Primal, also known as SAINTS: Divine Demons (セインツ 聖なる魔物 Saints Seinaru Mamono) in Japan, is a fantasy action-adventure video game released in 2003 for the PlayStation 2 system, and re-released digitally for the PlayStation 3 as part of the PS2 Classics program on February 28, 2012. Primal was later remastered, given PSN trophy support, and released on the Playstation 4 via PSN on 31 May 2016.
The battle to save the outside world starts within as Jennifer Tate, a young woman who faces the demons of alternate planes and discovers her own supernatural origin. In Oblivion, there are four distinct realms, each occupied by a demon race. Two are aligned with order and two with chaos. But the scales of balance are overthrown, and chaos is engulfing Oblivion.
Jen Tate was attacked when leaving a nightclub with her boyfriend Lewis, singer in the club's industrial music band. The attack leaves Jen and Lewis unconscious in a hospital. A short, dark figure approaches Jen's bed and raises her spirit up out of her body. The figure reveals itself to be a small stone gargoyle named Scree. Scree explains that Jen's body is close to death and she must come with him to the Nexus.
Through the journey, Jen and her gargoyle companion Scree will fight through four elemental realms in order to restore balance between Order and Chaos. Along the way Jen gains the ability to transform into four demonic forms.
Allied with Order
- Jen (Hudson Leick), the main playable character, who grew up in a string of foster homes. She works as a waitress so she can go to college. She has a short temper and a sharp tongue, but is compassionate as well. Throughout the game, she obtains the ability to transform herself into various demon forms, therefore making her an exceptional fighter and very skilful in all categories.
- Scree (Andreas Katsulas), the secondary playable character. A diminutive gargoyle who guides Jen through her journey. Although he is unable to fight, he has the ability to project his spirit into other gargoyles in order to take control of them. He is often annoyed by Jen's light-hearted insults about his size and form; however, he hides a painful secret.
- Arella (Niki Felstead), the embodiment of Order, Arella strives to uphold the balance, summoning Jen as her champion to battle against Abaddon, therefore making her the enemy of Abbadon
- Jared (Sean Pertwee), prince of Solum.
- Chronos, part of a machine known as the Oracle. He helps maintain balance in Oblivion by equally dividing energy between Arella and Abaddon.
Allied with Chaos
- Abaddon (Colin McFarlane), the embodiment of Chaos. An evil being, he is supported by the demons of Aetha and Volca realms.
- Belahzur, Abaddon's right-hand man, General of the Chaos armies and Abdizur's arch-enemy.
- Lewis (Eric Loren), Jen's boyfriend, who is the lead singer in an upcoming rock band. Lewis is kidnapped in the beginning of the game and is revealed to have been brainwashed into acting as Abaddon's champion.
The player control either Jennifer Tate, the snarky Goth girl, or Scree, the possessed gargoyle statue. Control can be instantaneously switched between Jen and Scree at any time, and when the player control a character, the other one is operated by AI, performing various functions depending upon the situation. During the game, the characters can interact with one another and perform actions such as asking questions or siphoning energy.
Jen's Elemental forms are healed by drawing elemental energy from Scree that only he can collect. Her human form is weakest, but regenerates naturally after a short time of not being hit.
Two Primal soundtracks were released commercially:
- The Primal was composed by Paul Arnold and Andrew Barnabas, and performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. It was nominated for a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award.
- The 16Volt Combat Soundtrack was provided by 16Volt, an American industrial music group.
The game received positive to mixed reviews, with IGN stating "Limited by an inconsequential combat system and basic wander-puzzles. What it does manage to do though is overwhelm us with high-quality production values, wow us with an excellent graphical presentation, and move us with one hell of a killer soundtrack". In the article "Overrated/Underrated" in their September 2004 issue, Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine cited the game's protagonist as an underrated "hot chick" in comparison to Lara Croft, stating "She's smart. She's funny. She hangs out in biker bars. She's good in a fight. And she's got a really nice butt." In the same article, Scree was likewise cited as an underrated sidekick, stating "This is the way to make a memorable sidekick: Make him dignified, make him funny looking, and make him useful." Edge Magazine on the other hand, stated: "A rank combat system, quirky camera and a lack of inspiration at the game's exploration/puzzle core make playing the game hard work." It has an overall score of 73 on aggregate site Metacritic
- The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London had an exhibition of original artwork from the Primal project, as documented at the now defunct website www.primal-art.com.
- Along with the European, American and Japanese versions, a European "Collector's Edition" was issued with the game's initial release.
- Official website (archived version).
- Official US website (archived version).
- Official Japanese website (archived version).