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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

Look, I'm not going to lie: a Flintstones-themed platformer sounds dreadful. I wouldn't fault you for expecting such a game to be too plain, plagued by stiff or unresponsive controls, or even untrue to its source material. However, Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino and Hoppy is actually a solid title, mostly thanks to its developer, SOL, taking a simple route when producing it. The end result is an everyday platformer with all the right franchise trappings, which is more than I can say for licensed NES titles like Uncanny X-Men and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends. I know familiarity won't win a dev much acclaim, but neither will developing a Flintstones game, so kudos to SOL for not trying to make this product monumental.

Moving Fred should invoke instant recognition, as he builds momentum similarly to Mario. He even has a tendency to slide a little when stopping, which can result in plummeting into holes fairly often, if you're not careful. As with the aforementioned plumber's adventures, you'll find enemies cleverly placed throughout each level of Dino and Hoppy, and it's up to Fred to horribly bludgeon them to death with his club. Tiny barrels pop up now and then, containing power-ups and Castlevania-like sub-weapons, including egg bombs, stone axes, and a slingshot. With an effective enough arsenal, you can then go on to slay an area boss and received a piece of Gazoo's time machine, needed to travel to the future to battle a deranged scientist, Dr. Butler, who has captured Dino and Hoppy.

...and because every good platformer from the '90s sported some form of magic spell system, Dino and Hoppy features special powers courtesy of Gazoo, allowing Fred to fly or dive when the occasion calls for it. All you have to do is initiate and win a basketball mini-game.

The Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino & Hoppy screenshotThe Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino & Hoppy screenshot

If the above description sounds like pretty much every platformer on NES, that's because it is. Thankfully, though, Dino and Hoppy aped the choicest tropes from multiple games rather than cloning one title and adopting all of its flaws. The addition of Castlevania's sub-weapon system is a pleasant surprise, and actually works well with the game's properly slippery mechanics and momentum-based movement.

It also helps that the game showcases terrifically designed stages, with no two levels exactly alike. Some may have similarities, but each one features unique segments. For instance, there's a village level where you drop into some sewers and must travel across the screen on a boat, leaping over obstacles and fighting off the occasional foe. Another stage in a castle has you outrunning rising lava. Let me tell you, many an f-bomb escaped my lips trying to get through that one... Your adversaries also play into the platforming aspect of the game. Each one is well thought out and intelligently placed (usually in an inconvenient by not overly frustrating location), with an opulence of single-hit critters that keep the game moving at an even pace.

Sadly, the same doesn't ring true for the game's combat. On the plus side, it's as simplistic as it should be. You press B to execute a blow or hold B to pummel the opposition with a charged attack. Sadly, there are times where the hit detection fails you. There are some monsters, for example, that demand you nail them just right or else the shot won't register. This is the most irritating part of the game, because the hit detection falters at critical moments. In the castle you fight a vampire boss who throws bats at you. Occasionally you'll strike a bat, but your club will pass through him. Failing to defeat one of these winged mammals could spell doom in a hurry, especially since you often need to cut through one of them just to damage the vampire. Never mind that the vamp tosses the bats in rapid succession... Strangely, not every baddie you face comes equipped with hit detection issues.

The Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino & Hoppy screenshotThe Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino & Hoppy screenshot

If I have but one more gripe to make, it had to do with the game's color palette. Let me start by saying that Dino and Hoppy does a wonderful job of mimicking the art style of the TV series. Even environs and objects that are alien to the show actually look like they were constructed by Hanna-Barbera. However, there are a lot of questionable uses of color throughout the game, including Barney's and Wilma's hair. The former sports a dark brown pelt that's a stunning departure from his usual sandy blond, and the latter apparently got bit by the Hot Topic bug and dyed her hair jet black. And don't even get me started on the stage with the salmon-colored sky, fit for inducing Silent Assault flashbacks...

Many of my above arguments are paltry compared to the sum of all of The Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino and Hoppy's parts. The game is actually quite fun and decently challenging, but it's not unforgiving. You get infinite continues, so the aggravation isn't unbearable. There's a good number of well crafted scenes that require precise timing and a little forethought before rushing in. Yeah, the game is far from a masterpiece, but for a platformer inspired by a license that fell out of relevance a good twenty years ago, it's worthwhile.

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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