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Primal Rage (CD)
Atari Jaguar CD
by The Big Bad Wolf
You start with a Primal Rage screen with a few bits of music and sound effects. It looks *exactly* like the arcade opening screen. Afterwards, if there is no input the Primal Rage history/intro screen opens up with the Catastrophe ... "Who will rule the new Urth?". Then you come to a demo screen. Graphics and movement look arcade perfect. Hit any button and you come to a Languages screen. Hit English and you come to the start menu. There is a start game, Ingame options, Other Options, statistics, and a menu back to the Languages screen.
The Start Game option takes you to another menu, which offers Arcade mode, 1 Player Training Mode, 2 Player game mode, Tug of War mode, and endurance mode. Ingame options include number of credits of play, number of rounds, round time, difficulty and 2 player handicaps. Other Options allow you to reset the highscores, reset defaults, a music test, gore on/off, and control modification.
Arcade mode is the traditional 1 player arcade mode.
1 Player training allows you to pick which dinosaur to fight.
2 Player game mode is just that, arcade game with 2 players.
Tug of war is a 2 player mode in which you don't have separate life/health bars, but one big one, in which it decreases or increases in your favor. There is no time limit in this mode.
Endurance mode is a 2 player mode in which you pick a number of dinosaurs you want to play and the 2nd player picks a number of dinosaurs he/she wants to play and they both battle it out until 1 or 2 runs out of dinosaurs.
Very good, very sharp. Character movement is arcade perfect and execution of special moves is as well. The character sprites are a little smaller than the arcade, but doesn't impede play at all. In only a very few instances do the backgrounds look 'white-washed', most notably in Talon's background. Otherwise, the characters and backgrounds look very very good and true to the arcade. Arcade peculiarities such as the anti-cheese routine is there and so are combos. Although I'm not one of those 56,000 hit combo people, combo performance seems to be unimpeded. I haven't seen the 'lightning' that strikes whenever you get some ridiculous number of hits for a combo, but I'm sure fighting game savant will get this soon enough.
Sound effects are very crisp. When I turn up the volume, I can hear the roars and the 'crunch' in my chest. I couldn't detect any sort of 'panning stereo' effect, though. Then again, I couldn't hear that in the arcade either. The music is there and seems to be exactly what they used in the arcade.
Awesome! This captures the original game's playability and adds to it with the different playmodes. Although, since it's been a while I've been in the arcades I haven't tried out the fatalities, having long forgotten them. The characters look well balanced and the computer AI learns from the past. Better not employ the same tactics next time, or you're toast.
What I didn't like:
The load times. I'm betting load times trouble will be hitting the other NextGen consoles for Primal Rage as well.
They would have received all 10s were it not for the load times. So if you're looking for a nextgen looking game for the Jaguar, stop your looking because THIS IS IT!
One question though: What version of Primal Rage is this? I know there were 2 versions, with the 2nd version having more fatalities, special moves and other enhancements. From what I can see, it seems to be the first version (presence of purple 'hit' sparks missing). Anyone know the scoop?
-Keith C. Estanol, "Big Bad Wolf"
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