Yugo ate my review. Really.
After the fighter-deprived era of the Nintendo 64, Eighting, Hudson, and Activision have teamed up to deliver the first fighting game for the GameCube. Bloody Roar: Primal Fury takes the original concept of Bloody Roar 3 for the PS2 and revamps it in many respects to make it a much better and more balanced game.
The core gameplay concept of the Bloody Roar series revolves around the idea that the fighters are a race separate from humans, called Zoanthropes. They are much like humans except that each one has a "beast" form they can transform into at will. Although a good deal of the fighting takes place in their human forms, fighting in each character’s respective beast form becomes very important in Primal Fury. Changing into the beast form is dependant on the beast gauge, which fills up as you attack your opponent, and then becomes active as soon as the gauge turns yellow. Once the gauge hits that point, the fighter can turn into a beast at any time, remaining as one until their opponent knocks them out of beast mode, or once they attempt a Beast Drive move. Yet another option presents itself in BR: PF with the Hyper Beast transformation which can be activated at any time at the cost of some health (depending on how full their Beast Gauge is). Essentially an even stronger variation of the standard Beast mode, it lasts for a certain length of time and allows the player to utilize as many Beast Drive moves as they wish until the timer runs out. These gameplay elements built on top of an already solid 3D fighter filled with chainable moves and combos make for an exciting, fun, and fast-paced game.
Graphically, the game looks quite stunning at times. The character models are incredibly detailed, with some very nice attention to detail in both texture work and animation. Seeing the fur on Yugo’s wolf form flow naturally as he roars, or watching Long’s ears twitch when he is in his tiger form are certainly attention grabbers. The stages, while not particularly original, are nicely done. Backing it all up are a ton of nice and flashy lighting effects as the entire game runs at a fluid sixty frames per second.
Sound effects for the game are a bit above par for the course, as the beast roars, slashes, and pounding of bone against steel fences all mesh together for a solid aural experience. The music, on the other hand, will either be a hit or miss for many players, as the “classic” eighties styled rock might not get the blood pumping for everyone out there. Yet on the third (and final) hand, the voice acting needs quite a bit of work, as the lip-syncing is on par with your average Hong Kong action film, and most of the actors’ voices fail to match the characters.
As is standard for pretty much all console fighting games, Primal Fury has a few hidden characters to unlock, but also features various cheats to unlock that substantially alter the game, both in visuals and gameplay mechanics. All in all, considering both what Nintendo fighting fans had to deal with during the Nintendo 64 era, and what Eighting had to work with in Bloody Roar 3, Bloody Roar: Primal Fury is an excellent first release for the budding GameCube fighting game library.