My TALDIG is fired up once again. Today we look at the past trough video games of the past yet again. As my mutating Fish-Bird-Kotowaru-Evolve thing stranded in the early age of men! Let’s begin there! Because there is a lot we can learn about this. Like if we believe history books, Humans and Dinosaurs never lived together.. but if we look at these games.. we clearly find evidence that they did! And today’s game even proofs they had a advanced society…. AND mode 7 graphic segments.
This is how we Rock
This licensed based game was first released to the public in America in the month or march of 1994. Europe and Asia would get the game a few months later in June and August respectively. The game was developed by Taito who also published it. In this game de designers build a game that used the Flintstones License into a Platformer with some board game, racing game and mini game elements. Anno 2020 a loose cartridge will cost you at least €25,- in Europe (PAL) but the American version easily run upwards of $50 dollars. In original packaging the game can easily run you upwards of $150,- dollars. Trough completing platforming stages a player can move up to two character (Barney and Fred) through a board game stage where they have to hit a few set encounters to complete a pathway to four additional areas. Movement on the overworld is RNG based so if you fail that stage with lots of bonus items.. you might not get to play it again but at the same time if you get stuck, RNG could make you skip a level you can’t beat.
It is a interesting and novel concept to play around with that has some issues in the first half of the game. In the first map your fated encounter travels across the map himself and with Wilma and Betty walking around the map, who upon encountering them can set you set back several spaces the chase of this water Buffalo guy can make this game feel way more tedious than it is in later stages. The game has a pretty exploitable life gain mechanic in the form of bingo. Each time you exit a stage the last digit of your time left gets crossed of a bingo card, the more paths lines you form with a digit the more lives you have. This resulted in me ending the game with 82 lives, which would have capped at 99 if I did not discover the sprint button so late into the final world. All in all gameplay wise it’s a bit more floaty than Mario but due to how different it feels it just feels like a nice, slightly to easy change of pace.
Did you know that in the stone age they already had clubs and secret societies? Did you know they already played bowling and had some sort of olympic coliseums where they held foot races, car races and even ice skating competitions? Did you know that the cavemen had game shows that involved playing several mini games like Bobbing Monkeys on the head, Playing pinball with an armadillo and a shooting range for catapults? Well it’s in this historical game so clearly it must be true! In this game the Great Poobah, whatever that is decides to retire so he leaves everything he has.. in one TREASURE! He who will find it shall be named King of the Water Buffalo’s… wait a second…. this basically is the story of One Piece!
I am actually not kidding. Fred has to find maps, a compass and other tools to help him find a treasure their great leader has hidden. He who finds the treasure shall be made the new leader of the Water Buffalos. So all these silly people spread out across the world to search for this treasure. So you see boys and girls, the Flintstones did this story 3 years before the first one piece manga came out! It was invented in the age of cavemen! Not the age of pirates. At least now we can safely assume that Gol.D.Roger’s ancestor was the great Poobah once. Such an honour. Anyway …… This story let’s you traverse through five different worlds. There is about 10 ish platforming stages in each with a few boss stages and special event stages in between. You jump, climb, battle and race yourself to the title of Great Poobah… or you allow your wife to take you home and allow her to wear the pants in this relationship.. even if pants have not been invented yet.
In the town of Bedrock we fight big monkeys tossing coconuts, we cross waterfalls, beat huge armadillo’s and jump over stampeding cows. Occasionally we also have to avoid a cop car… and no you dumb dumbs in the age of the flintstones cars did not have engines yet.. you just ran in them… you just could run a lot faster in them because they have wheels! Like big steam press ones! Jeezs! Get to learn your history guys! It’s good I am doing this thing. In the volcano level you mostly avoid tar pits, walk on huge stone balls that always fall out of Volcanoes for some reason. Not sure why.. but why are these rocks always huge stone balls? I mean it makes sense because now we can run on them like they are a barrel.. in every video game. But why are they so round? But again lesson learned.. apparently 20.000 BC all volcanoes .. and there were a lot of them, only spat perfectly spherical stones. They don’t tell you that during history class but fudge me.. that is interesting.
The Flintstones Treasure of Sierra Madrock does take a bit to get used to. Fred and Barney have this Yoshi like hover jump along side a bit floatier jump than Mario. Apparently in the past humans could run in the air. But since they did live with dinosaurs.. and Yoshi is a Dinosaur who also knows that moves.. that kinda makes sense. They must have seen the dinosaurs do it.. and mimicked it.. however with the Dinosaurs extinguished by a perfectly round meteor the knowledge must have been lost. Lessons. Mankind in the form of Barney and Fred later unlocked a double jump by completing a complete olympic lap in under a minute which also explains why I can’t double jump. So again I think it’s safe to say this part of history is verified. Of course the double jump only works if you have clams in your pocket and I never do.. except for that one time. But that explains why Usain Bolt never double jumped either. All in all the first two areas are perfect to teach you how to play the game. Once you figured out how timing works in this game you can zoom past these stages.
