Total time played: 2.5 hours
Short review: A very average platformer without much of a story where you play as Fred Flintstone through cliche levels including an underwater level and an ice level.
Interesting links related to Flintstones: Rescue of Dino and Hoppy
- Tool Assisted Speedrun (14min 30sec)
- Video Review (TheEmulatorReview)
- Written Review (NintendoLegend)
When I was about 16 years old I went to a flea market that was located about an hour from my house with my mom and aunt. Inside the flea market was a booth set up selling video games, which was not too common in 1998. I browsed and saw several games I needed but Flintstones Rescue of Dino and Hoppy really caught my attention. I knew there were two Flintstones games on the NES and one was common and one was very rare. I couldn’t remember which was which so I decided to take a chance and pay $15 for the game even though that was way too much to pay for an NES game in 1998. I ended up having to borrow money from my aunt because she only took cash and I didn’t have enough.
Of course, it was the common game and I overpaid and 17 years later I still don’t have the sequel Flintstones: Surprise at Dino Peak. I never played the game until now. It is playable, the difficulty is tough but not unfair and the controls are much better than average. My issue is that there is really no charm to the game. Each time I would run across another character from the show I would read a dialogue box that just felt very mechanical and forced. I didn’t feel the characters from the show coming through in what they were saying.
Like most other lead characters in NES platformers the main character can run and jump and has a weapon. In Fred Flintstone’s case it is a club that can be charged up by holding the B button. If your club is charged the character moves much slower making you need to use a little strategy to effectively use the club. Throughout each level you can break barrels that drop power ups including: stronger club power, extra hearts (each heart is a hit point, you start with 3 and can get up to 5) and a small range of sub-weapons including an Axe, a slingshot and an egg bomb. These weapons are accessed the same way as the sub-weapons in Castlevania, by pressing UP+B. The ammo for the sub weapons is collected from enemies you kill. The enemies drop coins and the coins are used up when your sub-weapon is used (exactly like the heart system in Castlevania).
The one unique game mechanic is that Fred can jump and hang from ledges and pull himself up. This feature was used in every single level and even though it was the one unique feature in the game it seemed mostly unnecessary.
After each level you are taken to an overworld like in Super Mario 3 where you can select the next stage to play. But, there is usually only 1-2 stages to choose from so there really is no reason for the overworld map.
Each stage has an end boss that jump around in pretty predictable patterns. Most of these bosses can be killed with 2-3 hits of your club if it is fully charged. The boss fights feature my only true gripe in the game, the enemy hit boxes are horrible. I would swing my club and make clear contact with the boss but it would not register that I hit them. But, if I tried to get any closer the boss would hit me causing my club to lose its charge. Each boss took several attempts to beat for this reason, thank goodness for unlimited continues.
There are some bonus stages on the map that seem out of place. In these stages Fred plays basketball one on one with another character who I’m sure is from the show but I didn’t recognize. You play for one minute and whoever has the most points wins. You score points by throwing the ball into a pelicans mouth. If you win you earn a special power. There are three basketball games and you earn the ability to fly, super jump and dive (swim). These items are accessed by hitting start. Each special power lasts for a very short time but come in very handy. If you miss a jump and start to fall down a hole pause the game and use the fly ability and Fred can fly out of the hole. I found fly to be very useful and it saved me dozens of times.
The final stage, after beating the stone age stage, water stage, ice stage, jungle stage, castle stage and asian stage finds you far in the future where you run into George Jetson, who like the other characters you cross throughout the game, has no personality. Once you reach the end of the stage you fight the final boss who is the only character in the game who has any personality or charm. He reminds me a lot of Dr. Wily from the Mega Man series. You fight him in 3 different forms. After each form he hobbles away from you, each time more crippled than the last. This actually put a smile on my face. His final form is a giant robot that was the easiest boss in the game.
After defeating the boss I was able to Rescue Dino and Hoppy and was presented with a very lackluster ending screen.
Even though the game adopted game mechanics from Castlevania, Mega Man, and Super Mario 3 and is based on one of the top cartoons of all time it just was a very average game. The charm from the show and the games that influenced it were just not there. It is a game that is right in the middle of the pack, not horrible but not great.