Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
THE FLINTSTONES • GRANDSLAM • £29.95 • OUT NOW
“Yabba Dabba Doo!” shouts a relieved Fred Flintstone, as the Friday bell rings. Fred is particularly happy this weekend because it’s the Bedrock Super-Bowl final tonight. As you know, bowling is Fred’s passion and in tonight’s heat he’s lined up to play his friend and rival Barney Rubble.
Unfortunately, Wilma does not share Fred’s love of the game. Fred promised his loving wife that he would redecorate the living room tonight, and Wilma is going to make sure he keeps his promise. If he’s lucky, Fred will be able to paint the living room and leave in time for the bowling tournament.
But everything isn’t quite as easy as it seems. For a start Pebbles is at home intent on causing havoc with her dad’s painting. Then, on the way to the bowling alley, the car gets a broken wheel. At this rate, will Fred ever make the Super-Bowl?
If Grandslam set out to create a cartoon atmosphere, then they have surely succeeded. The title screen for The Flintstones is very colourful and cheerful with a full screen static picture of Fred and his friends.
"The simple gameplay will certainly appeal to any young fans of Fred and Barney"
In keeping with the young targeting of the game, there is just one option: to play the irritating music or not. This limitation is one of The Flintstones’ main flaws. If you’re not a member of the extremely young audience that this is aimed at, then there’s no way you can alter the game to suit you.
The introductory sequence showing Fred sliding down Dino’s tail and leaping to Wilma is humorous and well-drawn, providing the vital link with the comedy cartoon. In fact, humour features heavily in this licence and touches such as the lizard paint brush, a wandering Pebbles and a dinosaur car jack, are a welcome relief from the goblins and runes that we’re used to.
The graphics are some of the best I’ve seen on the Master System: brightly coloured sprites with minimal clash. Fred’s rough, caveman look is particularly impressive. The prehistoric feel is continued onto the control panel with informative displays roughly hewn from solid rock. This, along with the occasional static shot, adds atmosphere to a game which revolves around it.
The first level, painting the living room, although well-presented is marred by a very awkward control method. It is far too easy to miss a tiny spot of wall and find the timer running down too quickly to rectify it.
Similarly, level two looks like it could contain some fun, but it is far too short. Jump a few rocks in your car and you’re there; no bridges to cross, no animated dangers like pterodactyls dropping rocks, and above all, no challenge.
The third stage begins well. The comical graphics of the bowling are lively, but it is flawed by another peculiar control method that doesn’t convey the feeling of bowling. This is a shame because a decent bowling game would have really increased the game’s playability, but this attempt is just like the other levels - too predictable and far too easy.
The final level at last promises a large challenge, with a decent size construction site to venture across. Unfortunately, I managed to get near to the slippery Pebbles within a few minutes.
The simple gameplay will certainly appeal to any young fans of Fred and Barney, especially if they’re new to gaming. But what Tiertex, the developers, seem to have forgotten is that console gamers are generally far better at playing games than computer owners - because that’s all they use their console for.
The graphics are undoubtedly very impressive, but the tune is an uninventive rendition of the old theme and the sound effects are few and far between. A predictable Yabba Dabba Doo is reportedly the only speech, although I can’t say I ever heard it.
As a Flintstones fan, I’m a very disappointed dinosaur.
Put Pebbles back into her playpen to stop her scribbling on your newly painted wall. You will also have to collect your brush again.
On level three, simply copy Barney's power and direction to win.
With just four levels, The Flintstones will not be a tough game to finish. Even the huge differences in controls and style do not make the levels more enduring.
The first level is frustratingly hard due to the time limit. The second, third and fourth levels are far too easy and present no real challenge.
Remember, The Flintstones has been designed for what Grandslam think are the bulk of Master System owners - very young kids.
Because of this the ProScore rating has been adjusted to accomodate what the programmers were aiming for. They were after an attractive, but extremely simple and easy concept, and that is exactly what they have got.
If you’ve been playing games for years, you’ll be severely disappointed.
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