On the Rocks
Difficulty ramps up a bit during the ice stage, the platforming takes a bit of a puzzle aspect in some stages using slippery platforms and launch pads to spice up the actions. Unfortunately by this time any platforming enthusiast will have somewhere in the area of 60 lives already. Now that supply WILL dwindle there but in this stage the Board game aspect really hurts the game. Sooner or later you will roll another digit on your bowling ball (I have not figured out how these caveman made that work.. perhaps like a magic 8 ball) and skip the stage you are having trouble with. Is this a good thing… I guess, you’ll never get stuck , but I also lacked a sense of satisfaction to finally beat a stage I struggled with, because some others are just so easy still. Luckily you can keep walking in an area to complete all the levels, but while the bowling ball is heavily biassed to roll 1 (instead of 2 or 3) it’s kind of annoying to walk around waiting for you to land on the right tile to finish that one level you want to beat.
The fourth world of the game is a jungle themed one and is a complete throwaway , it’s super easy. I did not die a single time in this world. It was in this world that I stopped completing all the stages as well because I knew they would not pose any challenge. This world mostly revolves around the mechanic of flying platforms. You see back in 20.000 bc a lot of Ptera dinosaurs, (not sure if Pteranodon or Pterodactyl) were born with a chain and platform attached to their feet. If a human jumped onto them the weight increase would scare them and prompt them to fly to a nearby platform so the human could jump of. Of course in the treetops of the jungle there aren’t a lot of platforms so they would fly to their family so they could carry the human for a while instead. In theory is a moving platform world something potentially quite challenging, but with the moveset of Mister Rubble and Mister Flintstone as well as the movement speed and sheer size of these platforms it might even be the easiest world yet. The flavor is also a bit lost as the Water Buffalo’s did not get this far, from here on out no more ice racing, mini games or cafe’s to buy life points.
So now it became a kind of generic platformer.
A rock solid game to Yabba-Dabba-Do
The final world is a series of dash to the finish stages that can be surprisingly challenging. They all feel extremely samesey though .. It’s like the cave stages in Super Mario World.. the Donut Plains 2 stage. It’s basically exactly that.. just harder.., with a 30 second time limit and the bats look more evil and instead of gold.. there is just more rock! There were a lot of strange things about stone in the stone age. Not only does having a stone wheel make you walk faster.. It could also rise up and down from the ground to block your path and crush you. Or it could delay you long enough for you to starve.. even if you ate an apple 30 seconds ago. Cavemen were weird back then. This fifth world has two tiers which means you have to play that samesy stage over about 15 times.. maybe 12 with some lucky rolls. I had fun, I felt challenged but each stage that started I was like..again..? Why am I not finished yet?
After the fifth world you find the treasure and become the new great Poobah! But oh no! Your wife emancipated 22.000 years before most did so now you have to run or you will be dragged home by your ear! Since that now is 5 continents away.. you better avoid that. And we see the end credits. I finished this game in just under three hours and could have been a lot faster had I discovered the sprint button earlier and not feel the need to complete all stages. Yet for the first three worlds I did indeed feel compelled to do it all. Which speaks well enough on it’s own to tell you how this game feels. 50% I really enjoyed and the other 50% was solid to playthrough but I felt saturated. Since you do not want to use the password system of this game (believe me) this is one of those.. finish in one go kinda games.. not counting the power of the sonic save state. So for what this game is.. a game for an evening, this game feels pretty solid. Each time you play , be it alone or with a friend the rng system will give you a bit of a different route. It still will be easy for most who platform a lot, and if not I would not assume this game to be on your radar, but that is okay sometimes. It’s a perfect game to unwind. I LOVED and I mean LOVED the cries the characters make when hit , both Barney and Fred as the Dinosaurs who get clubbed! Such Kawaii death sounds!
It’s such a shame that you will most likely mute them… because the music in this video game.. while not bad… is SOOOOOOOOO repetitive. Each world has 1 or maybe 2 world themes. A racing theme and an overworld theme. Yet each stage has 10 stages so hearing that same song every darn stage can make you lose your marbles. It is nice that the first overworld rocks a jazzy rendition of the main flintstones theme and the level completion music is cheery as well..jeesz a little variety never killed anyone. Personally I would have liked it if they went for a hard ,medium or easy route to get to a target each time you could switch lanes (difficulty) or progress of course with more rewards along the harder routes. Each difficulty could have it’s own music as well .. that would be killing two birds with one stone. Could it be more yes! Yet all in all the 2,5 hours I spend on this game I still say where well spend. Not worth the $150,- but if you happen to be able to play it .. SOMEHOW. It’s worth a quick playthrough!
Now Fred has been locked outside his door once more, so it’s time to move on before he starts pounding and yelling. Next time we will look at our final pair of caveman, who have a sweetheart in every stage! Next time we finish our prehistory arc with Joe and Mac: Caveman Ninja’s… Did you know caveman could be Ninja’s? Neither did I .. but then again Ninja’s have always been secretive.. so it makes sense.. so it must be true! But that 1991 story will have to wait for the future! Remember I love you all and keep smiling!