Dino & Hoppy need all the help they can get.
RELEASE DATE: December 1991
At one time, The Flintstones were revolutionary. They were the first prime-time cartoon, about twenty-five years before The Simpsons. They were essentially a cartoon version of The Honeymooners, but like a lot of the classic Sixties comedies, the writing was clever and as politically incorrect as one would want. With cable’s coming-of-age in the early 90s, “The Flintstones” found their way into a new generation’s hearts, myself included. The Rescue of Dino and Hoppy was birthed out of said rediscovery, and with the exception of a couple niggling nuisances, it is a respectable platformer, worthy of the Flintstones name.
You play as Fred Flintstone, Esquire and your goal is to – wait for it – rescue Dino and Hoppy, the family pets of the Flintstones and the Rubbles respectively. Progress from left to right in typical platformer fashion, bopping enemies’ heads as you go. The levels are well-designed, but they aren’t much of a challenge, per say. I suppose they could be if you don’t get used to the controls. Fred has a tendency to slide, and if you’re not careful, he can slide right into enemies. Climbing also takes some getting used to, though once you know how, it’s legit. His wooden club also can’t reach very far, though you do have a power meter which, if charged, will strike the very heart of an enemy. Secondary weapons, like sling shots, little axes a la Adventure Island, and dino eggs also abound. A lot of elements in this game remind me of the Mario trilogy, like the world map from Super Mario Bros. 3 or the way you can acquire extra hearts like in Super Mario Bros. 2. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to be a platformer on the NES and not steal from the Mario games, though. Kudos to the Flintstones for being tasteful and not overly blatant.
While I do enjoy the occasionally challenging platforming on hand in Rescue, it can easily be conquered in a couple hours (about five episodes of the Flintstones back-to-back). After that, there’s not much to see or do here, unless you find yourself intrigued by the basket-ball mini-game. I’m just glad that my quest welcomed me back from my vacation with this game and not another Fisher Price abomination. It’s the little things.