for control over the new world; they are torn between those who wish to keep peace on Urth, and those who attempt to plunge the world into further chaos for their own benefit. These creatures have otherworldly or supernatural abilities and each is said to represent a different aspect of nature, as in life and death, fire and ice; and they are considered to be a "god" of their respective sphere. There are four of the good Virtuous Gods and three evil Destructive Gods.

Categorizing the characters in this way was, in fact, a mistake that occurred during the development of the Primal Rage trading cards that were distributed along with the toyline. The character Sauron, God of Hunger, is marked as a "Virtuous Beast" despite the fact that his in-game ending (in which a bloody image of him devouring scores of humans is displayed) obviously depicts him as evil. Sauron was in fact meant to be neutral.[citation needed]

Gameplay

Primal Rage is a traditional two-dimensional fighting game in which two players select characters to battle each other in one-on-one combat, or a single player finishes a campaign of fights against the CPU over increasing difficulty. The final battle of the single player game consisted of fighting all the other CPU monsters with an increased power bar made available in a mini-game prior to the fight. A total of seven characters are available for players to select from (as listed below). Each character has his or her own specialized set of attack moves and abilities. In the game, the object is to deplete the opposing character's health meter as fast as possible. If "Game Gore" (an option on some consoles) is switched on, then a defeated character's heart will explode into a bloody mess and their brain will dissolve to ashes.

While fighting, human tribesmen will wander nearby and worship their gods during battle. This allows for the creatures to toss them around or devour some to regain strength (eating opponents' worshipers will add a bonus to one's score, while eating one's own will penalize the player). Prior to the final battle a mini game commences in which one is required to eat as many worshipers as possible to increase health for the endurance round. An easter egg of human volleyball could be triggered by keeping worshipers off the ground batting them back and forth between characters. This is only feasibly possible when both characters are human-controlled, as the CPU is not programmed to interact in this fashion.

Unlike most fighting games, where special moves are performed by moving the joystick, followed by pressing one or more buttons, Primal Rage features a system where the player holds down certain buttons, then performs the joystick movements. Later revisions of the arcade game added the ability to perform "special moves" the more traditional way, with motion followed by button presses, but kept the original method as well. After the opponent is defeated, a brief moment is allowed for the player to perform a fatality that finishes the adversary in a more dramatic fashion; these were performed in a similar manner to the special moves. Although all characters feature three finishing moves, some of them were more Easter Eggs than fatalities, such as Vertigo's "La Vache Qui Rit" (french for "the laughing cow"), a fatality in which Vertigo transforms her opponent into a cow, which moos and runs away.

Characters

The Virtuous Beasts

  • Armadon: The god of life. Armadon fights to defend Urth and prevent its destruction from the hands of the Evil Gods. He's a bipedal dinosaur with centrosaurus-like head and limbs, a series of spikes in his back, and a tail whose tip is a combination of an Ankylosaurus' tail club and a Stegosaurus' thagomizer. According to the description on the package for Armadon's action figure, his species is "Tristegasauratops." Armadon has the easiest combos, but has a short reach. His worshipers appear dressed in light green rags.
  • Blizzard: the god of good and virtue. Blizzard is one of two ape-like beasts. He was frozen in a glacier for millennia and was released by the meteor. He lived high up in the mountain and descended to the ground when threatened. A noble and heroic yeti-like beast, Blizzard wishes to undo the damage caused to Urth by both the meteor and the warring gods. Many of his abilities focus around the manipulation of ice and cold. Blizzard is the leader of the Virtuous Beasts[citation needed], and his animal power, age-old wisdom and freezing projectile moves make him a powerful character. His worshipers wear blue.
  • Sauron: The god of hunger. Resembling a Tyrannosaurus, he can dish out the most damage of all the dino-beasts, but he's also the slowest. Sauron's immortality only lasts while he devours human flesh, as he suffers from an insatiable appetite. In spite of this, he is not evil, but the anti-hero of the group. His "Stun Roar" is an energy beam utilized in a manner akin to Godzilla's nuclear breath and his "Primal Scream" casts an energy shield as an offensive attack. His tail attacks are somewhat easier to use than his bites. His worshipers are clad in purple clothing.
  • Talon: The god of survival. Talon is based on Deinonychosauria. Talon is the patriarch of a huge family of similar dinosaurs and is fiercely protective of it. It is for their sake that he plunges into the war. Talon is the fastest character in the game and an excellent jumper. Talon is also the shortest character, and numerous ranged attacks by taller enemies will simply miss him. He is also the only character in the game who does not have a projectile attack. His worshipers are dressed in gray.

