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The Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino & Hoppy (NES) artwork

The Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino & Hoppy (NES) review


"Fortunately, there are plenty of reasons to keep trying, even when you find yourself dying more than you might like. For one, the levels themselves are quite pretty. Sure, they donít boast a lot of polygons or even colors, but the artists rendered them in a quaint style that can cheer you as you travel through them. Dense jungles somehow seem cheerful thanks to vibrant colors. An undersea level oozes charm, as does a distant island resort youíll visit late in the game."



Although itís difficult to get a lot of enjoyment from The Flintstones now, there were several years following its NES release where I played it quite frequently and had a great time doing so almost without exception. Based off the cartoon of the same name, it served as one of the few mascot-based games developed by anyone other than Capcom that was worth playing. Years later, it still has a certain charm. But because a lot of the original reasons to play related to technical prowess, the whole product often feels like something straight out of the Stone Age.

In the game, you assume the role of Fred Flintstone. If youíve seen the cartoon, you know him as an irascible fellow who doesnít do much other than work at the stone quarry, bowl, attend lodge meetings or get knocked over by his pet dinosaur when he walks through the front door. Dino, the pet in question, is also half the reason Fred plays hero in this game. It seems a mad scientist from the future has kidnapped the poor animal (along with neighboring pet Hoppy) for a zoo somewhere thousands of years later. The Great Gazoo, a friendly alien who has befriended Fred, will help him retrieve the animals only if his demolished time machine is restored to its former glory.

Rebuilding the machine of course requires fetching its scattered parts. And so it is that youíll spend the majority of the game running, jumping and even flying (more on that in a minute) through a variety of charming locales. At the end of each action stage is a piece that brings you that much closer to constructing the machine. Gazoo welds each fragment onto the base and in the end, youíll be able to zip into the future and beat the stuffing out of the mad scientist.

If you can navigate the levels, that is. One of the gameís biggest flaws is its often irritating play control. Though he has no protection on his feet at all, Fred spends the entire game moving as if someone strapped cement blocks to his soles. His walk is a waddle, his jumps short-lived to a point of repeated frustration. Not only that, but his timing seems a little poor. In even the first stage, itís easy to go dashing down a hill, press the button to jump, but watch him bumble his way off a ledge and into one of the gameís numerous pits. Instant death.

When heís not jumping, Fred becomes a little bit more fun to boss around. There are plenty of times where a high ledge just in front of him can be climbed by jumping, grabbing onto the edge, then hefting your considerable weight upward to a higher level. Not only that, but Fred is also equipped with a brutal club that he can charge up for powerful attacks. He can also acquire special weapons obtained by smashing crates that adorn each stage.

Unfortunately, losing a life means dropping back a bit with your weapons gone. This can lead to frustration when it comes to fighting bosses. Though you can take each of them on with no more than your club for defense, Fredís sloth-like pace makes each such experience a negative one. Itís much more fun--and more effective, as a general rule--to stand at a distance chucking projectiles. After all, your life meter is rather limited. Because many of your enemies hop around like madmen, and because Fred often canít move quickly enough to pass underneath, staying at a distance is the surest way to survive an encounter.

Fortunately, there are plenty of reasons to keep trying, even when you find yourself dying more than you might like. For one, the levels themselves are quite pretty. Sure, they donít boast a lot of polygons or even colors, but the artists rendered them in a quaint style that can cheer you as you travel through them. Dense jungles somehow seem cheerful thanks to vibrant colors. An undersea level oozes charm, as does a distant island resort youíll visit late in the game. And the whole time, some of the most memorable music the NES ever saw plays in the background. Itís enough to get you humming if youíre not careful.

A more important reason to keep completing those stages comes in the form of a little mini-game. There are three basketball courts spread throughout Bedrock. Enter one and a bully will challenge you to a game. If you win, you get an extra item you can use in the action stages. One item lets you jump high (good for collecting hidden booty). Another lets you strap on a pair of wings that you can use to fly over some of those wider pits. And still another serves as snorkel gear. You spend coins with each item use, but theyíre a nice addition to your repertoire.

Of course, first you have to actually win at those basketball games. Back in the Stone Age, without the benefit of referees, this often means playing dirty. When youíre on the defense, Fred can press the ĎBí button to ram his hapless opponent with his hip, while on the offense the same button allows him to toss the ball in the direction of the pelican beak that serves as a hoop. Such exercises can grow old in time, but they do make for a nice diversion from the norm. Then youíre done with them and itís back to the regular routine.

As I suggested at the start of the review, thereís not a bit of this that beats many of the games that followed. Just the same, The Flintstones is a nice afternoonís diversion. When youíre not dropping down bottomless pits or growling because a fast-moving enemy bested you for the third or fourth time, youíll quite likely find yourself smiling. In the end, itís hard to ask for more than that.

Rating: 6/10

honestgamer's avatar
Staff review by Jason Venter (January 26, 2005)

Jason Venter founded HonestGamers in 1998, and since then has written hundreds of reviews as the site's editor-in-chief. He also is a prolific freelancer with game reviews, articles and fiction available around the Internet.

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