Oh sure, with the World Cup going on I could have easily reviewed a football game.
I did play a whole bunch of those back in the day, after all.
Then I thought: nah, I’ll give the people what they REALLY want.
Meet the Flintstones.
They’re the modern stone age family… and also a surprisingly decent Sega Genesis game!
Oh sure the NES version of the game, The Flintstones: The Rescue Of Dino & Hoppy, boasts a UFO-centric plot and a soccer level but the Genesis version is so polished it actually looks unexpectedly good. It may not have too many stages to offer but the few it has are a respectable length and are lots of fun.
The overall mission in the NES game was obvious. Heck, the title gave it away right off the bat!
In this one, you get a bunch of missions except they’re not quite as significant.
Are you kidding me?
The salt shaker, really?!
Your missions suck.
Luckily, once the game actually starts you realise that the missions themselves are essentially irrelevant and it’s all about the ride. You play as Fred and walk around a half-Sonic half-Bedrock setting fighting all sorts of goofy creatures.
If there’s one thing this game did it’s open my eyes to the fact that Fred Flintstone is a badass.
Like a stone age Liam Neeson, if you will.
With no pants.
I mean, whether he’s recovering a necklace, a salt shaker or…
Helping Barney with his ridiculous requests.
Whatever he’s doing, he does it with gusto and attitude.
He’s the Batman of meaningless errands!
After all, Batman did slide on a dinosaur’s back in Batman & Robin so, in a weird way, Fred inspired the Dark Knight.
Can Batman fight killer fish while riding a shark?
(without a shark-repellent spray, that is.)
Can Batman ride pterodactyls?
Can Batman make his own head disappear?
The animation throughout the game looks really good, better than the original cartoon even. Not that that’s a particularly impressive achievement but still, worthy of mention. Hitting stuff with a mallet is hugely satisfying to say the least, as it should be, and the way the game keeps you playing by bringing in some weirdly epic imagery from time to time makes it kinda addictive.
Once again, Fred shows off his Bat-moves.
Jumping on snakes, fighting fire-breathing dragons…
Using birds to throw fireballs at Dr Seuss characters…
Because that happens.
Luckily, The Flintstones’ very foundation is anachronistic so I can hardly criticise its logic. I think, by this point, we can all agree that literally nothing in The Flintstones makes any sense.
How do you go from this rubbish mission:
To you fighting Loch Ness monsters underwater?
It’s like one person wrote half of the levels and another stepped in for the rest.
Speaking of the underwater level, actually. I’m not usually a fan of those but this one, I’ll admit, captured my imagination.
The first thing you see is a bird on top of a sign which reads “Swimming Pool”.
I like how Fred is so used to seeing messed up things in this prehistoric madhouse that an underwater bird sitting on a stone sign pointing at what is basically nothing doesn’t affect him at all.
It’s like SpongeBob Squarepants: no one cares about the randomness of it all.
It’s just another day.
Add to that some crossbow-firing squids…
An impossible area entirely comprised of spikes…
And some hilarious swimming motions from Fred himself.
And you’ve got yourself one surprisingly entertaining swimming level.
Sure beats those awkward Sonic The Hedgehog ones where you’re struggling to jump out of the water onto some kind of moving platform and end up drowning, staring terrifyingly into the player’s eyes as that distressing countdown reaches “0.” Or those annoying Earthworm Jim underwater levels where your pod can’t touch anything for fear of breaking the glass separating you from the ocean and, by extension, death.
Also do look out for an enjoyable driving level where Fred “bad father” Flintstone goes out to find his missing daughter, totally sinking into quicksand along the way.
Basically, if you like The Flintstones, this is the game for you. The dated, sort of corny humour is well represented here, similarly to how the bad jokes shined in that NES Gilligan’s Island game and all the characters look and feel true to themselves. It’s only near the end of the game, when a new unlikely plot thread is introduced, that things start sounding more Return To Oz-esque than classic Hanna-Barbera.
A bit like when Tom & Jerry spoke and danced together in that awful feature-length movie.
Suddenly a witch who can turn pterodactyls into stone for some reason is dumped into the mix and we’re just meant to accept that as part of a stone age-set world.
How about a mint, Mr Bird?
Suddenly it’s like something straight out of Excalibur as Fred Flintstone battles it out with generic witch lady as a green orb changes colour and eventually releases the above birds from that dastardly spell.
Ok so this Sega Genesis Flintstones outing isn’t exactly an even game plot-wise but hey, there are a lot of bad Flintstones games out there where you’re either colouring in stuff or buying dinosaur eggs in exchange for bones or whatever, and this is thankfully not one of them.
It’s scattered, sure, but at least it’s a game! And a fun, colourful, well-put together one at that. It may not always make sense but it should keep you entertained for a while and fans will love all the in-jokes and references.
Plus Fred is Batman.
He’s the Flintstone Bedrock deserves, but not the one it needs right now…
Or maybe he is, what do I know?