Before there were humans, gods walked the Earth. They embodied the essence of Hunger, Survival, Life, Death, Insanity, Decay, Good, and Evil. They fought countless battles up through the Mesozoic Wars. Then Balsafas, an archmage from a parallel dimension, anticipated the threat that Earth's gods posed. He was not powerful enough to kill the gods, so instead he banished one to a rocky tomb within the Moon. This disrupted the fragile balance between the gods; pandemonium ensued, and a great explosion threw clouds of volcanic dust into the atmosphere. The dinosaurs died out, and the surviving gods went into suspended animation.Now, the impact of a huge meteor strikes the Earth. Its destructive force wipes out civilization, rearranges the continents, and frees the imprisoned gods. Get ready to rumble...Playable characters:
Blizzard - The God of Good and leader of the Virtuous Beasts, Blizzard is an ape with icy elemental powers who wishes to return Urth to its natural state, even if it involves killing every Destructive Beast in the process. He lives on the Cliff, an icy temple in what was once the Himalayas.
Talon - The God of Survival and a Virtuous Beast, Talon is the chief of a raptor tribe and is highly protective of it. He fights to maintain their safety and intends to make the world a paradise for raptors where humans are kept as cattle and hunted for sport. He lives in a lightly forested tropical grassland called the Strip.
This Fighting Game is a little unusual in that there's no boss character to smack around. There was a planned upgrade that would've given the game a boss to defeat to beat the game but that went unreleased by Atari Games. There was also a planned sequel that too went unreleased due to being too many Fighting Games at the time.There was also a novel based on the game, Primal Rage: The Avatars. Although not literature of exceptional quality, it is noteworthy in that it expanded the backstories of the Gods, and introduced two characters that would have been in the sequel; Slashfang the sabertooth tiger, and Necronus/Necrosan, the aforementioned boss.
Anti-Hero: The four Virtuous Beasts. Note that the separating of the dino gods into the "Virtuous Beats" and "Destructive Dinos" was created purely for the toyline and novel and has no bearing to the video game storyline, which explains both Sauron's and Talon's douchebaggery. It should also be noted that these are essentially Kaiju. The "heroic" ones (save for Blizzard, who is actually interested in teaching his followers... in the novel) are more concerned with protecting their territory and facing off against earth-destroying evils than they are with something that is little more than food to them.
Anti-Villain: Chaos is by far the least unpleasant of the Destructive Beasts (besides the fact he's disgusting and stinks to high heaven, according to the novel). In his ending, he regains his human form and leads the human tribes in rebuilding the world. He's alsoactually handsome.
According to the novel, while both Talon and Sauron do horrible things to their followers (Keeping them as Cattle/Eating them respectively) they are still more or less decent gods that will reward those the serve them faithfully.
Black and Gray Morality: The Virtuous Beasts are very dark Anti-Heroes, but they're still the lighter shade compared to the wicked Diablo and Vertigo. After all, the worst the Virtuous Beasts can do is kill and eat you - and canonically, the only one who does so is Talon. Blizzard is more interested in reading and teaching his followers, and Armadon prefers dozing off.
Bowdlerise: At the last minute, Chaos' Urine TroubleFinishing Move was taken out of the Super Nintendo port of the game. Performing it in that version will result in Chaos merely performing his victory pose while a red circle with a line through it flashes.
In some versions of the game, one human victim (whose brains have spilled out) is blurred in Sauron's ending screen.
Crapsack World: It's a bad time to be a human in Urth. Blizzard and Armadon are the only Dino Gods who have even the slightest consideration for humans, and Blizzard's attempts to get the Gods to stop being dickbags is ignored in the novels, while Armadon wants to sleep.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: Unlike in most other fighters, the special moves are instead performed by holding down the buttons and then inputting the directions, instead of the other way around. You can still perform them the normal way in some versions of the game, but seeing that all of them require you to hit at least 2 attack buttons at the same time, it's not really worth the trouble. Try doing this with the fighters in M.U.G.E.N, where you now need to input the commands at the same time, Street Fighter-style.
Darker and Edgier - Ironically averted in the novel, which has everyone teaming up to wail on an undead dragon.
Dem Bones: Necrosan, the bosss in the cancelled sequel, was a skeletal dragon/dinosaur thing.
Gaia's Vengeance: Armadon, who is waken up by the constant movement and destruction caused by the other Gods.
Gorn: As if the gameplay hadn't had enough of this, the energy bars are veins connected to a heart at the end, and the special bar below is a nerve linked to a brain. Winning a match causes the loser's heart to explode and the brain to melt into ashes. There's also the fatalities.
In the intro screens, Talon is being interrupted by Vertigo while feeding on Chaos' carcass, complete with torn-open chest and visible ribs.
Speaking of Talon, his Shredder Fatality became even gorier with updates. In prior versions, the victim did the stock animation collapse in a fountain of blood. Version 2.3 left the victim standing, but lifeless, skinned and with lots of skeleton exposed.
Home Run Hitter: Blizzard's Too Da Moon Fatality, where he knocks his foe airborne with a mighty punch.
I'm a Humanitarian: Aside from the thing about Sauron, this is actually a gameplay mechanic. Eating the humans that wander haplessly into the battlefield allows you to recover a bit of health. The novel also mentions that follows of Diablo file down their teeth to fangs and eat the flesh of other gods' followers.
Kaiju - Uhm, the dinosaurs are pretty goddamn big?
Keep Circulating the Tapes: Except you can't, at least if you want an arcade-perfect experience. The game was ported to many platforms but the arcade version is bound by an encryption that has never been broken and no one who worked on the game is willing to help. Every emulation attempt is flawed (most grievously is hit detection issues that arise because of it). The reason this is worth mentioning is because in the Midway Arcade Treasures 2 collection, it is just as broken. Even in an official emulation it can't be perfectly replicated. At least the PC version is a good substitute.
Mighty Glacier: Sauron and Armadon. Armadon, at least, can fire projectiles, and Sauron has AOE attacks.
Mix-and-Match Critters: Vertigo (part Plateosaurus and part cobra) and Armadon (a bipedal Monoclonius/Ankylosaurus/Stegosaurus hybrid).
Naked People Are Funny: Perform enough hits and damage with a single combo, and your followers will celebrate by streaking.
Remember the New Guy: Slashfang got the treatment in the novel. He was always there, but he stayed in the Savannas he called home until the other dino gods discovered and invaded them, causing him to join the war.
Talon occasionally does this to his chosen avatar.
Rule of Cool: Almost everything in this game would be insanely stupid if it wasn't also insanely awesome.
Rules Of The Road: The game has a "No Cheese" sign (a wedge of Swiss cheese with a red bar through it) which flashes whenever a player tries a "cheesy" fighting tactic, such as throwing another while they're stunned from blocking, or using two stun techniques in the same combo.
Unscrupulous Hero: Blizzard and Armadon are the "goodest" characters in the series, but they're both not above chowing down on their own followers in an emergency, or other Gods' followers just because.
Urine Trouble: Chaos' "Golden Shower" fatality. This move was so disgusting that it was removed in an upgrade.
What Could Have Been: The aforementioned canceled sequel would have introduced a new character, Slashfang the sabertooth tiger, as well as a boss, Necrosan/Necronus, some sort of skeledragonsaur, and used a Bloody Roar-style transformation system (the players were avatars of the gods). As a result, the ending for every character is left open-ended. The tie-in novel tied up these loose ends.
What Measure Is A Human: Even Blizzard, the nicest of the Virtuous Beasts, isn't above chowing down on his followers, and Talon, as mentioned, considers humans to be cattle.