Reviewer: Sean Kelly
Flintstones, meet the Flintstones, have a Yabba Dabba Doo time... Or Yabba Dabba Two time, seeing as this is the second Flintstones game, although no mention of the first one - no wonder really. It was pretty dire as remember.
This Flintstones is set in ye olde worlde prehistoric times, and stars Fred Flintstones with Wilma and Pebbles, and Barney and Betty Rubble making the oocasional appearance. (If Barney was a designer would he be Designer Rubble?) Its the weekend, and Fred's looking forward to the final of the Bedrock Super Bowl contest the following day, but Wilma has other plans for Fred. He must paint the living room before Mother visits, otherwise he gets a good nagging, and no bowling. Simple, eh? Well yes, except Pebbles is partial to a bit of drawing, and insists on helping Daddy by drawing faces and figures over the wall that Fred has just painted, so not only must you try to paint the wall, but also keep the troublesome sprog locked up in her pen. Not easy, especially when every time you grab Pebbles, your paintbrush, a sort of prehistoric skunk, legs it off and tries to escape. Should you by a miracle manage to finish the wall before your time runs out, then it's straight down to the bowling alley.
Aaah, freedom. The summer breeze in your hair the stereo belting out rock music, and lumps of stone all over the road. Eh? Yup, a Flintstones life is not an easy one, 'cos to reach the bowling alley, Fred must jump the car over the rocks strewn all over the road. If Fred hits one, then the back wheel bounces through the air, and he has to leap out, jack the car up and fix the wheel back on. Tricky, I can tell you.
At the bowling alley it's a head to head match between Fred and Barney in the Bedrock Super Bowl contest. Can Fred get the position, spin and speed right in order to get a strike? Or will Barney continue to beat Fred hands down as he did when I was playing?
Just as the match is over, the newspaper arrives with the news that Pebbles has gone missing, and so it's on to the fourth and final part of the game. Fred must rescue her from the top of the block of flats on the building site where she was test sighted. Fred does this by climbing to the top via the ropes, lifts and rock platforms conveniently situated on the outside of the building. If tie falls too many times, the message is flashed up that Barney Rubble has rescued Pebbles instead. Flippin 'eck! If my neighbour was so miraculous that he beat me at bowling and rescued my children, I'd move house.
Mark Edwards must be congratulated for the brilliant graphics on this game. All the characters are excellent copies of their cartoon counterparts, and the opening sequence of Fred finishing work and sliding down the back of his dinosaur is mega. The actual animation of the characters is also of a superb quality especially Fred's run-up in the bowling section of the game.
This said, however I think that the programmers have attempted to fit too many features into one game. Each section looks great, and the painting section has a certain addictiveness, but overall the game doesn't encourage you to carry on for very long. The bowling section seemed to be a little random, and often the shot appeared to depend on luck rather than speed or spin. And the rescue section gave the impression of yet another JSW clone with big sprites, even to the 'blackout' following a fall.
Whilst this is an improvement on the first Flintstones game, it is let down by poor addictive qualities. Teque are, though, definitely a team to watch out for in the future.
Coming, erm, now actually, to a cinema near you...
THE COMPLETE YS GUIDE TO FILM AND TELLY GAMES
Knowing full well what a square-eyed bunch you are, we thought it was about time you were given the facts on film and television licenced games. Once again, JONATHAN DAVIES was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
(Cough. Deep, manly voice.)
'In the beginning there were loads and loads of Speccy games. Loads of them. They sold all right, but not exactly in enormous numbers. The trouble was, you see, that none of them seemed particularly exciting. They had nothing that caught the public eye. They were just computer games. Had no 'cred'.
Then a small cog within a long-since-extinct software house had an idea.
"Why don't we give our next game the same name as an incredibly popular film? Then everyone would buy it just because they'd seen the film and they'd foolishly think the game would be just as good. How about i, eh?"
"Er, we could do, I suppose."
"But what if the film company finds out? They might sue us or something."
"I know - we could ask them first."
"That's a point. Go on then."
"Yeah. Give them a ring and ask if they'd mind."
"Oo-er. Cripes. Okay then." (Dials very long trans-Atlantic phone number.)
"Hullo. We'd like to name our new game after your film and we were wondering if it was okay by you. Right... yes... oh, I see." (Cups hand over receiver.) "They want us to give them lots of money."
"Erm, well in that case we'd better." (Removes hand.) "Yes, that'll be fine. We'll send you some right away. Bye."
"How are we going to come up with a game that's anything like the film?"
"I don't know really."
"How about if we have a bloke walking around shooting people?"
"That sounds fine. I'll program it right away."
And so the film and telly licence was born. It... cough. Choke.
Oops. There goes the deep, manly voice.
Anyway, film and telly games, eh? Everyone's doing them these days, as they're one of the few remaining ways of making serious money with computer games. Run a grubby finger down the charts and you'll find nearly all the top-sellers are film and telly licences. (Or arcade conversions, of course.)
But why do we keep buying them? After all, just because a game's named after a really brill film doesn't mean it's going to be any good, does it? Surely we aren't buying them simply because of the flashy name on the box?
Erm, well in the old days, software houses assumed this to be the case, and chucked out a stream of absolutely appalling games with 'big name' titles. Things like Miami Vice, The Dukes Of Hazard and Highlander were all pretty dreadful, but it was hoped that they'd sell on the strength of their names. But we weren't fooled. Oh no. The games didn't sell well, and the companies were forced to think again.
Eventually they came up with... the 'bloke walking around shooting things' idea. And they've used it more or less ever since. Lucky then that they tend to be jolly good all the same, and sometimes come up with the odd original idea to spice things up (like The Untouchables did, or perhaps Back To The Future Part II).
As always seems to be the case, the trusty YS ratings system doesn't really seem adequate when it comes to film and telly games. So here's what we've put together instead...
What does it look like? Nice? Or not very nice at all? (You mean are the graphics any good? Ed) Er, yes. That's it in a nutshell. (Then why didn't you just say the first place? Ed) Erm...
How does the general atmosphere compare to the film or telly programme the game's meant to go with? Have programmers just taken a bog-standard game and stuck a flashy name on it? Or have they made an effort to incorporate a bit of the 'feel' of the original?
Does the plot follow along the same sort of lines as the film or telly programme? Is there plenty action-packedness? And is the game the same all way through, or does it follow the original's twists and turns?
Um, how does the game compare to all the licences around at the moment? Is it better? Or worse? In other words, is it a 'cut' above the rest? (is that really the best you can manage? Ed)
Thank goodness The Flintstones isn't on anymore, eh? Long, boring and raising only the most canned of laughter, it made 5.30 to 6pm a nightmare every time it was on. Almost makes you grateful that Neighbours came along and took over, doesn't it?
A computer version was inevitable, though. So inevitable, in fact, that there are two of them - Yabba Dabba Doo, which was a boring-wandering-around-collecting-things game, and this one which is more of a multi stage, lots of sub-games affair. First of all, Fred's got to paint a wall of his cave, using a squirrel's tail as a brush (ho ho) and trying to stop Pebbles (his irritating daughter who appeared just as the cartoon was really goodness going downhill) from scribbling all over it. It's about as fun as painting a wall for real. Then there's a bit where he has to fix his car (by the way, can anyone explain how the Flintstones' car is steered?) before driving down the most to the bowling alley for a game of whatever it is they do there. Finally you've got to rescue Pebbles from a building site. It looks nice, but gets very boring jolly quickly.
All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB