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Prime was an unreleased game by Malibu Interactive based on the comic of the same name. A beta of this game is available.

By: Evan G
Last updated: July 28, 2009

Between levels, excellent artwork is your reward.

I'll be perfectly honest, I had never heard of Malibu Comics, let alone the comic Prime before KingMike sent me this scan showing previews of several Malibu Interactive games in the May 1994 issue of EGM. Malibu Interactive developed a couple of SNES games (the publishing company, Malibu Games was a division of TH*Q), including Time Trax and Sports Illustrated Football & Baseball. The video game division of Malibu Comics may have thought that their characters would prove to be good fodder for action games.

According to the Wikipedia page, Prime is a 13 year old boy who is transformed into a superhuman adult. Much of the comic was the kid dealing with adult situations, and him not being mature enough to handle it. The comic started publication in 1993.

A beta ROM image of Prime has been floating around on the Internet for some time, though I do not know the source. The game appears to be largely complete. The Nintendo licensing information is not present, indicating that this may not have been approved when this prototype was made. The gameplay is pretty much your standard Final Fight brawler. Sound is pretty much non-existent except for the sounds of your character beating on enemies. There are power-ups in the game, but there is no way of picking them up. Random graphical glitches occasionally pop up, but otherwise the graphics are pretty solid.

The character, Prime, is pretty much a ripoff of Superman. He has a red cape and a yellow and red outfit. The moves are pretty much what you would expect of a Superman ripoff, with punches, suplexes, throws, kicks and a flying "Superman" dive. Manipulating throws is actually pretty easy, which is nice during level 3 where you can throw the enemies off the ledge on the top of the screen. Like most games in the genre, there are only a limited amount of enemies, with pallet swaps being common, and they take far too many hits to kill. Many objects can be picked up and used as weapons, and smashing things in the foreground and background usually produce power-ups. Pressing X activates Prime's special move, an explosion. It is unknown to me how you acquire this, other than you get one after beating a level. One novel thing about this game is that enemy attacks can also hurt your foe. I also liked that the amount of points for attacking your enemy popped up as you attacked.

The boss in level 3 being hit by the special attack

The beta contains five levels. The first level is on a rainy back alley, and the enemies consist of random thugs and frog men. The second level takes place in a sewer, and adds in crocodile lizard men. The third level is at a pier, but largely has the same enemies as previous levels. At the end of the third level, there is the first (and only) boss I encountered. The fourth level takes place in a skyscraper and adds armoured men that can charge you and take off a lot of your health. I got to the fifth level with relative ease, which takes place in a lab. The fifth level adds enemies with bombs for heads and a tentacled creature. The fifth level seems unbeatable as it has a heat ray that follows you around and constantly hits you. I tried a strategy where I picked up an enemy and fried it with the ray, but this proved to be futile with several enemies attacking at once. The ray itself might be something intended to kill off the player, as I created an unlimited lives cheat and found once I beat all the enemies in the screen with the tentacled creature, I could not proceed any further.

As for the cause of Prime's non-release, I can only speculate. The game is quite far along in development in the leaked beta. Malibu Games released many games between 1993 and 1995 before the publishing line ended. Marvel purchased Malibu Comics in 1994, which may have doomed this game. I would say the most likely reason for the cancellation is the lack of recognition of the title character.

Mutants abound!As with most brawlers, use what is available for weapons
Special attackSuperman-style dive
Between the fourth and fifth level, there is a short flying stage. I imagine they intended to expand this.This is about as far as you can go in the beta.

Download the ROM image here


Screenshots (27)



  • Electronic Gaming Monthly, Previews - Special Feature (Malibu Comics games), Publication date: May 1994, Volume: 58, Pages: 136-137
  • Wikipedia article on Prime (link)

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