Diablo (Primal Rage by Playmates)

2.9 (27 votes)

Review and photographs by Funk, edited by Suspsy.

As most dinosaur fans that grew up in the 1990s know, Primal Rage from 1994 was a fighting game pitting stop motion animated dinosaurs and apes against each other, with very violent and sometimes bizarre attacks that inevitably led to parental outrage. A toy line was also released by Playmates in 1996, including all the playable characters in various versions. 

While the roster of fighters was quite diverse, a few were simply duplicates with different colors, perhaps to get more characters from the stop motion models they had. These included the two apes, Chaos and Blizzard, as well as the obligatory large theropods, Sauron and Diablo, the latter which is the subject of this review. The Sauron figure has been reviewed previously and while exactly the same sculpt as Diablo just with a different color scheme, I’ll try to not thread the same ground as that review.

Diablo is the leader of the Destructive Dinos, and, as his name implies, is fond of fire and evil. On a strange note, even though the characters are physically identical, Sauron is identified as a Tyrannosaurus in the official guide book, whereas Diablo is identified as an “allosaur.” While this was possibly to feign diversity, the toy’s package also labels Diablo as a Tyrannosaurus, and since he’s clearly a tyrannosaur based on his anatomy (and by being identical to Sauron), that is what this review will go by.

The Diablo figure is about 20 cm from the snout to the hindmost curve of the tail (it is swung to the side, yet still had to be packaged separate from the rest of the figure due to its length) and about 13 cm tall at the head when standing in the tripodal pose seen in the game, which the figure’s pose also seems to be aiming for. Since the legs can be rotated by the hips, it can also stand in a more accurate horizontal pose, though the head will look somewhat downwards, and it stands surprisingly well compared to some of the other Primal Rage toys.

The figure is made of red plastic with painted black stripes across the back and upper tail, ending with the top of the head being entirely black. The teeth, claws, and sclera of the eyes are white while the irises are red. The eyes have brownish circles around them and a brown line runs across the upper lip. This is pretty much identical to the coloration in the game, and quite unlike the yellow Sauron with dark blue stripes. The patterns of their stripes are similar, but not identical, with those of Diablo seeming a bit finer.

While it’s almost pointless to talk about accuracy, Diablo/Sauron is one of the least fictionalized of the dinosaurs in Primal Rage, compared to some of the others which are downright chimaeras. It is a very Harryhausen-esque design with its tripodal stance and crocodile-like scutes along the back, resembling the stop motion theropods from the films One Million Years B.C. from 1966 and The Valley of Gwangi from 1969 (and by extension, Charles Knight-ian theropods), but with a proportionally larger head and more modern looking crests above the eyes, perhaps reflecting the design that was popularized by Jurassic Park in 1993.

While its proportions are of course not exactly accurate for Tyrannosaurus, it’s worth noting that it only has two fingers, which undermines the supposed “allosaur” identity. While it’s very similar to Diablo’s appearance in the game, it has much more slender legs and smaller feet, which seems an odd choice for a giant theropod. This might be related to the strange “Pulverizer Claws”, a pair of metallic shoes that are not featured in the game, which can be attached to the feet but just look goofy. Another odd design choice for the feet are the halluxes (or dewclaws) that, instead of sticking out from the inner sides of the ankles, stick out from behind.

Like the legs, the arms can also be rotated, and rotating the right arm opens the mouth by unnaturally raising the upper jaw instead of lowering the mandible, revealing a tube inside its mouth, which is where “Blistering Lava Rocks,” or small red plastic balls, could be inserted and shot out as a “Fireball Attack”, a special move in the game. Unfortunately, these balls were not included with my pre-owned figure, and have probably been launched onto someone’s lawn decades ago. The Sauron figure does not seem to have such a mechanism, but can open its mouth the same way. A “Mini-Primal Follower Figure” was also included; a small cavehuman which is basically just a snack for the character like in the game, where they increased health.

I’m sure I would have loved this and the other Primal Rage toys as a kid, but unfortunately I only learned of their existence as an adult (though I played the game a lot both on SNES and Game Boy), but it seems they’re pretty easy to find used today. The Primal Rage figures are also interesting in being some of the few dinosaurs from games that have been made into toys, and Sauron himself is a pretty solid retro-tyrannosaur, and one of the few that are articulated.

Support the Dinosaur Toy Blog by making dino-purchases through these links to Ebay and Amazon. Disclaimer: links to Ebay.com and Amazon.com on the The Dinosaur Toy Blog are often affiliate links, when you make purchases through these links we may make a commission

Share this:

Comments 4

  • Really enjoyed your Write-up.
    I am disappointed I never had the chance or was able to have these two excellent models to play with and now as an adult too own.
    I am going to do the best I can too track them down to rectify that.
    Any advice where is best to look.
    Cheers and once again Big Thankyou.

  • Posted on my birthday. Nice. Loved this dude growing up particularly from the eye catching red and black. Top favorite between him and Talon. Though I played with all of them about equally (all but the larger ones and the canceled sequel characters). I love that this game had a toyline. I mean it was perfect for little me who was obessed with the game and dinosaurs at the time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Search

  • Brand

  • Dinosaur Name

  • Classification

  • Age

  • Product Type

  • News Categories

  • Video Playlists

error: Content is protected !!