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Savage Quest

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Released: 1999

Genre: Beat-’em-up

Format reviewed: Arcade

Publisher: Interactive Light

Developer: Angel Studios

Submitted by: Ryan Davies

It seems that almost everyone has an arcade game that has the most influence on their life. For some it's Defender, others have Asteroids, Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Time Crisis, Daytona USA, or Millipede. For me, it's Konami's The Simpsons. But that's not important right now. I'm here to blab about my favourite arcade game ever – Savage Quest!

It all started back in 1999, in a place what is now known as Center Parcs, but was then known as Oasis. There was a reasonably well-stocked arcade in there, with all of the usual suspects. Got a lot of fun out of House of the Dead initially, but I soon noticed a game that looked like nothing I had ever seen before. A big sit-down cab thing, they always attract interest, right? Must be some sort of spaceship or driving game or summat. Ah! There's dinosaurs all over it! Maybe it's SEGA's Lost World game?

Nope, it's the ultimate in dinosaur-themed strolling beat-em-ups, a game where the entire cab shakes with each footprint of the tyrant lizard you play as, a game where you EAT anything that you've defeated, a game where you can stun everything around you with a big massive roar. Lovely, I must've spent around £15 on that machine over the space of a week.

It'd be a full year before I was able to play the game again, on a different holiday in a different country. It's not compatible with MAME, never got a console port, and when the actual cab ever shows up on eBay, it's never for less than $1000, plus delivery from the USA. Ouch. So it's been nearly a decade since I last played it, but I can still remember every last detail of it, it's THAT GOOD.

It looks beautiful for one thing, with dinosaur models far more realistic/accurate than that Primal Rage thing. Just the joystick allows your prehistoric avatar to move around, head-butt things, bite things, chew things, and smack things with her tail (your eggs have been stolen, y'see). Roaring is done by smacking the big fat panic button. Couldn't be simpler.

Small dinosaurs, and later little cavemen, can be swallowed with one bite, whilst bigger dinosaurs must be fought with, very viciously, before you're allowed to eat them – and Ms. Rex is ALWAYS hungry.

If you ever see this game anywhere, no matter what the circumstances, spend every last pound you have on it, as you may never see it again. Like that Zoltar Speaks thingy, only it isn't cursed.