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CREATED JUN.16.2007
UPDATED JAN.13.2008
CREDITS
TEXT WRITTEN BY
MARTIN NIELSEN
BIG NOSE THE CAVEMAN - EXPOSED
HAIRY, SUPPOSEDLY SCARY... AND HAS A DAMN BIG NOSE!
In my very humble oppinion Big Nose never really became a video game character that people would remember or even hear of, even though he actually appeared on several platforms from the Amiga to Atari to Nintendo. Well in this article my aim is to provide a little history of a long lost caveman who indeed was well equipped, nose wise.

Big Nose was invented by Optimus Software early 1990 and his games were published by Codemasters. Optimus Software was founded in 1988 by yet another couple of brothers out of Great Brittain, the Falcus brothers, Darren and Jason. In 1993 Optimus merged with Iguana Entertainment, also known as Acclaim Studios Teesside. However in August 2000 the Falcus brothers left Iguana to form a new software studio, called Atomic Planet, which still exist today and even develops games for the latest Nintendo systems.

Optimus delivered a few low budget game titles to Codemasters, such as the NES games Boomerang Kid and Soccer Simulator. Both ended up on two Codemasters compilation cartridges, Quattro Adventure and Quattro Sports. But Big Nose was most likely their biggest asset at the time as he managed to secure two game releases on the NES alone and they were not just stuffed on a compilation cartridge.

The first Big Nose was called "Big Nose the Caveman" and was released cross platform, being released on the Amiga, Atari ST and the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game must have been such a great success that a few other Big Nose games appeared during 1992, more precisely Big Nose's American Adventure (Commdore/Spectrum) and our very own Big Nose Freaks-Out on the NES. Actually Codemasters had planned a Sega release featuring Big Nose, however this time the game was to be called "Dinobasher featuring Bignose the Caveman". The year was 1994 and cavemen supposedly weren't as hip as they used to be, or the fact that the Sega Master System was no longer selling well, the Sega release of Big Nose therefore went unreleased.

Another funny thing is that when Codemasters decided to manufacture NES cartridges themselves and release them across Europe, pretty much every Codemasters NES game but Big Nose ended up in the hands of European consumers.

There's a little mystery surrounding the Big Nose NES games. Back in 2003 a Camerica prototype game was found in Canada, containing a game called Big Nose and the Witchdoctor. The cartridge had "Bignose Jan 92 II: Demo version and attract" written on it and had no label.

Not a whole lot is known about this cartridge other than it's a very early demo of what could have become Big Nose Freaks-Out or better yet a totally new installment of Big Nose. As stated the game was basicly nothing more than a tech demo as no music is available and the game only consists of one stage where you can collect a few bones while pretty much everything else in the game is disabled. This piece of information could very well mean that Big Nose and the Witchdoctor was the original name for Big Nose Freaks-Out.

BIG NOSE THE CAVEMAN

The first Big Nose game, called Big Nose the Caveman, is a pretty straight forward platform game featuring some sweet cartoony graphics, though the box art is no masterpiece, showing what looks like a drunk brittish guy pretending to be a smartass with a prehistoric baseball bat. Besides Big Nose has more hair in the actual game than on the cover picture, so it must be a stand in featured on the cover.

The game takes place on a few small prehistoric islands. The problem is that there are no animals to hunt and the cavemen and women are growing tired of eating lettuce. With thanksgiving only a few days away Big Nose feels that he has to do something about as he too is tired of lettuce.

So what does a man do? Well an old legend says that a peanut butter mine exists on the island and Big Nose therefore sets off to find this mine. But not long into his jurney he finds himself being attacked by a gigantic pterodactyl and realizes that the giant bird is enough to feed the village and save thanksgiving.

Jump and hack your way through several levels on each of the four islands, Paradise Island, Monster Island, Terror Island, and Chaos Island and don't forget to collect some bones on your way, they'll work as coins to buy upgrades and other usefull items. Unfortunately Big Nose is a bit of a girl when it comes to being hit, he'll die from a single hit unless he carries stones, then he'll drop those first and you'll have an extra change.

It was released in 1991, the prime time for Nintendo Entertainment System and was one of the first titles published in the US by Canadian based company Camerica.

BIG NOSE FREAKS-OUT

Here's the sequel to the first game although completely different as it's no ordinary platformer, and the artwork screw up has been fixed as well. Big Nose Freaks-Out has a nice red box with a very well drawn picture of Big Nose on a prehistoric skateboard, the skateboard actually plays a big role in this game.

Once again Big Nose is out to collect bones while avoiding all the animals who for some reason are quite angry with Big Nose, could it be because he ate some of their family. Anyway the story goes like this. Some 17 million year BC Big Nose was on his way to deposit a large amount of bones at the Savings and Bones bank, probably collected in his first adventure.

Unfortunately Leroy the Lizardman knocked out Big Nose and stole his collection of bones and when Big Nose woke up he freaked out when realizing that his bones were missing. So Big Nose invented a prehistoric skateboard and set out on a quest to catch Leroy in five worlds sidescrolling platformer each with 4 levels to complete. At the end of each world Leroy will make a dino monster attack you.

Just like the first game Big Nose will be carrying his prehistoric baseball bat but rocks are also available for use just like in the original game. The game was released in 1992 and reappeared for the Aladdin Deck Enhancer's launch in 1993 as one of the six launch titles.

To be honest I think the second game is the least playable to the two, while the first game was a basic platformer, the second game reminds me of Uniracer from the SNES, maybe Nintendo stole the idea from Big Nose?, with a touch of good old platform gaming which I love. But unfortunately the two doesn't mix very well.

I've been trying to get a small interview with the Falcus brothers about the old days and the current where abouts of Big Nose, did he make so much money off these games that he's now retired and doesn't care about the video game business any more? or is he being held captured in a desk drawer, being fed with lettuce, somewhere in england? One more question is still unanswered, did Big Nose feel that he was too great for Europe since he didn't have his games released here? yeah one really wonders if it all got to his head, or nose.

Well unfortunately the Falcus brothers have not been available to answer my questions sadly, so people I know you've been wondering about Big Nose' where abouts too (okay maybe not), but it seems like he's still MIA (that's Missing In Action) and it just might stay that way forever.

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