As if Ray Harryhausen himself had been zapped like Captain N into the world of arcade games, SNK’s Prehistoric Isle in 1930 brings antiquated aircrafts face to face with the Thunderlizards of legend.
Booting up Prehistoric Isle should titillate any man, woman or child on some level immediately, but its appearance is more than deceiving. Visually, it looks like a really generic horizontal shooter, but the dangers contained within are unique to this title and this title alone. Much like every stop-motion-filled tale of the past ever filmed, Cavemen coexist with dinosaurs in some fashion, but these aren’t your average Raquel Welch rabblerousers. These cavemen are absolutely suicidal. They hang from Pterodactyls and drop down on your plane from above, gripping tight to your wings in an attempt to weigh you down and end your flight early. If that doesn’t work, they have no problem hanging back and tossing rocks from afar!
The real treat comes when you square off against the boss dinosaurs, which range from normal (relatively speaking) fare like the Stegosaur and Brachiosaurus, to bad mothers like the one above, listed only as [UNKNOWN DINOSAUR]. If they ever find the skeleton of THAT bad boy, then God help us all. Prehistoric Isle frequently volleys back and forth from straight up dinos to gigantic crustaceans and killer bugs from beyond the isle’s most tucked-away valleys. The pièce de résistance, unquestionably, is the final battle with the Tyrannosaurus Rex. He’s a fireball shootin’, plane-chompin’ son of a gun, and he’s not going down without a… BITE!
If you’re bold enough, download a ROM of this game and play through it with a close and trusted friend, because Prehistoric Isle is yet another one of those arcade games I wish I had discovered for myself years ago. Just like last time, I stole a few (read: most) of these images from this site, which also details the adventures you’ll find on the titular isle. Just look at those animated gifs! Oh, and if you want the ending spoiled, click here. Be warned, it is a mighty plot twist.