Bloody Roar: Primal Fury Review

Once again the Zoanthropes get together for another round of fighting each other for fun and profit. While some would say that this is nothing but a simple port of the PS2 version, those who fully play the game will realize that this game is much more than its predecessor. Unfortunately while Bloody Roar is a rather good fighting game on the Gamecube, compared to other fighters on other systems this game does not hold up at all.

Well, for starters, I have to say that the designers did a fantastic job on the character models. They are very nicely detailed, with lots of animation and a general realistic look for all the characters in their human forms. Once the characters transform into their beastly alter egos, the detail does not disappoint; living, breathing, critters, designed of nothing but pure animal muscle maneuver in front of you waiting for your every command. Once you transform into your hyper mode, the graphics tend to go nuts, with neat waves coming off your body in multiple places, and lots of afterimages of your character make it a definite sight to see. Another kudos to the animators is the way that certain moves just look painful. The throw moves in general look very realistic, and the way that your character just gets slammed around makes you want to cringe. In animal form, most of the throws go towards the bite look, where you get grabbed by the teeth/claws of whoever is throwing you. Definitely a job well done to the animators and character design artists.

Unfortunately Bloody Roar isn’t perfect in any aspect. First off there is no HDTV support. Considering that most of the Gamecube’s titles offer this support, it’s kinda disappointing. Then again I know why it isn’t in there – With progressive scan enabled, there would be no way for the title to run at the constant 60fps that it’s currently locked at. However, the lack of HDTV support is balanced out by very nice anti-aliasing for everything that you see.

The other major problem is a rather obvious one once you take a detailed look at the game – the characters tend to not interact with each other very well. To put it nicely, the characters in both human and beast form have a tendency to go right through each other during a variety of moves. The throw moves especially have this problem, as not only do characters go right through each other, but upon pausing and looking closely, you’ll see that the characters hands aren’t even touching their opponent sometimes. While I don’t think that anyone has telekinetic powers in this game, it sure looks like it during quite a few of the throws. Most people won’t notice this, but it’s my job to do so.

First off, the in game sounds. Each of the game’s 16 characters has a well-done voice/grunt track. Every character has a bit of voice to them, and while most of it is just grunting and pain sounds, it is done well. Other sound effects are based on the noise in the stage. Some stages have trains running by, others have cars, and even others contain things like underwater noises. They fit the stages well, but it’s nothing really fancy. Then again you’ll be too busy fighting to pay too much attention to the stage itself.

The music is also completely forgettable. Best described as video game rock, it’s not exactly bad, but you won’t be thinking about it at all afterwards. Each stage has its own soundtrack as well, so you won’t be hearing the same music over and over again.

Ultimately nothing really fancy here overall. You won’t hate it, but it won’t be remembered either. Only one complaint to keep in mind – whenever a character talks after battle, the voice track is not at all matched with the movement of the mouth. Looks like a poorly translated Japanese movie.

To be rather blunt – the Gamecube controller wasn’t really designed for a fighting title. For something like Super Smash Brothers, where one moves around with fluid motion and control, and where the analog controller is used, it works great. But for this title, one is best off using the digital pad for movement. That pad simply wasn’t designed to be used for extended periods in a fighting title as it’s simply too small. The controls work overall as far as button placement goes, but you’ll be annoyed by that digital pad to no end.

Bloody Roar’s gameplay is a difficult one to judge. Comparing it to other fighting titles on the system (of which there are none basically) makes it a very good game. Compared to other fighters on other systems however, it is rather lacking in multiple areas.
First off, all the details – Bloody Roar contains 16 different fighters (12 available at the start), 10 fighting arenas, and a slew of cheats that keep things entertaining after finishing the game a few times. The cheats include such standbys as a Kids mode (where everyone is superdeformed), one that turns off all blocking, and others that do things like keep your characters forced in one mode or another (Beast one Mode, Human only Mode, etc). They don’t do too much to the gameplay, but they keep things new and also keep you playing the game multiple times through.

As far as the fighting goes, Bloody Roar is interesting, but it just can’t hold up to other big name fighters on other systems. In general, the fighting engine is a rather quick one – everything moves at a solid 60fps, and at a very fast pace (verses the slower titles like Virtua Fighter 4). It isn’t too fast though, so those who have been brought up on slower fighters, you will have no problems getting used to this.

Ultimately the biggest problem with Bloody Roar’s gameplay is that it is a borderline button-masher. It isn’t a complete masher like Tekken, but it is definitely not a slower, more thought our fighter like Soul Caliber or Virtua Fighter 4. If you go look in the manual, most of the game’s combo attacks are listed for everyone. For the most part, these are all multi tap button presses, with the occasional joystick movement thrown in for good measure. The problem with this is that once a combo starts, you have no real option to either counter it (depending on who you are playing as), nor can you start blocking if you get hit in the middle of the combo. The only real counter you have is to transform into Beast Mode (as this makes you invincible and knocks back your opponent if they hit you while doing it), but that requires you to not be in Beast Mode currently and to have your power gauge built up ready for the transformation.

However, two players who know what they are doing (or 2 high level computer players) can turn this button masher into a very interesting match. On the flip side though, expect the person who doesn’t know much about this game to be clobbered by a more skilled opponent.

Finally, one general complaint – this game once again proves that end bosses in fighting games are extremely overpowered, do WAY more damage than you do, and are extremely cheap. Fighting the end bosses here reminds me of my days against a level 8 Ryu computer opponent from Street Fighter 2 – any real attempts to attack cause you to get countered just about all the time. Also, the second end boss has the power to turn himself into a penguin. While this isn’t all that annoying, the fact that this penguin is less than half your size makes for a VERY difficult fight, as most attacks simply go over his head.

Keep in mind however, that the only other fighting game that this is competing against on the Gamecube is Super Smash Brothers. For those who want a more traditional fighting game, Bloody Roar will keep you occupied for some time.

Now this is a tough category to rate. Bloody Roar is a fighter, and a somewhat good one at best. Unless you have a few friends who are interested in the game as well, your enjoyment of this title will not be fully revealed. Let me explain.

First off, the cheats – there is some 18 or so things to unlock, which consist of cheats/extra characters/extra stages. Most of these will be unlocked by finishing the Arcade mode some 15 or so times. The entire problem here is if the game is interesting enough for you to play through the arcade mode that many times. Unfortunately for the most part, that is a no.

If you don’t have access to friends who like this game, then you are limited to fighting the cheap (at times) computer opponent. And, like I said before, fighting a cheap computer point is an effort in futility. If you have friends who like this game, and are willing to put some time into it, bump this category up by some 10-15 points.

Just keep in mind that this is not a deep fighting game like Soul Caliber or Virtua Fighter 4. This is a better button masher, and not much more.

In conclusion, Bloody Roar is an interesting title with quite a few faults. If you are looking for a standard fighter for your Gamecube, then this is your only option. Keep in mind though that there are far better fighters for other systems, and in my opinion, Super Smash Brothers is a far better fighter as well.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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