Review by SneakTheSnake
"Unless you're really into The Flintstones, this game is a Yabba-Dabba-Don't Buy."
Bedrock Bowling is as much of a bowling game as Itchy & Scratchy Mini-Golf Madness embraces miniature golf. There's nothing wrong with that; both are action-oriented, sports-themed titles. This Flintstones title for the PlayStation is fun for a few minutes, but it wears out its welcome briefly after that. By that time, the game is over. No harm done, then, I guess.
At any rate, the game starts up with an FMV cutscene where Fred Flintstone laments that, if he isn't finished with hollowing out the Bedrock Quarry by tomorrow, his boss will fire him. Barney stops by to pick Fred up for bowling practice but, after Fred tells Barney his problem, the Great Gazoo pops up out of nowhere and proposes a solution: Gazoo will hollow out the quarry in a way that will allow the two buddies to practice their bowling. It's no ordinary bowling, though: instead of throwing balls down lanes to hit pins, players are put in gigantic bowling shells and control themselves as they barrel down gigantic slaloms, knocking down pins along the way. What an ingenious solution to both problems. Thank you, Gazoo!
It's not really bowling practice, though. It's an entirely different game; it's much more like bobsled racing or luge, except you're standing up. At any rate, players pick their favorite Flintstones character (sans Wilma or Betty) and go down eleven lanes of wacky bowling action. Bedrock Bowling is a fun concept in theory, but it doesn't control well in practice; that, and the whole game takes roughly twenty to twenty-five minutes to complete.
In each of the eleven lanes, players move at a slow pace in their bowling shells as they careen down the long lanes. Players move the shell left and right to knock into pins and collect gems; hitting three birds scattered across the first half of the track unlock access to the second half of the lane. There's some memorization involved; players kind of have to know where the birds are in order to play all of each lane and, in order to get the top score, players must collect all gems and knock down all ten pins along the course. After the score is tallied, players get a pep talk from Gazoo about the next lane and then have at it again and again.
Ostensibly, the game is a racing game with no opponents and no manual acceleration of the vehicle. That's fine, I guess, but it's kind of boring. Even with levels which feature volcanoes, lava pits, alien planets, crystal mines and a fire-breathing monster, the gameplay doesn't change, and the levels don't really take advantage of their surroundings much. The bowling shell moves very slowly down the track and doesn't maneuver very well. It doesn't seem to matter in the end what your high score is and, while there is a bonus lane if you collect all the birds in a stage four stages in a row, the bonus lane is so convoluted and confusing that it isn't a great unlockable at all. Bedrock Bowling becomes boring in a matter of minutes.
The graphics and audio are subpar, save for the voiceover work. The game is voiced by the official cast of The Flintstones, which adds some personality and authenticity to the overall product. It's about the best part of Bedrock Bowling, save for the occasional fun to be had in actually playing the game. The music, whenever it feels like playing, doesn't tend to match the mood or thematic surroundings of the tracks themselves, and a lot of it feels out of place when one considers the goofy and aimless soundtrack of the original series. The sound effects are the basic boiler plate sound effects you've heard in several Hanna-Barbera products before, so they fit the game as well as they can. As for the graphics, it's surprising how much pop-in there is for a game with such low graphical quality; while the FMVs have their own awkward charm, none of it looks especially polished.
Unless you're a big fan of The Flintstones, I can't really recommend Bedrock Bowling. It's a slow-paced game without much content, the graphics are mediocre at best and, while the audio has its moments, it's not enough to salvage what feels like something slightly better than a giveaway disc in a box of Fruity Pebbles.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 05/05/14
Game Release: The Flintstones: Bedrock Bowling (US, 09/19/00)
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