Platform: Gameboy Advance

Genre: Platformer

Publisher: Titus Software

Developer: Titus Software

ESRB: E (Everyone)

Released: Q4 2001

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Prehistorik Man
Score: 7.7/10

 

Pros

-Better-than-average graphics
-Storyline helps push gameplay along
-Likable hero

 

 

Cons:

-Relatively easy to complete
-Save system needs improvement
-Low replay factor

 

 

Related Links:

Review: Super Mario Advance (Gameboy Advance)

 

"With nice graphics and a storyline you don't mind following with a likeable hero, Prehistorik Man is a GBA title that has a lot going for it even though it follows the tried-and-true path of the 16-bit platform game to a "T"."

 

Back in the 16-bit gaming day when I used to frequently play my TurboGrafx-16, one of my favorite characters was the caveman Bonk from Bonk's Adventures. Maybe it was the cool sabretooth tiger clothing or the chance to kick some dino derriere. But whatever it was, something about the tough little Neanderthal with the voracious appetite made for an enjoyable gaming adventure. So when I popped in the Game Boy Advance release with a caveman as its central character, Prehistorik Man, I was hoping it would transport me back to my Bonkish platform adventure memories and in many ways it did.

 

Prehistorik-Man-1.jpg (5175 bytes)          Prehistorik-Man-2.jpg (5657 bytes)

 

Unlike another recently-released Titus Software GBA title, Kao the Kangaroo, Prehistorik Man at least has a storyline which helps hold your interest getting through the standardized 2D-platforming activity. Ported from the 1995 SNES title of the same moniker Prehistorik Man follows the instantly likable hero Sam on his journey to replenish his cave clan's stolen winter food supply, although I don't know how the cakes, ice creams and desserts that make up much of the foodstuffs that Sam finds in his journey could have possibly been part of the staple diet of his cave clan. Besides looking for food along the way you gather defeated enemy bones in order to barter for a password and collect blocks to spell out B-O-N-U-S to get to the secret bonus stages. Also providing a boost to your battle is the garnering of vehicles like the hang glider, pogo stick, and stone unicycle to use on certain parts of certain levels, and upgraded weapons like the axe and spear.

This game is 16-bit to the fossilized bone. Prehistorik Man follows the basic blueprint of 2D platform action titles that has been around since the days of PickAxe Pete. Luckily there is just enough interesting things to do along the way to carry Prehistorik Man past the all-too-familiar gameplay.

 

 

Graphics are one of Prehistorik Man's nice attributes. Everything visual is presented in an SNES-reminiscent color palette, taking advantage of the rendering ability of the GBA. Except for the large bosses, the graphics are not too excitingly displayed in the form of the various residents of Prehistorik Man's world, leveling off just a slight notch below the good-looking Super Mario Advance. The stages of Prehistorik Man are set up okay optically as far as GBA standards go. Prehistorik Man gets some points for providing a varying set of levels such as the volcano and burning trunk of a prehistoric tree to keep you away from the deja vu elements of "didn't I just play this level?" gameplay.

One unsatisfactory aspect of Prehistorik Man is that the supposedly tough bosses you have to defeat to continue your journey are really quite easy foes to vanquish. In fact, the game disappointingly puts up a half-hearted fight in the challenge department altogether. Another negative of Prehistorik Man is the crummy save feature. Supposedly (remember, I said SUPPOSEDLY) you can buy life insurance, which acts as the password feature, at the infrequent stores you come across by trading 20 bones. But some of the unbelievably long passwords I bought didn't work the next time I tried to enter it, leading to a frustrating starting over of the game from the last password that actually worked.

There is a good, responsive feel to Prehistorik Man's control scheme. With only four available GBA control options, Prehistorik Man makes the most of them. You have your usual platform action jump and attack buttons, but also by using the top right GBA button, you can use the "shout" attack that comes in handy for defeating some of the tougher-placed enemies like the monkeys and spiders. When your "shout" meter has reached its pinnacle, pushing the top right GBA button unleashes a instant death-inducing blare a banshee would be proud of owning. The top left GBA button can be used for scouting ahead, above or below Sam's current path to scope out any hidden areas or items that you couldn't see normally.

Does Prehistorik Man provide the Jurassic-sized fun of Bonk's Adventure or fall an Ice Age short? With nice graphics and a storyline you don't mind following with a likeable hero, Prehistorik Man is a GBA title that has a lot going for it even though it follows the tried-and-true path of the 16-bit platform game to a "T". Still, once you plentifully restock the cave clan's food supply, you won't feel too compelled to take another prehistoric trip. He's no Bonk, but Sam the Prehistorik Man is an interesting little character in an interesting little game that doesn't quite produce the same level of fun encountered during Mario and Sonic's GBA adventures. It nonetheless rises above the second-tier level of the plethora of GBA platform action titles out there to give you a t-rexcellent gaming quest for your money.

-Lee Cieniawa

 

(February 23, 2002)

 

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