Review by KasketDarkfyre

"I stand corrected. This is the third good-looking version."

Primal Rage has been thrown across several platforms and finally, I get to the Saturn version of the game and find that it follows suit as being one of the better versions of the game though it doesn’t compare to the Jaguar and 3DO version. With some interesting visual effects, wicked game play and decent, thumping audio, it really is hard to find things wrong with this title. However, you’ll find that Primal Rage is a fighting game that is built with simplicity in mind and little else going for it until you start getting into the intense battles and have a hard time getting the more difficult special attacks off.

-The Game Play-

It's not the most scientific of fighting games, with the moves being laid out for you on the control panel, but it is rather fun to pound someone into the ground using attacks that range from fire and ice to toxic venom and even the occasional fart of death! Primal Rage takes a twist for the gruesome when you put the Domination Moves into effect, which are more or less brutal finishing moves ala Mortal Kombat. There is nothing like whizzing on your opponent and watching the flesh melt away, leaving a pile of bones in its place! The challenge of the game is to be able to make it through all of the opponents and not get yourself killed in the process. This can either be very easy, or very hard depending on the strategy and combinations that you use in play.

There are other options that you have during game play that really offer the gamer something slightly different such as eating human beings in order to regain health and using cheap tactics to win the match! These small things do not take away from the basic fact that this is a game you have seen before, and you will probably see again in the future if you’re really not character. Most of the complaints aren’t with the originality, but more with the mechanics of the game itself. The combination system really isn’t there and the combinations that you can learn take such reflexes and timing that you have to literally be jacked into the system in order to get them all off smoothly. I think after about twenty hours of play, I was able to perform one of Blizzards combinations, but it’s a small one and I haven’t been able to perform another yet!

Weak and Strong punches and kicks as well as a block button to round out your control set. The special moves take a little practice, but really the only moves that need the most practice are the Domination Moves. Learn those, and you'll have a hell of a time bash and mashing your opponents! Other than that, the control is easy enough to learn, and like it said before, the special moves are all laid out for you to practice. What the problem here is that the Saturn controller can be stiff, much like other systems, when it comes to fighting games that you have to learn precise control for. Some of the special moves require diagonal direction movements and with the Saturn control, you’ll find that actually getting that accomplished is next to impossible! If you have the three button control, you’ll also find that making the different moves happen takes more skill than any one beginner can hope to have and even a veteran of the game will have rough times when the battles become intense.

-The Visuals-

Primal Rage is well drawn and exceptionally well shaded; every character has a different style about them that can easily be seen. Special effects in the game really don't flash with much flare, but what special effect there are, do show! People flying into the air just before you eat them, noxious clouds of gas, and bloody chunks of flesh being ripped out and thrown around come through with plenty of style. The backgrounds were teeming with life and animation in the arcade version, but don’t be on the look out for that when you start playing, because it really is missing from this version of the game! Something that this version does have going for it over some of the other versions is that it was one the first Primal Rage games to offer the gamer the full effect of the Domination Moves. This was something of a selling point for most fighting game fans, but it quickly dies down because those moves are also strangely muted.

-The Audio-

As far as the audio goes for Primal Rage, all you have to listen to is some sort of primeval rock beat that matches the game, but doesn't really fit the mood. You have a ton of sound effects that range from people screaming as you scoop them up and eat them, down to the various explosions and guttural growls that you'll hear from the different characters! When you put all of this together, it doesn’t come across as a bad part of the game. However, when you compare it against high-end systems and even the arcade, it is rather small in comparison and even with the small sound effects, they are strangely muted as were all ports of this title.

-The Verdict-

Primal Rage is a game that is well worth having if you’re a Saturn owner and you’re into fighting games. With the lack of fighting games that are available, this title is one of those shining gems, regardless of the way that it has been butchered on other systems such as the Super Nintendo and the hand held systems. Some of the characters, some of the moves and even the overall theme of the game is something that can’t be taken for granted. Availability is limited save for E-Bay, but it’s well worth the money if you’re collecting games.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 10/02/02, Updated 10/02/02

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