The Destructive Beasts

  • Chaos: The god of decay. The second of the two ape-beasts, Chaos was formerly a scientist/witch doctor that was transformed into his current state by accident and was forced to be imprisoned in his own filth for eons. Among the three Evil Gods, Chaos is an Evil Beast and is known as the crudest and nastiest of all dino-beasts, with moves like "Fart of Fury" and "Power Puke". His "Golden Shower" fatality (where Chaos dissolves the flesh from his victim with a jet of acidic urine) was deemed so disgusting that the game was pulled from the market and replaced with a version with this fatality censored.[citation needed] His worshipers appear dressed in yellow.
  • Diablo: The god of evil and destruction. Diablo, like Sauron, is a Tyrannosaurus. This flame-spewing demonic dinosaur wishes to reduce Urth into a nightmarish, magma-filled Hell where he wishes to indulge in his desire to torment the souls on the planet for eternity. He is nearly identical to Sauron's graphic model, albeit somewhat smaller and with a different color scheme. Diablo is quick on his feet and is an excellent distance fighter but is somewhat weak in close range. He is the leader of the Destructive Beasts, and hopes to burn the whole world in flames for all time. His worshipers are covered in red clothes.
  • Vertigo: The goddess of insanity. Vertigo, a unique beast based with a body resembling that of a dromaeosaurid dinosaur and a neck and head resembling a King Cobra. She is one of the Evil Destructive Beasts and is the only female dino-beast available. She has the longest reach. The storyline of the game states that her imprisonment on the Moon forced the other dino-beasts into suspended animation until the meteor impact. Vertigo plans to enslave the entire planet forever by making humans into a slave race. Her worshipers dress in cyan.

Homage

As originally printed in an issue of GamePro in 1995, there is evidence to suggest that each character is a tongue-in-cheek reference to a fighter from the original Mortal Kombat. The individual traits, personality, and special moves of each character resemble those of a counterpart in the Mortal Kombat lineup. Armadon's power of electricity is like Raiden. Blizzard has freezing attacks that disable the opponent like Sub-Zero. Diablo has a fatality where he breathes fire on the opponent which burns their skin, leaving a skeleton like Scorpion. Talon's aerial kick resembles Liu Kang's flying kick. Sauron has moves which produce shadows, similar to Johnny Cage. Vertigo fits the lone female character producing ring-shaped projectiles similar in nature to Sonya. Finally, the barbaric nature and cannonball move of Chaos is comparable to Kano.[citation needed]

Also, the concept of two fighters sharing near identical appearances (in this case, Sauron and Diablo, or Chaos and Blizzard) resembles that of Scorpion and Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat. A similar technique was applied to Ken and Ryu of Street Fighter II.

This game was tributed in the "Game Over" episode of Dexter's Laboratory, in which Dee Dee and Dexter play a Primal Rage parody, "Primal Fighter". Dexter's character of choice was a Sauron-lookalike, while Dee Dee favored the Blizzard lookalike.

Controversy

As with other bloody U.S. based fighting titles of the time (most notably Mortal Kombat), Primal Rage sparked considerable controversy due to its violence level, depicting gory fatalities and the live devouring of humans. Though it was a bloody game, Primal Rage was rated "T" for Teen, yet that did not stop its critics from lumping it together with the Mature rated gore fest Mortal Kombat. To appease the critics, the game was withdrawn, re-programmed and re-released several times. Later arcade incarnations of "Primal Rage" included a "Gore/No Gore" toggle switch which, when flipped to the "No Gore" setting, disabled the use of Fatalities, the eating of humans, and all of the game's blood. Home console ports of "Primal Rage" retained all the of the game's original content however, which was more than enough to continue the controversy surrounding the game. According to Victar's Primal Rage FAQ (section 7.4) the June 1996 issue of GamePro confirms that Ellie Rovella of Gilbert, Arizona became enraged when her 11-year-old son bought and played Genesis' Primal Rage, using GamePro's strategy guide to execute Chaos' golden shower/urination fatality.[1] Rovella was so outraged she not only returned the game, but also launched a grass-roots campaign. Ironically the Super Nintendo version, in which the particular fatality was removed entirely, displaying a "No Cheeze!" symbol (a sign that was generally used to notify the player that he or she had performed an illegal combo) at the top of the screen if it was attempted, was also pulled from the shelves.

Legacy

By 1995 Atari had begun production of Primal Rage's sequel, simply titled Primal Rage 2. The game, however, was never released, due to low sales expectations and other production problems. In the storyline the original characters had been trapped and were unable to fight against one another directly, so they each selected a representative from their human worshippers to fight on their behalf. These representatives were given the ability to morph into their god's image. New gods were also set to make an appearance, such as Slashfang, a prehistoric fighter taking the form of a Smilodon, and Necrosan, a living dragon skeleton, who was previously axed from the first game. Although they never got featured in a finished game, these two creatures did get released as toys.

