Prehistorik 2

Looks better, isn't better

Looks better, isn’t better

Okay, then, so Prehistorik has a sequel, the name of which you can probably guess, and I decided to try it out and see if it was any better than the original ‘Rik which was, frankly, bloody disappointing despite my memory lying to me about it being quite good.

And the sad, short, answer is no, it’s not really.

There’s a nice touch at the start where the program prints up the year and expresses astoundment that the game is still being run and played. Unfortunately, this is the most surprising and likeable thing about the whole package.

There’s clearly been an attempt to improve on the previous game in terms of gameplay. When you load the game up it has a very console feel, from the title screen to the Ghosts n Goblins-style “game map” at the start to the much improved graphics. What’s weird though is, despite all this, it still feels horrendously clunky and 8-bit. The scrolling is still jerky and “screen by screen” rather than continuous and the control feels loose and imprecise. It’s been given a new lick of paint but for all the good looks it feels like a very old game engine running underneath some 1990s graphical sheen. And even without those problems it’s all a bit boring and uninspiring: Rik has to collect food again and enter caves, jump over spikes, twat monsters with his club. You get the idea. There are also some clumsy “features” which don’t quite work like the rubbish “lights off” pick-up which changes the colours so it appears dusk has fallen (until a “lights on” icon is collected) and the odd decision to make level codes a part of the background rather than appearing once a level is completed meaning the player is expected to take notes whilst playing. When Rik gets hit by an enemy he often shouts out what sounds like “Why?!”, it’s practically the tagline to this game. There’s really nothing to recommend Prehistorik 2 other than as a curio. A shame.

Faintly interesting thing about Prehistorik 2: it was released on unusual formats. As well as DOS-based PC (rather than Amiga and Atari ST) it was also published for the Amstrad CPC and CPC + (but not Commodore 64 or, again, Amiga or ST). There’s also a heavily-redesigned SNES port (where, confusingly, the caveman isn’t called Rik, even though the name is still used in the punning re-title of Prehistorik Man). It’s still pretty rubbish, though, despite feeling much slicker, suggesting that there was never much milage in this sequel.

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