Caveman Craig is an award-winning, unique survival-strategy video game in which you manage a tribe of cavemen and protect them from vicious prehistoric predators
What We Think
Caveman Craig 2 is a simple 2D side-scrolling RTS game, which feels a little cluttered. The bringing-together of the two genres makes for more frantic running around than fun.
Jurassic Park Life
As a caveman leader, the player must command various other units and is required to train them in every action they will bring to the battlefield. I emphasize – this must be done for every single unit you produce. While this keeps you very active, CC2 requires it in a way that feels forced and tedious.
I’ll state this up front: In a game about “cavemen”, I would prefer not seeing dinosaurs because…well, at that point you might as well throw away any semblance of history, give me a light-sabre and have at it. Yet, there they are: dinosaurs. The point is, they feel like more of an anachronistic hindrance and I, for one, curse John Hammond every time a giant lizard kills one of my units.
CC2 isn’t exactly unique, and does little to differentiate itself from other side-scrolling RTS titles. You build units and train them. You face off against enemy caveman leaders (who are generally ass-hats), with your hard-wrought, freshly trained units who march away to bring them down.
There are three essential building unit classes: Hunter, Gatherer, and Preparer. The Hunter has a club for melee attacks and a rock for ranged attacks. As leader you must pick up rocks and show the Hunters how to throw and how to use a club, which, incidentally, is always equipped. These hunters will be able to kill dinosaurs for food and defend your land from the enemy.
The Gatherers drag the body of the dead dinosaurs back to the preparing area in addition to gathering fruit from trees and bushes. The meat doesn’t seem to do anything, as you don’t require food to live. If you want to heal any of your units, however, you will require the fruit you harvest.
The Preparers require training to cut up the dead dinosaurs into meat and stomp the fruit into fruit juice or wine.
All of these actions award you, the player, with experience points (XP) as well as additional points required to perform them. XP is awarded when units exercise their abilities. Consumable points can be exchanged to acquire more units and XP can be traded in for helpful perks like trained units, whole groups of trained units, the ability to instantly grow bushes, or even to bring in teachers to train your units for you.
Teach A Man to (Evolve From) Fish
The idea of having teachers take up the task of training sounds like it should mitigate the repetitive nature of having to constantly micro-manage their learning. Sadly, this is not the case. Though a great deal of time is required to train a unit, you are still required to stand nearby. If this isn’t done, the untrained unit will go off once it learns half of what is necessary to be fully prepared. For example, a hunter will learn either melee or rock-throwing and rush off to do that with the tribe, instead of first learning the other half of his skillset. This can result in Preparers that only prepare meat and gatherers that only gather fruit.
Completing the game simply requires that the player trudge endlessly to the right, destroying all tribes that get in the way. While trekking thusly, it is necessary to destroy the statues of enemy leaders. These signify that you are in unfriendly territory and if they remain standing, your tribe should vacate or risk being attacked. Destroying a statue will erect a statue of your own Caveman Leader, signifying a claim to the turf. These statues can only be destroyed by your own (that is to say, the Caveman leader’s) ranged attacks; friendly units can’t help with this.
Randomly, rocks thrown at the statue will miss, and the instant a rock makes contact, the enemy will throw everything he has at the player. It makes for a very annoying process, and it can take up to five minutes to bring one down entirely. The player seems somewhat weak, as there are 10-20 hunters nearby, but this relatively large army sits idly by watching as their leader throws dozens of rocks at a statue.
As a 2D side-scroller fan and an RTS fan it could be imagined that I’d love to see the two combined. Here, however, it feels the core game is flawed; unfortunately, in this case the fusing of the genres creates an experience of unnecessary tedium, add to which, the player can only control the Caveman Leader, and only see what is around him on screen. All of the running around makes it nearly impossible to effectively micromanage anything outside of the current view.
Overall, Caveman Craig 2 felt more like work than play. That said, the game offered side games that I often found more entertaining than the main event. Unfortunately, one is required to progress through the main title to unlock them, one by one. Nonetheless, the mini games do drive up my final rating a bit.