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by Titus

s6-01.jpg (5754 bytes)I’ll be honest with you. When I received this game from Shawn while he was visiting home for the holidays, I didn’t exactly have high hopes. Prehistoric with a "k"? How good could it be? Very very good.

s5-01.jpg (7424 bytes)Ok, the story goes something like this: you’re Sam, goofy caveman and all around nice guy. Life was good until some "greedy dinosaurs" decided to eat your town’s winter food supply. The curs! So it’s up to Sam to go out into the harsh pixilated world and find some damn dinner. Yes, I know, it’s one of the weakest plots in a video game to date, but this isn’t an RPG, it’s a platformer. It’s not like there’s a gripping and twisting plot to any Mario game. I mean, if we can accept that Peach or Daisy has gotten kidnapped, again, we can accept that those mean ol’ dinos ate our hero’s lunch.

s2-01.jpg (7470 bytes)Anyway, back to the game. As I’ve said before, this is a platformer. That means that you’re going to have to put up with some boring ledge hopping for a bit. But fret not, around the third level it all starts to pick up. If I’m not mistaken, that’s the level when you hang glide across the canyon. It really impressed me that they’d gotten the control down for that part so well. You only hang glide in that mission. This really shows some dedication. I mean, the sheer amount of variety found in Prehistorik Man is mind boggling for a handheld platform game. You’ll go from gliding to tunneling to stealing back a relic from some disdainful apes in three levels flat! It kept a smile on my face and an inclination to play.

s8-01.jpg (8418 bytes)Ah, but what of the play? Solid, solid stuff. While I still think that Sam jumps far too high for how… how do I put this… big he is, I can see why they did it (makes for far more forgiving platform jumping). The control is tight and quite basic. Basic, but very intuitive. To run you do Up-Left or Up-Right. To use your weapon you hit B. To jump, A. To look around, L, and to do Sam’s special move, the shout (which kills everything on the screen except for bosses), you tap the R button. This enables good control for combat and exploration, and since they are both so crucial (more emphasis on exploration, with you getting judged by a tribe elder after each level on how much food you brought back) I never felt like I was fighting the controls, which is a very good thing. Enemies are tough, but never impossible. Even the bosses are at a good difficulty level.

s3-01.jpg (9009 bytes)I do have a couple of gameplay qualms though. Prehistorik Man uses a password system for saving. So what? A lot of handheld games do. But it’s different here. You have to find a store in the level and buy the password with items you’ve been collecting. A novel idea, but highly frustrating. The Game Boy Advance was made so you could play five minutes here, ten there and get a good experience out of it. In this game you basically have to sit down and play through the entire thing at once.

s7-01.jpg (9530 bytes)The graphics are very tasty eye-candy for a GBA game. Multiple layers of scrolling, vibrant colors, the works. And not a hint of slowdown to boot. Still, it doesn’t break any boundaries or redefine what a portable game can look like. It works.

Much like the visuals, the audio is above average, but not amazing. The music is pretty good, but it’s nothing like the Mario Bros. Theme, which I can recite perfectly even to this day. I did get annoyed at Sam’s grunts after a few levels.

s1-01.jpg (12197 bytes)Prehistorik Man is a game far superior to its name. Inventive gameplay, solid controls, and genuine fun all in a game that can’t spell it’s own title properly. I was impressed once I gave it a chance and that glee never subsided the whole way through. Prehistorik Man is without a doubt one of the best platformers on the system. Go buy it.

David Logan   (01/22/2002)


Ups: Good, varied gameplay; good control; fun.

Downs: Bad plot; really terrible save and restart system.

Platform: Game Boy Advance