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Hi. I posted this topic in the MAMEDev forums and got no attention, so I'm bringing it up here hoping it reaches someone who actually has a say on the matter.

I recently noticed that what MAME now considers the default build of Primal Rage is a so called "new build" of 2.3, which mirrors the version that was included in Midway Arcade Treasures 2, and AFAIK was never even in arcades.

This version of the game features simplified inputs and some missing specials, doing away with the control scheme that set the arcade game apart from other "mainstream" fighting games.
Contrarily to SF, MK and most others, where special moves are performed by a directional sequence and one or more buttons at the end, the specials in Primal Rage were performed by holding two or more buttons and then doing the directional moves.

In this "new build", however, the commands for special moves are replaced with standard Street Fighter-style inputs of directional sequences with a button at the end.
As an example, Armadon's Iron Maiden move, which originally was 2+3 A, U, T (holding 2 buttons and doing a half circle forward but done on the upper part of the joystick), is changed to B,D,DB + 3 (a backwards dragon punch move with a single button at the end).

For reference, here's guides with the two entirely different control schemes:
Original:
https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/arcade/583610-primal-rage/faqs/757
MAT2:
https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/xbox/919930-midway-arcade-treasures-2/faqs/32920

Now, are we sure we want to make this build the one to remember by making it the official one, while burying the one that's historically been in arcades by making it a clone and labeling it as an old build and a clone of this so called "new build"?

If this is not the right place to post this and you can suggest a better place, please by all means do so.

Thanks for reading if you got to this point.

Last edited by uKER; 09/18/23 01:37 AM.
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It was in arcades, though. It just wasn’t clearly identified, so a lot of people didn’t realise it was a different version. It was more common in Japan and Asia/Pacific. Guru had one for years without realising it was a different version to the previously dumped version that was common in North America.

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Well, it might have been a rarity thing, but EVERY SINGLE guide you'll find online for Primal Rage will have the "button hold" inputs, unless it's a guide for the version in Midway Arcade Treasures.
If it is MAME's intention to preserve what everyone experienced when they played Primal Rage at the time, the ROM they should be pointing people to is the one currently known as "primrageo", labeled as old and a clone of that other bizarre build.

Does anyone have any suggestions on who needs to be contacted about this?

Last edited by uKER; 09/18/23 09:58 PM.
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Noone in particular.
"build" is a weird word unless you're a developer, but other than that the chronological ordering of romsets looks fine by me.

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Chronological ordering? I don't know that MAME orders ROMs chronologically.

The issue here is about what game people will find when they play the base, ie default, Primal Rage ROM ("primrage").
As it is, people will be playing something that was a one-in-a-million oddity, the real thing being buried as a supposedly old variant.

Last edited by uKER; 09/18/23 10:38 PM.
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Given that Primal Rage isn't even a 'working' game right now, due to the severe protection emulation deficiencies, I'm not sure this is going to be a priority for anybody at this point. The game is broken, nobody should be playing it in MAME at all.

If it's the newest revision, and was in the arcades, MAME's standard policy does dictate it should be the parent though.

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The game is perfectly functional.
I don't know if there's any actual consequences of that non-implemented copy protection, but I know I have fully played through the game, and the only odd thing I found was the blood sometimes glitching and appearing yellowish instead of red.

Last edited by uKER; 09/18/23 10:50 PM.
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the game is broken, a lot of the special moves result in random glitches, collisions not working, characters floating in the air, or the game crashing....

the protection is nothing but hacked around, the state of the MAME emulation is not shippable in any form

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Originally Posted by uKER
The game is perfectly functional.
I don't know if there's any actual consequences of that non-implemented copy protection, but I know I have fully played through the game, and the only odd thing I found was the blood sometimes glitching and appearing yellowish instead of red.

To give further info on Haze's post: You're falling into exactly the same trap that arcade developers devised back in the day, and it's honestly pretty funny.

Assuming you were playing through the game in mainline MAME and not some super-secret version that has hacked around all of the protection checks rather than emulating the relevant protection device, the truth is something that I believe some arcade manufacturers pivoted off of when devising protection checks to guard against bootlegging: You're not that good of a player.

Historically, some of the most nefarious copy-protection checks have been those that only affect players after a significant amount of time, or those with a significant amount of skill. For the former, I can only direct you to this article that was authored surprisingly long ago, back in 2001: https://www.gamedeveloper.com/business/keeping-the-pirates-at-bay

For the latter, all I can point to is the sheer number of games where a lacking level of protection emulation has only been obvious in later levels of a game. Sega's "Quartet" had issues with its copy-protection hookup for quite a while until - and Haze will correct me if I'm wrong here - Haze noticed that some levels that were a good ways into the game ended up with moving platforms that the player would simply clip through.

At the time, within the scope of the arcade market, the best sort of copy protection was one that was inconsistent. If you have a game that wedges itself at the first sign of trouble, you immediately give any bootleggers that are kitted out with an ICE (in-circuit emulator) for the relevant CPU a sequence of events that they can use to reverse-engineer the protection. If things are more subtle - some play-throughs work fine, some don't - then you end up with an altogether more sinister way of sowing chaos and distrust at the particular arcade that has bootlegged a particular board.

All of that is to say that we don't know what we don't know, but what we do know is that the protection has not yet been fully defeated on Primal Rage. It could very well be that you've gotten through multiple play-throughs of the game. Well done, you have some remarkably good luck.

In the meantime, the people who have actually poured their hearts and souls into MAME, for anywhere from the past few years to the past quarter-century, have done enough homework to know that what MAME currently presents - and by extension, any hacked builds, whether they'll acknowledge it or not - is not an accurate representation of Primal Rage. That's why it's marked as not-working, and that's why debating over which set should be the parent set amounts to shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic until someone steps up to the plate and volunteers the time, effort, and skill with a logic analyzer to figure out what is actually going on.

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I hear you. That is all good info. That article on copy protection was very interesting.
I only played PR as a child in the arcade, so replaying it in MAME I may encountered broken stuff that I didn't notice, or I just assumed that was the way the game was.

All that said, this conversation got sidetracked towards this copy protection issue, but regardless of the state of that, I still stand my case that I don't think MAME should make the parent ROM for the game a version that hardly anyone ever saw at the arcades just because it's newer.

Last edited by uKER; 09/19/23 01:32 AM.
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