Primal Rage

Infobox VG
title = Primal Rage

developer = Atari Games
publisher = Atari Games
designer =
release = 1994
genre = 2D Versus fighting
modes = 2 players, playing simultaneously
cabinet = Upright
ratings = ESRB: Teen
arcade system = Atari GT System
cpu = Motorola 68EC020 (@ 25 MHz)
sound = TI TMS32031 (@ 33 MHz)
(4x) DMA-driven DAC
display = Raster resolution 336x240 (Horizontal) Many Colors
input = Joystick, 4 buttons
platforms = Arcade

"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.


In "Primal Rage", a meteor strike has devastated the earth; 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. Among these are giant mutated apes, and reptiles that have regressed on the evolutionary scale back into dinosaur-like beasts.

Out of their ranks emerge seven creatures 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 personal gain. These creatures have otherworldly or supernatural abilities and each is said to represent a different aspect of nature i.e. life and death, fire and ice; and they are considered to be a "god" of their respective sphere. There are four "Virtuous Gods" and three "Evil Gods" (although these terms are presumably relative, since the character Sauron is counted as "good" despite being described as "constantly hungry" and a destructive tyrant).


"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 to you 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.

While fighting, human tribesman will move in the background and worship their gods during battle. This allows for the creatures to toss them around or devour some to regain strength (eating your opponent's worshipers grants more health than eating your own). Prior to the final battle a mini game commences in which you are required to eat as many worshipers as possible to increase your 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 you and your adversary.

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 of 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. Some were more Easter Eggs than fatalities, such as Chaos's 'Churl'.


The Virtuous Beasts

*Armadon: A ceratopsian dinosaur, and the God of Life, Armadon is a Virtuous Beast and fights to defend Urth and prevent its destruction. His genetic makeup appears to be part "Chasmosaurus" and "Ankylosaurus". The tail tip is a combination of the "Ankylosaurus" tail club and a "Stegosaurus" thagomizer. Armadon has the easiest combos.

*Blizzard: Blizzard is one of two ape-beasts, the God of ice. 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, and his animal power, age-old wisdom and freezing projectile moves make him almost unstoppable.

*Sauron: The first of the two "Tyrannosaurus rex" dino-beasts also being the tallest character and God of Hunger, 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 is in fact one of the Virtuous Beasts, though the anti hero of the group. He can dish out the most damage of all the dino-beasts. His "Sonic Roar" is an energy beam utilized in a manner akin to Godzilla's nuclear breath and cast an energy shield as an offensive attack known as the "Primal Scream".

*Talon: Talon is based on "Deinonychus"; he is the God of Survival. One of the Virtuous Beasts, Talon is the patriarch of a huge family of raptors 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, making him a favourite among many. Talon is also the shortest character, and numerous ranged attacks by taller enemies will simply miss him.

The Destructive Beasts

*Chaos: The second of the two ape-beasts, and the God of Decay, Chaos was formerly a scientist/witch doctor, transformed into his current state by accident. Chaos is an Evil Beast and is the crudest 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 geyser of acidic urine) was deemed so disgusting that the game was pulled from the market and replaced with a version lacking this fatality. When defeated, he yells out "No!" before collapsing, making him the only god to speak any English in the game.

*Diablo: Diablo is one of the two "Tyrannosaurus rex" dino-beasts, and God of Evil. 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 Evil Beasts.

*Vertigo: Vertigo is a unique beast based on a king cobra and a "Sellosaurus", Goddess of Insanity. She is one of the Evil Beasts and is the only female dino-beast available. She has the longest reach. The storyline of the game states that her imprisonment in the moon forced the other dino-beasts into suspended animation until the meteor impact. Vertigo is absent from the Game Boy version.


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 distanced attack which drags the opponent near and breathes fire like Scorpion. Talon has a flying kick resembling Liu Kang's. 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. Fact|date=August 2007

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.


As with other bloody U.S. based fighting titles of the time (most notably "Mortal Kombat"), "Primal Rage" sparked considerable controversy due to its extreme violence, depicting gory fatalities and the live devouring of humans. The game has been withdrawn, re-programmed and re-released numerous times. 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. [ [ Video Game Sound Engineers Interview ] ] Rovella was so outraged she not only returned the game, but also launched a grass-roots campaign. As part of this, the finishing move was infamously censored on the Super Nintendo version by removing the fatality, displaying a no symbol at the top of the screen if it is attempted.


The 3DO version is said to be the most accurate version to the arcade, while the PC versions have scaled down character models. The Sony PlayStation version is missing animations while the Saturn has smaller character models. The console predecessors are scaled down to fit the needs of running on the hardware.


Primal Rage 2

By 1995 Atari had began 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, therefore 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 Slash Fang, a prehistoric fighter taking the form of a Smilodon, and Necrosan, a living dragon skeleton, who was previously axed from the first game.

The storyline 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.

Primal Rage: The Avatars

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, "Primal Rage: The Avatars", written by John Vornholt, was published by Boulevard Books. The book's plot tells about what happened to the dino gods 65 million years ago, and then moves into the main story of the gods' reign on Urth renewed, but then the beast Necrosan appears.The book focuses as well on fleshing out the world of "Primal Rage", and does so by bringing "the Avatars" to the forefront of the story, they being the humans chosen by their respective gods to channel their awesome might. Each human character has his or her own personalities, often reflecting the gods themselves.

A number of details to the backstory of "Primal Rage" are made clear in "The Avatars". According to John Vornholt's novel the events in "Primal Rage" take place in the year 1000 AC (After Cataclysm) or about the year 3000 AD according to the Gregorian calendar. The battles of the dinosaurs are referred to as "The Primal Rage". In the novel, the spell used to imprison the dinosaur gods is called the Bonds of Forbidding. Necrosan the skeletal dragon (who is referred to as Necronus on the introductory page) reactivates the Bonds of Forbidding to entrap the gods.


'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 and Xbox.


* [ Primal Rage Instruction manual]
* [ Victar's Primal Rage FAQ] (Site does not allow direct links to individual FAQs.)

External links

*KLOV game|id=9124
*moby game|id=/primal-rage

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