The two Flintstones games for the NES are both great examples of what can be done with licensed games if the developers give them the time and attention they deserve. With excellent gameplay, beautiful graphics and recognizable characters it’s hard not to fall in love with them, but when Taito brought the series to the Super Nintendo things truly got super.
The first noticeable improvement to The Treasure of Sierra Madrock (a pun worthy of the Flintstones name) is that you can now play the game with two players with Player 1 controlling Fred and Player 2 controlling Barney.
You don’t play the levels simultaneously, however, instead you take turns trying your luck at the game’s huge stockpile of levels. This segues neatly into the next big change to the gameplay, namely the world map. The first two games had world maps too but they were pretty much just a straight line with little room for deviation from the standard level progression. In Treasure of Sierra Madrock, the map is instead presented as a large board game with lots of branching paths. At the start of each turn the players throw a die and if the number is higher than one, they can even jump over levels.
There are not only levels on the game board, but you can also visit shops and mini-game houses where you can get useful items for the money you collect in the regular levels. You can also find boss levels that let you fight a boss battle (the regular levels don’t have bosses) and beating these often leads to a shortcut across the map.
You also need to watch out for Wilma and Betty who wander the map trying to put a stop to your treasure hunting shenanigans. If one of them meets up with their respective spouse, they will drag them to a random point on the map (which can both be a help and a hindrance).
When you enter a level, the game switches to standard platforming mode similar to the first two games but there have been a few changes here as well. Fred and Barney both play pretty much identically now; they both use clubs as weapons and instead of individual skills, they now both have the ability to climb trees and poles and hover in mid air for a short time (by flapping their arms of course).
The goal of each of the game maps is to find a member of the Water Buffalo Order (that also moves across the map occasionally) to get an item that lets them progress to the next world. But in order to get the item, you must first beat them in a mode 7 race minigame.
Being a 16-bit game, the graphics are, of course, noticeably improved from the first two games, and they really look great. But one minor complaint I have is that since there are so many different levels this time, the levels are not as distinct as they were in the NES games.
The music is wonderful and memorable which, is not surprising considering that it’s a Taito game. Once you hear these tunes, they will be in your head forever.
The Treasure of Sierra Madrock is a very fun platformer if you’re alone, and if you have a friend to play with, it becomes even better so if you’re looking for a fun platformer for your Super Nintendo, look no further than this.
The Flintstones: The Treasure of Sierra Madrock continues in the same classic platformer style as its two NES predecessors.
However, this time you can play with two players and the game world is presented as a board game where each spot on the board represents a level. The story of the game is generally based on the 1960s The Flintstones cartoon series.