Tony Wilkins reviews the Flintstones game on the Sega Master System
Realism – it has been the holy grail of the video game world from the very beginning. With each new console release at some point the words “…even more realistic than ever” is often thrown around in the marketing campaign. There are some games where realism is important such as simulation and racing games. But the Flintstones? On the Master System? By now you are probably wondering where this is going so I will tell you.
The first level is painting a wall.
Yeah I’m letting that sink in a minute. In the first level you have Wilma nagging at Fred (you) to paint a wall but if that wasn’t enough then you have to watch Pebbles as well and she is determined to make the job as difficult as possible. Then to really add to the pain there is a time limit! Your wife wants a perfect job done in just a few minutes! How realistic is that? The version I was playing even had an interactive segment when my wife walked in to the room, saw what I was doing and said;
Tell you what; if you want to paint our bathroom finally I will give you 100 points and an extra life.
OK – let’s get back to the game review. The Flintstones is actually a series of mini games that make up the whole affair similar to Back to the Future III. There is no set format throughout and it takes some practice to master each level. The first level is the aforementioned wall painting level. After that there is a car segment where Fred and Barney are trying to get to the bowling alley before it closes but there are obstacles in the way that have to be avoided. And how do you avoid these obstacles I hear you ask? Why by jumping the car over them of course. How else? Anyone who has ever seen The Flintstones will know that those cars can’t be steered. If you hit an obstacle then a wheel falls off and you have to repair it by jacking up the car and putting it back on but that takes time and you don’t know until you reach the bowling alley if its closed or not because of how long it has taken to get there.
Make it to the bowling alley on time and you are treated to the most bizarre bowling game layout ever. Instead of the traditional one screen from the point of view of the bowler you get a split screen with a side image of Fred and Barney on one side and the pins on the other side in the more traditional angle of head on. There are elements of luck and skill in this segment as its often difficult to associate the two screens. After that Pebbles has got herself in to trouble for some reason and its up to Fred and Barney to rescue her in a rather seen-it-before platform level where you have to go up to get her and bring her back.
And that’s it!
Just four levels/mini games but to be honest that’s enough. The difficulty of this game is rage-inducing. In the first level it’s the timer (or rather Wilma’s patience) that’s your enemy. In the car level its the fact that if you misjudge the jump by just a fraction that wheel is coming off. The bowling alley could be solved if there was some consistency in if you are going to hit the pins and the last level suffers from both a timer and clumsy controls.
This review has been wholly negative but the truth is this did entertain me for quite a bit. Its difficulty was such that I developed a resistance to wanting to give up and instead I charged on trying to beat this thing but it had the last laugh. The ending doesn’t make you feel like you have accomplished anything and that’s lousy. There is an entertainment value to this but I would say it’s an acquired taste. Sonic the Hedgehog fans; this is not for you.
Thanks for reading…