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Primal Rage

Primal Rage

Primal Rage

Primal Rage is a versus fighting game developed and released by Atari Games to arcades in 1994. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic version of Earth called "Urth." 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 maneuvers.

Various ports were released for home consoles and personal computers. Efforts to perfectly emulate the arcade original have as yet been unsuccessful, due to an unusual copy protection method developers used.

Toys, comics, a novel and other merchandise tie-ins were also produced. A sequel to the game, Primal Rage II, was close to completion, but never released.

Primal Rage Plot

A massive meteor strike has devastated the planet Earth. Human civilization comes to an end in the ensuing cataclysms, and humanity regressed into tribes of Stone Age dwellers. Primordial rainforest has covered the land, and the continental landmass has shifted into the shape of a fire-breathing dinosaur skull. The planet is now primitively referred to as "Urth" by the survivors of the cataclysms.

Seven fearsome creatures emerge from their slumber deep within the Urth's crust, and become worshiped as gods by the humans, who form segregated clans beneath the ones they worship. The beasts themselves are divided 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. The Primal Rage trading cards that were distributed along with the toyline presented each creature as a god of an aspect of nature, as in life and death, fire and ice. There are four of the good Virtuous gods and three evil Destructive gods. The character Sauron, God of Hunger, is marked as a "Virtuous Beast" despite the fact that his in-game ending displays an image of him devouring humans. In fact, the creatures eating humans is a basic part of the gameplay.

Primal Rage 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 three 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. Two human-controlled characters can trigger an easter egg of human volleyball, by keeping worshipers off the ground and batting them back and forth.

Unlike most fighting games, where the 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" in 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.


The Virtuous Beasts

The following are the good heroes that make up this group:

Armadon (known as Spike in the proto version) - The God of Life. Armadon fights to defend Urth and prevent its destruction from the hands of the Evil gods. He is a semi-bipedal dinosaur with Styracosaurus-like head and limbs, a series of spikes in his back, spikes on his knees, 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 domain is the Hollows and his worshipers appear dressed in light green rags.

Blizzard (known as Kong in the proto version) - 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 resemble Mortal Kombat's Sub-Zero focusing on the manipulation of ice and cold. Blizzard is listed as the leader of the Virtuous Beasts, and his animal power, age-old wisdom and freezing projectile moves make him a powerful character. His species is "Apsidius". His domain is the Cliff, and his worshipers wear blue.

Sauron - The God of Hunger. Resembling a large Tyrannosaurus, he has the most damaging moves 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 species is "Taranodon". 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 domain is the Cove, and his worshipers are clad in purple clothing.

Talon - The God of Survival. Talon is based on a Deinonychosauria. His species is "Velocisaurus". 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 domain is the Strip, and his worshipers are dressed in gray.

The Destructive BeastsThe following are the evil villains that make up this group:

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. Chaos is known as the crudest and most vile of all beasts, with moves that involve farting and vomiting at his opponents. 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. His domain is the Ruins and his worshipers appear dressed in yellow. His species is "Apsidius".

Diablo - The God of Evil and destruction. Diablo resembles a red Tyrannosaurus. This flame-spewing demonic dinosaur wishes to reduce Urth into a nightmarish, magma-filled hell, where he will indulge in his desire to torment all living beings on the planet for all 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 domain is the Inferno, and his worshipers are covered in red clothes. His species is "Taranodon".

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 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 stripping every single human of all individuality and free will. Her domain is the Tomb, which resembles Stonehenge, and her worshipers dress in cyan. Her species is "Cobronicus".

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