Friends, by the time that Atari Games developed and produced Primal Rage in 1994 – the likes of Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat had firmly staked their claims as being the top arcade fighting franchises to beat. As I have shared on the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast in the past – during that time while we were lucky enough to have an arcade in my neck of the woods – it was a pale comparison to the glory days of the local ShowBiz Pizza. While only possessing around 20 or so games – it was here where I first truly dipped my toe into the fighting game genre… and it would be an absolute lie if I didn’t admit that I was truly horrible at them.
Having said that, while I might have walked away from the Street Fighter series, the characters and lore of Mortal Kombat has kept me faithful to that franchise to this very day.
So you will understand the reason why back in 1994, when I first stepped up to Primal Rage at that little arcade, that I harbored no hopes of doing any better than with the likes of Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter II, Fatal Fury, Virtua Fighter, and others. I ponied up my two tokens and had my first taste of the lore for the game – an asteroid smashes into the Earth and causes ecological devastation – and the awakening of seven prehistoric creatures that had until then laid dormant deep within the planet. Civilization as we know it collapses into a new stone age and these emerging creatures become worshiped as living Gods – to fight over and rule this new ‘Urth’.
Very much to my surprise, I was quite good at Primal Rage – in particular a velociraptor called Talon – who along with Blizzard, Armadon, and Sauron represent the virtuous creatures of New Urth. With Diablo, Chaos, and Vertigo being the living embodiment of decay, insanity, evil – avatars of destruction. Just like with Mortal Kombat I was really drawn to the lore and characters of Primal Rage – so much so that I bought the comic book mini-series as well as the 1997 novel entitled Primal Rage: The Avatars.
Imagine my delight when a fan of the Diary podcast was kind enough to send me the link to this 1994 Making of Primal Rage video – which goes into a bit of the stop-motion animation that helped make the arcade game stand out!
Do you have any memories of playing Primal Rage back in the day?