SOFTWARE REVIEW: A PREHISTORIC TALE BY THALION SOFTWARE
by Stefan Posthuma
"Wow...what a trip!", Jeff sighed as he admired the colorful
sparkles that surrounded him.
Cronos shook his head to get rid of the giddy feeling that
always accompanied time travel. He scanned the surroundings, and
soon concluded that there were no dangers imminent and relaxed.
They stepped out of the sparkling transporter field, Jeff
shouldered his ghettoblaster and they started out to find those
precious dinosaur eggs they were sent to find.
Pink Floyd music is adored by thousands of hippies around the
world, but to a Tyrannosaurus Rex, it is totally incomprehensible
(and probably edible), so Elmer emerged from his cave and decided
to examine (and taste) the source of the strange sounds.
"Oh wow man, check this out!", Jeff exclaimed as he discovered a
huge 5-leaved plant sprouting from the prehistoric soil.
"This one is good for a couple of dozen joints", Jeff said and
started yanking the large herb from the ground.
Cronos didn't totally understand Jeff's fascination with the
strange plant, and he didn't like the noise coming from the radio
that Jeff brought. In fact, Cronos didn't like that he had to go
on this mission with Jeff. It was not that he didn't like him,
you could always have a good laugh with the old hippie, but he
was not really focused on what he was doing. Cronos was always
told to be focused on one thing at a time, and he focused on
finding eggs now and not on strange plants and loud music.
"Come on, will ya!", he said and started off towards a patch of
trees that just might hide some of those big, leathery eggs that
were so valuable to the boys back home.
"Yeah...shit..", Jeff was pulling at the plant with all his
might, but the plant was firmly rooted and had no intension of
travelling through time and ending up being smoked at some weird
Cronos looked over his shoulder and saw Jeff struggling with the
big piece of vegetation. "Shit", he mumbled and ran over to Jeff,
and took him by the collar and pulled hard.
Jeff was holding on to the plant with both arms and when Cronos
pulled him off it, one leaf tore off and Jeff crashed to the
ground, clutching the piece of herb.
"Allright!", Jeff cried and quickly stuffed the leaf in one of
his pockets, and picked up the ghettoblaster.
"When we get back we have to do some serious smoking!"
Elmer craned his neck to see over the trees and saw two, large
apes walking on their back legs. The sound was emerging from one
of them (the skinny one, use him as an appetizer) and the other
one (wow, pretty meaty looking) would do nicely for dinner.
"Wow, major dinosaur thing over there man!", Jeff exclaimed as
he spotted Elmer's huge head and the gaping mouth containing
rows of dripping fangs.
"Shit," Cronos sighed and pulled the Dino-Blast rifle, set it to
'Totally Annihilate' and aimed it roughly at the carnivorous
dinosaur in front of him.
First note: You might wonder why Cronos didn't aim more
precisely. Well, when you set a Dino-Blast rifle
to 'Totally Annihilate', it will be so devastating
that everything in a 50 metre half-circle in front
of the shooter will be reduced to a pile of
smoking ashes. Normally, this is only used when
attacked by a gang of at least 5 hunger-crazed
dinosaurs, but Cronos always wanted to do things
"Jeff, take cover", Cronos yelled.
Jeff, who was examining some zarjaz colored stones he found,
looked up and sat down behind a rock, taking the leaf from his
pocket. He stared at it like a mother looks at her newborn baby,
cradling it in his arms. Shine on you crazy diamond...
"Eat sub-atomic particle distorters, sucker", Cronos whispered
and pulled the trigger.
Cronos expected a small-scale armageddon to take place right in
front of him, but all that happened was that the gun spluttered a
bit and finally emitted a small ball of light that flew towards
the Tyrannosaurus, hitting it in the chest.
Elmer wasn't happy.
In fact, Elmer was extremely pissed off.
That big ape did something and now he felt this sharp pain on
his chest, making him rather angry. He already felt the migraine
coming again, and he hadn't even had dinner yet!
So he roared, and crashed throught the trees, going for the big
ape, mouth watering, fangs ready to tear flesh and shatter bones.
For a tiny fraction of a nanosecond, Cronos was worried. The
gun failed and now a infuriated Tyrranosaurus Rex was coming
towards him - and it didn't look like it came to give him a
Jeff looked up from his rock and quickly sat down again.
"I feel some very negative vibes here", he muttered while
changing the tape in his ghettoblaster. "Dark side of the
Now he was clearly instructed to let Cronos handle the fighting.
He was there because he was pretty good at identifying those
pretty amazing dinosaur eggs and because he secretly hoped to
find the forefathers of the modern Llama, and maybe have a word
with one of those caveman dudes to get some pointers on herbal
Cronos backed off a bit, nearly stumbling over a small dead tree
lying on the ground. Thoughts connected in his head and he picked
up the tree and smacked the dinosaur with it in the stomach.
Now the beast surely wasn't prepared for this kind of action,
was almost knocked off its feet, and was left gasping for breath,
getting angrier all the time.
Elmer decided that it was time for some clever movements and
swung his large, scaled tail and succesfully hit the large ape
full in the chest. Now a direct hit from his tail was enough to
fell small trees, so he expected no more troubles from this nasty
creature. He paused for a while, admiring his work - the ape was
Cronos felt like a train had run over him. He was thrown against
the large rock and heard and felt several crushing noises. Also,
he lost his hearing aid and his consiousness.
Jeff felt the rock tremble and decided that it was time to
investigate things. Now he knew Cronos' reputation and expected
the dinosaur to be reduced to something harmless, and was a bit
surprised to find Cronos lying on the rock, spaced out.
