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

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

"Bedrocklevania (it's not as bad as it sounds)"

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

There's nothing about a Flintstones platformer that sounds remotely entertaining. One might imagine it boring, plagued by stiff or unresponsive controls, or even not true enough to the source material. However, Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino and Hoppy is actually a decent game. The fact that the developers played it safe and made an everyday platformer actually worked out for them. Could you see them trying to go against the grain and coming up with something like Uncanny X-Men or Who Framed Roger Rabbit? All it took was arranging the right elements in the right order. Many of these elements are familiar, as this game plays like any other platformer on NES.

The game still has its share of flaws, but they mainly stem from the fact that the elements presented could have been done better. It felt like the developers weren't shooting for the stars with this one, and who would with a Flintstones title? They seemed to aim for just passable, and they at least got that right.

Fred and Co., along with Gazoo, were all minding their own business when a Dr. Wily ripoff from the future named Dr. Butler arrived and took Dino and Hoppy, claiming he needed them for his zoo. So, he couldn't just abduct two other random dinosaurs? They had to be ones that happen to be family pets? This guy sounds like a real ass. Of all the evil plans that any mastermind could concoct, and his was to use a time machine to steal a couple family pets. I'm going to throw on a ski mask and knock over a display at the local grocery store. Yeah, that'll show them. He did up the evilness a little, because after that he destroyed Gazoo's time machine and sent the pieces to the furthest reaches of the continent. Okay, he's a huge ass. This left Fred and Co. on a mission to recover the pieces so they can go to the future and do battle with Dr. Wi- um... Dr. Butler.

Sol, the developers, didn't want to take a less predictable but less desirable route, and it paid off. Mostly. You move Fred across the screen, building momentum a bit like Mario. Fred has a tendency to slide a little when stopping, which can result in plummeting into holes fairly often. Enemies are cleverly placed throughout each level, and it's up to Fred to horribly bludgeon them to death with his club. Tiny barrels appear throughout levels containing power ups and Castlevania-like sub-weapons like an egg bomb, a stone axe much like the one from the aforementioned game, or a slingshot. These items take coins instead of hearts, which can be gained by defeating enemies. At the end of each level is a boss, and defeating the boss will net you one piece of Gazoo's time machine.

Gazoo can also grant you special powers like flight and diving that will cost you a few coins for each use (that is, every time you hit the A button after initiating the ability). These are invaluable abilities, and they add a little extra depth to the game.

The platforming elements are solid. There are so many different situations you can get into that it adds a gracious amount of variety to the game. No two levels look exactly alike. They may have similarities, but each one has parts that are unique to the level. For instance, there is one village level where you drop down into the sewers and must travel across the screen on a boat, jumping over obstacles and fighting off the occasional enemy. Another level in a castle has you trying to outrun rising lava. Let me tell you, many an f-bomb escaped my lips trying to get through that one. The enemies also play into the platforming aspect of the game. Each one is well thought out and intelligently placed. The opulence of single-hit enemies also keeps the game moving at an even pace.

You'd think that means the combat in the game is solid. Not exactly. There is not much more to the combat than hitting B repeatedly or holding B down and doing a charged up attack. The combat is very simplistic, as it should be. It isn't the simplicity that's at fault, but the hit detection with Fred's club. With some enemies, you to hit them just right or the shots won't register. The worst of all the enemies are the muggers that appear in both the village and the castle. You can clearly see that you've hit those guys and have done absolutely no damage, your club going right through them. This is the most irritating part of the game, because the hit detection goes faulty at critical moments. In the castle you fight a vampire boss who throws bats at you. The bats are another enemy plagued by the hit detection problem, and failing to hit those bats when fighting this boss can spell doom in a hurry, especially since you often have to cut through a bat just to land a hit on the vampire. With the vamp tossing bats in quick succession, the faulty hit detection makes this boss needlessly tough. The strange thing about this is it isn't every enemy that has hit detection issues, but certain ones.

If it's not the hit detection pissing you off, it's the controls. When you hold the A button down, Fred can cling onto certain ledges. Pushing up on the D-pad will cause him to pull himself onto the ledge. There are a couple problems with this: Fred moves too slowly, and sometimes Fred doesn't pull himself up no matter how many times you hit up. He'll swing there on the ledge as if wondering if he should let go and end it all. It's aggravating, especially during the rising lava scene.

Most of these are minor nitpicks rather than major flaws, but that's what keeps this game from getting a higher score. It's decent, but it's not great. Every element of the game, save for the platforming aspect, could have been executed more effectively. The graphics are a great example of this. On one end, they follow the art style of The Flintstones. If you saw almost any one of the enemies out of the context of the game, you might instantly think, “That looks like something from out of The Flintstones.” In that sense, the game is true to its source material, something that a lot of licensed video games aren't. On the other hand, there are questionable uses of the color pallet. There's one level that features an ugly salmon sky with basic, single colored trapezoids in the background for mountains. Talk about a Silent Assault flashback. That compared to other levels with actually decent environments off sets the game. The graphics are either well utilized or nauseating. It's like the developers only wanted some of the levels to look good. You can also see some questionable colors in the other characters. I don't remember Barney having dark brown hair, nor do remember Wilma having black hair. Everyone's colors are way off.

The sound is one of the lowest points of the game. At times, the music is grating. The tones are overly happy and ear-splitting, highlighted by high-pitched and sugary tones. Those are things you would expect from a more childish game. That combined with the childish sound effects that sounds like hungry chicks in a nest just make the all around audio even more ear-splitting. Add that up with the challenge factor and you wonder who they were marketing this game to. The gameplay suggests 10 and up, but sounds like something marketed to kids younger than 10.

Many of those elements are paltry compared to the sum of all the parts. The game is actually quite fun and decently challenging. You get infinite continues, so the aggravation isn't too great. There are quite a few well crafted, clever scenes with that require timing and precise jumping and planning. The game is far from a masterpiece, but for being a licensed title of a series that no one would ever expect to become an effective video game, it's out of this world. Rescue of Dino and Hoppy is decent and worth a try for any platformer fans.

Rating: 7/10

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (October 01, 2010)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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