Very few information exist about this game as, to this day, no video games magazines featured it on Archive.org, and no reason were given about why it was cancelled. We can speculate that it was the purchase of Malibu Comics by Marvel, of which Malibu Interactive was a subsidiary, that happened in 1994 that caused to shutdown the game company, and thus, cancelling the title in the process.
A first prototype of the game leaked in 2009 containing 5 playable levels and we can read more details about its gameplay here:
As far as gameplay goes, Prime is a pretty standard side-scrolling Beat-‘Em-Up in the mold of Final Fight, which shouldn’t come as a surprise if you were playing video games in 1994.
Malibu Interactive did a pretty good job on that front. Maximum Carnage seems to be the bar they set out to beat, and while you don’t get to whip people around with Spider-Man’s webs, they do give Prime a few neat attacks to keep things interesting — or as interesting as one of video games’ most repetitive genres gets, anyway.
One button makes Prime punch, often with a combo that’s a dead ringer for Cody’s in Final Fight, but powered by ridiculously huge arms instead of ultra-tight acid wash jeans. And while you don’t get to actually fly during any of the fighting levels, you do get a double jump that’s useful in exactly one area. Another button gives you an alternate kick attack that begins with the most awkward wind-up ever and ending with a stiff-leg kick square in the junk, complete with an impact burst exploding out of the bad guy’s crotch.
In addition to the standard chuck-an-enemy-across-the-screen, Prime also gives you the ability to throw them towards the background or foreground. It’s a trick lifted from the later-era TMNT games, but they pull it off pretty well here by adding something that the comics of the era specialized in: explosions.
Explosions are a recurring theme in the game, and you get to most of them by throwing enemies at everything possible just to see what happens. The car in the foreground, the fire hydrant in the background and the windows on the building can all be broken when you toss an enemy at them, usually resulting in an explosion even when it’s a fire hydrant. It’s also pretty nice that the backgrounds have areas (like the windows and the occasional boarded-up door) that are destructible, although owing to the game’s unfinished status, the destruction will occasionally result in a glowing purple square of nothingness.
So at this point, we’ve got guys in tank tops, crotch-kicks and exploding cars, and for the Streets of Rage aficionado, that’s all pretty standard stuff. Prime is also equipped with two special abilities that allow him to deal with these horrors. For one, as seen above, he walks just like WWE chairman Vince McMahon. And for the second, his super attack, which allows him to blow up like a balloon until he explodes.
An almost finished version leaked later on the internet.
The game was eventually released on the Sega CD under the name Ultraverse Prime in 1995.
Article by Daniel Nicaise
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