The Fur Flies Again.
When it comes to displays of power, humans are pretty lame. When a lion gets territorial,
it roars. When an elephant charges, it trumpets. But what happens when most humans
are seriously threatened? They yell something impressive like, “Not in the face,
NOT IN THE FACE!” But that would all change if we had the power of Zoanthropes.
are Zoanthropes? Just check out Hudson’s Bloody Roar series to find out.
These powerful humans have the mysterious ability to transform into vicious
were-animals with abilities and strengths far beyond the reach of mortal men.
Throw them into a small fighting arena on the GameCube and you get Bloody
Roar: Primal Fury. This remake of the Playstation 2’s Bloody
Roar 3 takes a few strides in the right direction, but it still can’t quite
escape the confines of mammalian mediocrity.
For those of you new to Bloody Roar, here are the basics. You’ll choose
from 12+ characters and attempt to spank anyone that dares to stand in your
way. Each character has the power to transform into an animal form, giving them
even more moves, greater power, and self-healing abilities. It’s a simple setup
– just add animals and stir briskly.
If you’ve played Bloody Roar 3, you’ll immediately recognize a few improvements
before the fighting even begins. The game starts off with a sweet anime-style
intro that begs to be explored. Who are these guys fighting? What’s up with
the little kid? And why the heck do they keep showing Busuzima the Lizardman
crashing his motorcycle? Of course, it never really goes anywhere and the paltry
ten-second animated endings (without any vocal audio, no less) do nothing for
the story (which also doesn’t make much sense). I would have loved to see a
full-bodied animated short as the reward for passing the game. So close, yet
The number of modes has increased. Besides the basic Arcade, Versus, Survival,
and Training modes that were found in Bloody Roar 3, Primal Fury
sets you up with a Team Battle and Time Attack mode. Nothing terribly original,
but at least it’s something.
Primal Fury‘s best addition, however, is a fresh look augmented by
a solid framerate. The graphics have been cleaned up considerably since moving
over to the GameCube and you’ll notice right away that the characters and arenas
look as smooth as butter. Nice lighting effects and clean edges show a marked
improvement. Pull it all together with 60 frames per second and we’ve got a
very pretty fighter.
the previous installment, beating the game will yield plenty of stuff. In addition
to some very cool unlockable characters (including a penguin and an elephant),
you’ll also be able to open up a
few goofy cheats like the super-deformed Kids mode and the ever-popular
Big Head mode. Actually, there are a lot of things to open up each time you
complete the game (Big Arm mode, COM Battle, and more) – it’s just too bad none
of it is very exciting. I’ll give them a star for trying, though.
While it’s nice to see some improvements in the graphics and extras, the run-of-the-mill
gameplay has remained largely unchanged. The fighting system is littered with
button-mashing combos that ultimately ends up being a little shallow. Getting
stuck in a corner is a recipe for disaster and knowing when to transform still
can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Considering the interesting
animal transformation theme, it’s a shame that the actual meat is so skimpy.
The fighting arenas follow in the gameplay’s footsteps and remain small, uninspired
squares. Even the “interactive and destructible multi-level arenas” are few
and far between. Besides, they usually just lead to a ‘ring out’ rather than
a new place to fight. The level design doesn’t even begin to come close to the
ones we’ve seen in Dead or Alive
and the attempt is really quite lame.
As the first real fighter to hit the GameCube, Bloody Roar: Primal Fury
is not bad. Playing with friends is good fun and there’s nothing like stomping
on a massive lion with a little penguin. Some of the old skin has been shed
to reveal a fresh look, but this prizefighting animal is still a few hairballs
away from becoming a champion.