"Hey Cronos, are you allright. You need an aspirin or
Jeff looked up to the towering figure of the dinosaur and felt a
bit nervous, it didn't look very friendly.
"Err..hey man, take it easy. I mean lose the violence scene
okay? Shit Cronos, I need you man..."
Elmer was glowering. Time to eat. The only thing he had to do
now was to decide which one to devour first...
Jeff's mind was racing. How to get Cronos around again?
He fumbled madly for the pouch hanging from a necklace on his
chest. It contained his emergency joint, and boy, this was an
emergency! He lit it and inhaled deeply, pausing very briefly to
admire the taste of the great stuff and exhaled into Cronos'
face. The dinosaur was slowly approaching.
Once more he blew a large amount of blue smoke into Cronos' face
and Cronos coughed, blinked his eyes and got to his feet
immediately when he recognized the smell.
Cronos slapped himself in the face to get his act together and
immediately remembered the rather large dino that he had to deal
with immediately. He spun around and ducked to avoid a huge claw
aimed at his head.
The monster's jaws snapped and it roared as it found out that it
"Wow, you gotta do something about your breath odor man!", Jeff
said and hid under the rock this time.
"Show time!", yelled Cronos. He had positioned himself behind
the monster and produced a number of small explosives attached to
a chain. He swung the chain a couple of times and let go, the
chain wound itself around the neck of the creature and the
explosives detonated upon impact, sending the monster thrashing
around, blinded, mad.
Elmer was having a bad day. Not only did he have a massive
migraine now, he was also hungry and was totally confused by some
very painful things that hit him. While trying to get rid of the
pain, he saw the large ape move around, picking up the small
Cronos sensed victory as he grabbed the tree and hit the
creature on the head with all his might. The tree was smashed,
splinters flying around. He dinosaur crashed to the ground, large
clouds of dust going up in the air, the ground rumbled.
"Right", Cronos stated. He walked over to the rock and collected
"Jouser, he looks kinda goofy now. You didn't really kill him
"Naahh..he'll live", Cronos mumbled.
Jeff climbed off the rock, carefully avoiding some dead rats
"Come on, we've got work to do."
Elmer was knocked out cold. He felt faint rumbles in his stomach
as he was lying there. One thought crossed his mind just before
he passed out.
"I need a vacation."
A Prehistoric Tale is a game with a tale behind it allright.
Last summer, (yes, a year ago) most of the notorious Lost Boys
were present at the office of Thalion Software. Tim (Manikin) was
programming, Dave (Spaz) was graphicing and Fabian (Oxygene ...
just joined!) was assisting a bit. Also, yours truly was present
some weekends to bring the Plantiac and to hang out and to join
the Lost Boys too.
Now Richard is really responsible for this game. He designed it,
wrote all manuals and shit and motivated (read: harassed) Tim and
Dave into doing their best.
I remember that summer being a hot one. I still have a picture
on my monitor of all people that worked on the game, we are all
wearing shorts and T-shirts and Dave is sitting on two crates of
Coke. Boy, did we freak out, getting drunk on Plantiac,
programming, finishing 'Life's A Bitch' and of course, the game.
How about an (objective!) review?
In this game you are Cronos the timetravelling dinosaur egg
collector. You have to collect the eggs and teleport them to
the present times so the dinosaurs can be preserved.
Of course, there are all sorts of dangers lurking in the
prehistoric times, from man-eating plants to hordes of crazed
locusts that endanger your life.
The setup of the game is quite simple, you control a man that
runs around a screen full of platforms and ladders and you have
to collect eggs while staying away from nasties.
At all times, there is the teleport field sitting somewhere in
the screen where you have to bring your eggs and where you can
replenish your energy. It has the habit of moving around though,
so you have to plan your route across the platforms.
As we all know, eggs hatch and so they do in this game. Lovely
baby dinosaurs emerge from them, and you can catch these by
jumping over them. When you do so, they are safely encaged,
protecting them from the cruel world, with baby-dinosaur eating
spiders and other lurking horrors.
As soon as you have collected all the eggs and baby dinosaurs,
you can leave the level, and bonus points are awarded depending
on how many eggs you collected ect.
During the game, all sorts of bonuses appear that sometimes give
you points, or extra lives.
The graphics are simple yet effective, and there are lots of
little funny things in them if you look close enough. Tim did
quite a good job coding it, even though it is not very complex.
No scrolling, no complex sprites and patterns, but still, it
looks good and smooth (1 vbl).
Music and sonix are by Mad Max, so we all know that they must
Playing this game by yourself can be boring, running around the
platforms and collecting the eggs. There isn't enough happening
to keep you occupied, but as soon as a second player joins, it
becomes good fun!
Jeff will join the action and the two of you will run around the
screen, snatching eggs away just before the other one reaches
them, teleporting the energy field away, throwing boulders on top
of one another and generally having a laugh about it.
Now this is not the most amazing game ever produced on the ST,
but especially if you play it with two people, it can be good
fun. Also, there are lots of levels (80) with quite some
different graphics, sub-games (between certain levels) and hidden
levels. A few soundtracks and nice highscore screen and an
absolutely brilliant game over sequence (I wrote it!) make it
Title: A Prehistoric Tale
Company: Thalion Software
Value for money: 7
Overall rating: 7
Hardware: Colour monitor
Remark: You should play it with two!
Thanks to Ritch for getting me the copy I more or less deserved.
Review copies would have been impossible, knowing Thalion's
recent marketing strategies (if that's what you can call them).
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.