Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Rage Of Dinosaurs

In 1994 the 2D fighter Primal Rage was developed by Atari Games (Probe on home consoles) and published by Atari (Time Warner on consoles.) First off, can 1994 qualify being called 'retro'? Well Sony's original Playstation is thought of by some (including myself) as being retro, so this slab of gaming brilliance does indeed. (Defining what is retro will always be argued in the same way nobody can ever agree on BEST OF lists, its all down to personal choice.)
Anyway onto the game. I didn't play a lot of this when it was released but recently got it bundled on one of those retro compilations (Midway Arcade Treasures 2 on Xbox) and I must say WOW! What a cool game and seriously good looking compared to some of the titles on offer back in '94. Playing it last night, I often caught myself forgetting to play properly simply in order to just ogle the screen. It really IS that nice looking.
I really love the story behind it too. Whereas other fighters like to confuse its audience with ludicrous, off the wall stories (Tekken im looking at YOU) Primal Rage has a neat straightforward clash between the Virtuous beasts and the Destructive beasts.

In camp virtuous we have -
Armadon - God of Life
Blizzard (giant ape)- God of Gooodness and Virtue
Sauron - God of Hunger (what a strange thing to be a god of?!?)
Talon (velociraptor)- God of Survival

And on the bad Destructive team we have -

Chaos - the charmingly sounding God of Decay
Diablo (T Rex) - God of Evil and Destruction
Vertigo - God of Insanity

Nit-Pickers will of course peg this as being just as ridiculous as anything Tekken has come up with, but NAY I say! Take away the god like statuses and all you have is an almighty scrap between two giant reptiles, which was always happening 60 million years ago.
Another cool thing are the cavemen/women supporters watching the prehistoric punch ups. They whoop it up and jump around clapping if their beast wins and with certain moves you can even bash them into the air with your giant tail or fist. No fun for the hapless cheerleader but a satisfying little extra for you and your dino.
Primal Rage is one the best 90's 2D fighters you can get and to have it for peanuts is a wonderful thing indeed. Praise be the God of games!
Oh and the games coolest dinosaurs? Without doubt its the two apes (Blizzard & Chaos) and Diablo, a fiery red T Rex. Awesomness!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Only Priest That Will Save Your Soul

Formed in Birmingham in 1968, the original metal Gods, Judas Priest have sold over 35 million albums. Make no mistake about it, thats a lot of kicked asses. First time I heard them was when I was 11 years old and my mother bought me a VHS video called Molotov Cocktail for Christmas. The tape featured four bands (Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, Fastway and Blue Oyster Cult) and had two songs by each. The Priest songs were 'Breaking The Law' and 'You've Got Another Thing Coming' and using the old cliche, they blew my tiny ears away. Melted the fleshy shells to the core!
It was Ozzy that I was the biggest fan of at the time but Judas Priest had no trouble in reaching Ozzy's level (even surpassing it over time) and I was a fan as soon as I heard them. That very first time. I remember swapping compilation music cassettes in school and some of the songs I fell in love with without having a clue who the bands were, the songs being so brilliant. I was later to discover that Judas Priest were the authors of most of them.
Curiously enough I never bought one of their albums in the early years. There were too many great bands coming onto the metal scene, and being still only a teenager in school my funds for heavy metal albums were somewhat limited. Of course I had seen the album designs for such classics as Screaming for Vengeance and Defenders Of The Faith, had a few of them sewn onto my obligatory denim jacket, but the first Judas Priest album I ever got was Ram It Down.

Photobucket Ram It Down album artwork

Songs like 'Heavy Metal', 'Blood Red Skies' and the awesome cover of Chuck Berry's 'Johhny B. Goode' from that album had me bouncing off the walls like a pitbull jacked up on amphetamine. And this isn't even one of their considered classics! Just imagine, if even a mediocre record (according to critics, I personally LOVE it!) can get me into such a delirious state, then think of what truly genius records like British Steel and Painkiller do to me? What an amazing band to keep coming up with such melodious slabs of heavy metal lovliness. Their only slip up occuring during those ill fated years when Ripper Owens replaced Rob Halford as frontman.
Not long ago I decided to get every Juda Priest album (including the Ripper ones) on CD and a mighty collection it is. I can play them back to back for days on end and still never get tired of the songs. Ditto the iPod. I can play Priest on shuffle and always a top tune will crop up. Im never thinking to myself, 'oh not this song again,' its always, 'bloody brilliant, love this song!'
There are not a lot of bands one could say that about. Few acts reach such heights, and even fewer could topple Judas Priest off their deserved place as one of metals premier and outstanding contributors. All hail the Priest!