The storyline in Primal Rage 2 follows closely on the events chronicled in the first game, as it is revealed that the meteorite that once struck Urth is in fact an egg holding the dragonbeast Necrosan, a terrible monster bent on destroying Urth. To protect their world the gods unite against Necrosan, but are defeated in the ensuing battle and subsequently imprisoned in a state of semi-suspended animation. The gods then form human avatars for themselves and fight the minions of Necrosan to release them from their prison and battle Necrosan.

When Primal Rage 2 was cancelled, Atari allegedly felt it necessary to somehow present the story for the sequel in one form or another. Thus, in 1997, a novel called Primal Rage: The Avatars was released, written by John Vornholt.

Ports

PAL PlayStation cover

Primal Rage was ported to numerous platforms: PlayStation, 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, Sega 32X, Atari Jaguar CD, Sega Saturn, Amiga, Mega Drive/Genesis, Super Nintendo, Sega Game Gear, Game Boy and PC CD-ROM. The arcade version of Primal Rage is also included in Midway Arcade Treasures 2 for PS2, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube. A pirated port has been released for the Master System and only has 3 playable characters Chaos, Blizzard, and Sauron.

Although it has slightly smaller character sprites, the PC CD-ROM version is the most graphically accurate console port. The PlayStation version misses many of the animations and its characters have degraded color palettes. The Sega Saturn version also has missing animations. The 3DO and Jaguar CD versions have missing animations and watered-down graphics. The Amiga, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and handheld versions are all heavily scaled down to fit the needs of running on their specific hardware. The 32X version has slightly better, larger, and more colorful graphics than the Genesis version, but is still heavily scaled down.

There is a glitch in the PlayStation and Atari Jaguar CD versions. After choosing Sauron or Armadon, the game will go to the VS. screen, the load time will be longer than usual, and sometimes the two will have all of the additional frames that were cut due to console limitations, meaning smoother animation.[citation needed] If the game moves on to the next round, the animations will return to the edited versions. The Playstation's character select uses the full animations.

ROM encryption

The Primal Rage design team implemented an unusual and largely unknown security method into the arcade machine's coding that prevented the full features of the game from becoming active. As a result, the game has never been accurately emulated on any platform to this day.

Blood would be "censored" in that it would be colored a yellowish color with a brown shading. Also, fatalities could not be performed and many special moves were not available, most notably characters with "Pouncing" moves couldn't land on the victim (Sauron's leaping bone bash, Diablo's pulverizer, Chaos's flying buttocks slam). Another emulation problem was you could no longer chain attacks which greatly decreased the chance of performing a combo. In the original arcade version, it was possible to repeat attacks such as Diablo's low 1 and standing 3+4.

This affects all ports from Sega Genesis to 3DO, and even Midway Arcade Treasures 2 (Classics), which was expected to feature an arcade perfect rendition of the game, but provided a censored and incomplete version instead.

The original programming team has since moved on to other things. Some of the programmers have actually departed the electronic entertainment business altogether and could not be located for questioning regarding the game's security lock outs. Others who have been contacted expressed no interest in unlocking the ROM BIOS for freeware distribution or security corrections. Thus, no ROM exists for Primal Rage that is not censored in some way.

References

External links


Gaming

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Primal Rage

Developer(s) Atari
Publisher(s) Midway:
Arcade
Time Warner Interactive:
Ports
Release date Arcade:
1994 (NA)
Amiga:
1995 (EU)
Game Boy:
July 1995 (NA)
Sega Genesis:
1995 (NA)
Super Nintendo:
1995 (NA)
Atari Jaguar CD:
December 1995 (NA)
Genre 2D fighter
Mode(s) Single player
Versus
Age rating(s) N/A
Arcade
Amiga
Sega Mega Drive
ESRB: K-A
Game Boy
ESRB: T
Sega Genesis
Game Gear
Super Nintendo
Atari Jaguar CD
Sega 32X
3DO
Sega Saturn
PlayStation
Platform(s) Arcade
Amiga
Game Boy
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Genesis
Game Gear
Super Nintendo
Atari Jaguar CD
Sega 32X
3DO
Sega Saturn
PlayStation
Media 24 Megabit Cartridge
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Genesis
Super Nintendo
Compact disc
Atari Jaguar CD
3DO
Sega Saturn
PlayStation
Input Arcade:
8-Way Joystick, 4 Buttons
Sega Genesis 6 Button Controller
Super Nintendo Controller
Atari Jaguar Controller
3DO Controller
Sega Saturn Controller
PlayStation Controller
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

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