Torture of the prehistoric variety bites in the form ofPrimal Rage

There are some released video game series that make even the most seasoned and hardened gamer question their purpose. These series take everything loved about the genre they inhabit and turn it into a mockery, held up for consumption, laughter and disgrace. Primal Rage, a slovenly depiction of dinosaurs battling for supremacy, is such a travesty that it’s a wonder that gaming never went the way of, well, the dinosaurs because of it.

There isn’t a single portion of Primal Rage that isn’t a mess: the story, the graphics, the music, the controls. All of it is a nightmare in the form of a fighting game that was meant to somehow complete the Sisyphean task of competing with Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct at the time. Don’t worry, it fails miserably, just in time to see the rock that is decency roll back down the hill.

The controls play like a drunk adult trying to steer a child’s Power Wheels vehicle on his block in the dead of night: You might be able to move and hit something if you’re lucky. The moves are stiff and play just like you’d expect stop motion to play: Horribly. There are better examples of stop motion fighting games (see Mortal Kombat’s Goro and all of the Clayfighter series) so why this plays so terribly, I’m not sure. All that I know is, I attempted moves and sometimes things happened and sometimes they didn’t.

The graphics are just as stiff as the gameplay. The dinosaurs look stilted, though their color palettes and details aren’t bad. The background animation, though, is awful. It consists of things that are supposed to be people running around worshiping the various dinos as gods. Or something like that. And that’s about as much as I know about the story, as well. Supposedly, there’s a story in there somewhere that involves a cataclysm, gods awakening and eating followers while battle for supremacy over “Urth.” I didn’t give it much thought back in the day when this was fresh in the arcades, not when I could play something much better in the form of MK or Street Fighter and not have to worry about dinosaurs’ precision in pulling off combos and finishing moves.

And don’t remind me that I’ve actually attempted to play this and tried to finish an opponent. I blame MK for the foolishness of copycats that thought having “finishing moves” were the recipe for success. It wasn’t and it doesn’t make your game worth a damn, either. At this point, I am so tired of hackneyed knockoffs based on “killing” your opponent that don’t offer anything in the way of story, graphics or entertainment beyond gore and silliness. It wasn’t cute way back in 1993 and 1994, and it isn’t cute now. Primal Rage was an abysmal excuse to attempt to make money then, and I’m glad it will never be allowed to be unearthed as something viable again.

 

Lyndsey Hicks is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She can be reached by email at lyndseyh@gaminginsurrection.com