Prehistoric Isle was not the most popular Shoot them Up saga in the world of videogame, and for good reason: first was released in arcades 1989 in Japan and United States, very few cabinet went out of these countries; while the second went out only for the Neo Geo MVS in 1999, while the Playstation 2 was already announced and (almost) nobody was looking for 2d games anymore. So if you are reading this right now, it's that you might have experienced and/or loved one or the other of these games, or you are fond of giant monsters nanars! There are ten years between one and the other, and while they're both running on 16-bit hardwares, PI2 has a clear advantage: not only the Neo Geo is much more powerful than PI's 68k-based, but nine years after its release, SNK's system is nearly perfectly exploited by the people of Yumekobo team.
Extravagant nature, giant dinosaurs, disgusting insects... If the graphic styles are about the same topic, the technology gap is now very clear. Nevertheless, the simplistic visuals of the
first game are full of charm and are doing good about variety, like for its Bosses, almost as large as those of the second part. This is fairly good, but even taking into account the
technological difference, this chapter is for PI2, hands down.
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If decomposition and fluidity were already watchwords in 1989, the second album took over and improved the bases! Making use of computer graphics, PI2 sprites were animated in 3D and
transposed 2D to the screen for a stunning result. It's almost perfect technically, while the action's rhythm is ideal. Best of all, some stages offer a 3d animation and some similar
effects! The only downside is the many slowdowns occuring, particularly for two players simultaneously. It's here that the first episode is distinguished: the animation is flawless. Not only
is it perfectly made for a game of 1989, allowing even a few surprises, but absolutely no slowdowns are to report from the beginning to the end. Chapeau!
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Prehistoric Isle 2
The cries of the dinosaurs and other little birds (!) are ubiquitous in the one and the other, accompanying a varied sound set, damn good quality in each of the titles. The musical themes
are worthy of a 50's japanese disaster movie, and impeccably stick to action. One clearly feels that the musicians for PI2 drew heavily from the first game, and that's a good thing. Keeping
the retro and kitsch atmophere of it and adding the power of the Neo Geo's Yamaha processor, the Yumekobo guys realized the perfect soundtrack for their game. The first one excels,
the second is even better!
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In episode one, the difficulty is devilishly high and the stages are twelve. You'll need to roll up your sleeves, because "old-school" shooters as Prehistoric Isle were not easy at all. The challenge is taking, with simple game mechanics, and one can improve quickly. By cons when completed, re-attempt the adventure can be a bit off-putting. PI2 happens very differently: the soft is easy ... and short! Only six levels, which can be completed in thirty-five minutes with some training. Anyway, the replay value is exceptional. The fun and stress of the game is such, with the scoring system, the hostages to deliver, strategies and attractiveness of the action, that many players will come back willingly even after cleared it a dozen of times! The scope for growth is important, and after some practice, the "one-credit-clear" is widely achievable. Point for PI2!
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Prehistoric Isle can't deny his "old-school" pedigree: The unit is large and easy to reach for opponents. There are the speed-ups, you can recover the module which can be improved and positioned all around the plane. Bosses they require very specific strategies to overcome, but you will also need to learn some parts of the stages to expect going trough. Prehistoric Isle 2 is quite innovative, even for a game of 1999. You're commanding an helicopter chosen among four ones, that differ for the orientation of their weapons, which can be upgraded on five levels. A secondary weapon can be attached with various possibilities: homing missiles, rockets, bombs, napalm... In addition to this arsenal, a "super-bomb" is available in limited amount with B button. To go far into the game you will need tactics and strategy in the use of weapons, just like for the scoring: not only the game features a multiplier combo system, but you will also have to deliver victims in a single place on each level. Best of all, it is possible to save civilians by recovering them in your helicopter, like in Metal Slug: if you manage to bring them to the end of the stage, the bonus is substantial! Be careful because for every shock you take, you'll lose one. Needless to say more: if PI's first of the name is conspicuous by its simplicity and retro aspect, but PI2 totally outclasses it with great controls and a damn taking gameplay.
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Prehistoric Isle was a good shoot 'em up, but the next episode literally mystifies it. Not only the realization is much better, while having managed to keep the "nanar" flavor that
made the charm of the oldest, but in addition, its gameplay provides the game a particularly addictive power. Prehistoric Isle 2 wins!
Prehistoric Isle 2