DinoBasher was a platform game being developed for the Sega Master System by Optimus Software and was due to be published by Codemasters in 1993. The game was a port of Big Nose the Caveman that had been released on the NES in 1991.
The game had a very cartoon like art style and the aim of the game was to club dinosaurs for Big Noses dinner. There was going to be four large islands for the player to explore and you would navigate between them using your club as a helicopter, to become the “first flying man”. You would also collect bones and rocks that you would be able to trade with the natives of the islands.
DinoBasher differs from most cancelled games though as it was actually completely finished and box art had been completed, the game had also been sent out to publications for review. Sega Power magazine gave it a terrible 42% and called it “Prehistoric Poo Poo” the review also said that it was a very generic platformer and the pacing was very slow.
The poor reviews seem to be one of the main reasons that this game was never actually released, this and the fact that it was due to be released towards the end of the Master Systems lifecycle. It could be that Codemasters wanted to concentrate on other games for the new 16bit platform such as the hugely popular Micro Machines for the Sega Megadrive. Codemasters at this time as well had started to cut down on releasing budget games and wanted to concentrate on full-price titles.
Even though the game was cancelled as it was completely finished DinoBasher can now be played as it was leaked online. There are tons of YouTube videos of the game and a rom can be downloaded and you can even play it in your browser.
Optimus Software was eventually bought out by Iguana UK in 1993, who were then acquired by Acclaim Entertainment and renamed Acclaim Studios Teesside. This studio was then also closed in 2002 and the majority of the staff were relocated to Acclaim Studio Cheltenham whose last game was RC Revenge released in 2013.
Codemasters continues to work on games today and primarily works on the F1 series of games from their Birmingham offices and also the Race Driver Grid games from the Kuala Lumpur office founded in 2006.
Thanks a lot to SMS Power for the contribute!