Codemasters’ lovable caveman finally comes to the NES.
GENRE: Action platformer
RELEASE DATE: 1991
I go on journeys of self-discovery when I play through these games. For example, I discovered I have the attention span of a five-year-old who can spot mediocre send-offs of classic games. It took about ten minutes of playing through Big Nose the Caveman before I realized, “Yup, I know where this is going” and turned it off. Inevitable Mario comparison? Check. Adventure Island comparison? Double check. Your typical side-scrolling platformer starring a cave man? Why, of course! But hey, you’re not looking for in-depth analysis when you read these reviews. You’re looking for unbridled enthusiastic nonsense, and as this journey continues, I’m sure that’s what more and more of these reviews will become.
Big Nose peaks out of his cave one muggy tropical afternoon, and realizes he’s hungry. A pterodactyl flies over him, and he thinks to himself, “My goodness, that would make a fine turkey” (seriously, a little roasted turkey thought bubble pops over his head). And so, you begin your quest to track down this lone pterodactyl across all of Big Nose Island. Strangely, any of the enemies you encounter along the way – stegosauri, triceratopsees, among other meaty, fleshy dinosaurs – could provide you meat. For some reason, you really desire some cold, stringy pterodactyl that will morph into a turkey the second you learn how to make a fire.
Of course if I were Big Nose, I wouldn’t go to so much trouble. All the game consists of is jumping over lots and lots of chasms and bopping your former dinosaur friends on the head, all to satisfy your raging blood lust. Along the way, you collect bones and eat grapes. The more grapes you ravenously devour, the more rocks will shoot out of your club, but if you get hit, your rock-chucking ability will disappear and you’ll only be left with your club. Your club is ok for regular dinosaur beating, but if you’re facing a triceratops boss, watch out: they like to charge and it’s next to impossible not to get hit.
Camerica and Codemasters double-teamed for this game, much like they did for the charming day-in-the-life bee simulator, Bee 52. The latter is a far superior game. Even though both Big Nose and Bee 52 are, at their core, simplistic platforming games, the concept behind Bee 52 was unique and interesting for its time. Big Nose is just another me-too platformer in a market already besieged by mediocre platformers. Perhaps instead of haunting a poor pterodactyl, Big Nose’s nose should have grown larger and larger throughout the game, until the last few levels are fought with insane booger creatures from the planet Schnoz who have secretly been enlarging his nose for secret alien research. I’m already having fun.