Thursday 22 October 2015

Prehistorik 2 (Amstrad CPC review)

Developer: Titus Interactive
Publisher: Titus Interactive
Released: 1993

Prehistorik 2 is a platform game and one of the final titles to be released on the Amstrad CPC.

The premise is simple and sees you playing the role of a caveman on the hunt for food. Your main weapon is a Club but you can access a Big Hammer (powerful but slow), an Axe (projectile but doesn't do much damage) and a Big Swirling Axe (most powerful but very slow). You start off with four lives and the heart counter in the bottom-right shows how many hits you can take before losing one. In an amusing twist whenever you take damage and then defeat that enemy six bones fly out into the scenery; if you quickly collect them all you'll gain a heart back! Although jumping is a bit floaty the platforming action is solid with large levels, a wide range of enemies and smooth scrolling. You're encouraged to explore your surroundings as there's level warps and tons of hidden rooms. I really liked that you can hold the Fire button to repeatedly use your weapon and that it can be swung Up or Down depending on enemy locations. Later in the game bottomless pits are everywhere and some parts are annoyingly maze-like but there are some cool moments like the underground pit where you ride moving platforms while fending off bad guys. The graphics look astonishing and really push the humble CPC to its limit; however, it does come at a cost as there's tons of slowdown when too many enemies are on screen. While it's not a huge problem it does make the controls a bit sticky and occasionally unresponsive. There's a couple of bosses spread throughout the game and although their patterns are simple they have impressive looking sprites and are enjoyable to fight. There's only one music track and while it's good it resets every time you enter a new location or cave making it very repetitive.

Prehistorik 2 has a few technical issues but thankfully they don't mar the game too much and it's still a top notch platformer. The action is fantastic with just the right level of challenge and overall it's a fitting swansong for Amstrad's 8-bit machine.

Random trivia: The game was also released on DOS in 1993 and was later ported to the Game Boy in 1996 as Prehistorik Man.

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