Video game developer Taito acquired the license to produce games based on the timeless Hanna-Barbera line of characters for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy (not to be confused with Ocean's work on games based on Flintstones: The Movie). The Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino and Hoppy, released in 1992, follows Fred Flintstone through a series of platformer levels as he must travel all through Bedrock and beyond in order to rescue the kidnapped Dino and Hoppy. A mad scientist from the future, Dr. Butler, has snatched the dino pets and taken them back to the future in order to put them on display in a zoo. Fortunately Gazoo knows where to find pieces of a time machine, so Fred must defeat the enemies who hold them. Due to the game being released near the end of the NES's lifespan, I'd imagine that many gamers overlooked this title. Check for it in the usual used game locations.

Fred is the only playable character in the game. His main weapon is a wooden club that can either swing quickly to strike minimal damage on a foe or be charged up to deliver a very powerful blow. Charging is accomplished by holding down the B button until it's time to swing the club. Taking a hit while charging up resets the charge. Also available as weapons are an ax, a slingshot, or an exploding dinosaur egg. Using these special weapons aren't free, however. Each use costs a coin. Fortunately these coins are easy to find as they are dropped by defeated enemies. Other items in the game include hearts, burgers, and cacti (all which refill the life meter). Rounding out Fred's arsenal of moves he can jump and grab on to the edge of a platform in order to pull himself up.

Between some levels Fred can challenge the sports ace to a round of basketball. In these short minigames Fred has one minute to score more points than the sports ace. Ball dribbling is automatic, the A button jumps up, and the B button shoots the ball. If Fred wins he is awarded with a valuable item: either a kangaroo-equipped high jump, a pair of wings to fly over dangers, and a scuba kit for swimming underwater. Each use of these items costs coins, however. Expenses can quickly add up as the wings and scuba kit cost coins for every flap/stroke.

After assembling the time machine Fred, Wilma, Barney, and Betty travel to the future for the last level of the game. George Jetson greets them in a cameo appearance (where he also mentions some recent troubles of his own, hinting at the game based on The Jetsons, Cogswell's Caper). After traveling through the factory level Fred faces off against Dr. Butler and, if he wins, the pets are saved and everyone returns to the past.

The Rescue of Dino and Hoppy is a fun platformer, however it doesn't take full advantage of The Flintstones license. Yes, familiar characters are in the game, but the levels come off as generic platformer stages that could easily have come from any other game. The graphics are sharp and it's easy to see where everything is on the screen, but I cannot find anything especially memorable about the game. Apparently a lot of people did, however, because the game spawned a sequel: The Flintstones 2: Surprise at Dinosaur Peak.


References:
Playing the game
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