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Updated video games pack new, improved punch

By Daily Bruin Staff

March 3, 1996 9:00 pm

Updated video games pack new, improved punch

New Street Fighter requires more skill than Primal Rage

By William Schiffmann

The Associated Press

Sequels are often just a cynical scheme to capitalize on a
popular title.

Such is decidedly not the case with Street Fighter Alpha, the
latest version of the granddaddy of 2D fighting games (Capcom for
the Sony PlayStation).

It all started way back when with Street Fighter II, a
then-stunning tour de force in hand-to-hand combat. With a variety
of combatants, male and female, and an astonishing number of moves
driven by your flying fingers, it stunned the gaming world.

That was five or six versions ago, but Capcom isn’t resting on
its laurels with a light rehash. Alpha isn’t a complete remake, but
it includes enough that’s new and exciting.

For one thing, there are new characters. In addition to old
favorites like Ryu and Chun Li, you’ll find new fighters, like Rose
and Sodom.

The graphics are better. Lots better. Colors are dazzling,
characters are tightly drawn and nicely detailed, and the
backgrounds are excellent. Special moves, like Ryu’s Hadoken
Fireball, Sodom’s Spine Grinder and Adon’s Jaguar kicks, are wild –
and devastating.

And there are some great new tactical innovations. Wait until
you try the Alpha Counter, a means of counterattack. It’s great,
works smoothly and really packs a wallop.

Control is seamless. That’s important, because you can’t win
just by punching your opponent a few times. You have to master the
multi-button combinations, and it helps that the controller and the
PlayStation’s brains are on the same page.

Alpha also offers a training mode, where you can practice your
moves and combos without damage to your record.

The new 3D fighters are all the rage now – and they are great –
but Street Fighter Alpha has made an excellent transition from the
arcade to your living room. It’s a worthy successor to one of the
most popular games of all time.

Not as successful, but no turkey, is Primal Rage. PR is
available for just about every system currently operating. I
happened to try the 3DO version.

The premise is long and confusing. The short version is that a
wizard saw how powerful Earth was getting, and decided to mess
things up. He banished one of the gods to a rocky tomb on an icy
moon, disrupting the balance of energy and causing a huge explosion
on Earth, trapping the rest of the gods in suspended animation.

Millions of years later, a meteor hits the planet, freeing the
gods to a strange new world called Urth.

Primal Rage features these gods, who all look more or less like
dinosaurs and other monsters, battling for supremacy.

This is a typical side-view fighter, but much simpler to master
than Street Fighter. For instance, you don’t need super
coordination to smoothly hit a series of points on the d-pad.
Instead, hold down one or two buttons, hit the d-pad and
kaboom!

Graphics are good, with lots of color and detail. The monsters
hiss and growl, spray blood everywhere and eat their opponents’
supporters for dinner.

There are many ways to play. Arcade is the standard mode, a
series of one-on-one battles with other behemoths. You also get a
training mode and can play against a friend.

Try some of the more unusual modes, like Tug of War, a
two-player game with just one lifeline. Or try Endurance, similar
to Tug of War. You and that friend now each have four monsters to
work with. You lose when all your beasts are dead.

Primal Rage’s use of dinosaurs is a nice change from the more
normal human fighters. It’s not Street Fighter, but it is fun.

(Street Fighter) Alpha … offers a training mode, where you can
practice your moves and combos without damage to your record.

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