The big C64 news in March 1992 was the imminent arrival of 16-bit supergame Chuck Rock on the “humble” eight-bitter. In the end, that caveman sim (are we sure about this? – Ed) would never be released in the UK – though copies of the Italian release go for four figure sums on eBay today. There was another neanderthal-ish game that definitely was out to buy that Spring, though: Big Nose’s American Adventure.
Big Nose is a caveman who’s got caught up in a timewarp and landed in modern day Manhattan. His animal friends are there, too. There are six of them trapped in cages around the city. He must wander around, first finding the key to a cage and then releasing his imprisoned buddies one by one.
BNAA is exactly what you imagine it to be: a cheap and cheerful Codemasters’ platformer. It’s pretty big, and you tend to venture upwards Rainbow Islands style – but without the time limit or urgency. You’ve got three main enemies to be thinking about. There are NY cops, construction workers and fire. Touch any of ’em and you’re dead. You can fight back, though, with an infinite supply of rocks. There are collectables, too: Big Nose likes hamburgers the best, which you can pick up for extra points. Accidentally pick up a beer, though, and you’re drunk and not entirely in control of our hero for a bit. Nice touch!
The graphics are very budget: all greens and yellows and that darkish brown colour that never really works. Big Nose himself is blocky and cumbersome, reminiscent of the clumsy sprite in Wonderboy. The visuals are functional, but by 1992 even four quid games were generally much classier looking. Next to CJ’s Elephant Antics, Big Nose looks like it’s from a different age.
It can be infuriating, with some pixel perfect jumps required. And it gets a bit samey. If you’re a fan of Codemasters’ games, you’ll no doubt notice how similar it is to Tarzan Goes Ape by the same programmer and artist, too. So don’t expect any surprises. But for as long as it lasts, the game is good fun. It’s straightforward, good-natured and pretty much comes down to whether or not you like platformers. CF
CF SAID: “You can get hooked on Big Nose.”
WE SAY: Nice nose gag, but we’re not so sure. It’s fun for one afternoon, but you probably won’t go back.