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The Flinstones Bedrock Bowling
Platform:  Playstation
# of Players:  1-4
Developer:  Adrenalin
Publisher:  South Peak
Features:  Analog Compatible
Ratings:  Early Childhood
Memory Req.:  2 Blocks
What would you expect form a game called Bedrock Bowling? It is put out in conjunction with Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. Interactive. You may think that it would resemble the Animaniacs Bowling game on the Ten Pin Alley engine or something along those lines. A simple bowling game with all of the Flintstones characters, right? Well nothing that you could predict could match the actual absurd concept displayed in this odd albeit interesting game.

Fred and Barney are looking to get to the bowling alley to practice their game before the big tournament but Fredís boss wonít let him leave until he has dug a entire trench. Apparently this one of Fredís main responsibilities as a Brontosaurus riding blue collar construction worker. So if the man wanted a trench dug, the trench had to be built. If there was only a way that they could do both at once. In pops Gazoo (thatís the Great Gazoo to you), that little green guy from another dimension that is always getting them into trouble. Gazoo clears out the trench for them and turns it into a huge bowling alley for Fred and Barneyís bowling practice.

Now while all of this may seem a little weird and far-fetched, it is not as strange as the execution. Gazoo creates these huge halved bowling balls that are hollowed out so that people can ride in them. Thatís right, you bowl in a bowl. Fred and Barney hop in and tear down the alley trying to knock down all of the scattered pins in hope of getting a strike. Putting all of the pins in one spot would be too easy says Gazoo. How this helps them in their game I will never know. I guess it makes them feel what a bowling ball feels. Anyway, there are ten winding courses that you must steer Barney and Fred through while collecting gems, and hitting birds in addition to knocking down pins. This sort of turns bowling into a cart racing game, but instead of racing other cars, you are aiming your vehicle at objects.

There are a great many problems with this game probably stemming from the fact that it is made for kids. The developers wanted to keep the game simple and easy to play. The controls are limited to steering and giving your player a turbo boost with the X button. The courses are easy to navigate and if it is in easy mode it is impossible to fall off. Even on hard the difficulty factor is low. Another annoying aspect is that the game moves exceptionally slow. You can speed up with the turbo but then you would miss the pins. So, the best thing to do is coast along at a snailís pace looking for pins to smack. On the up side, all of the colors are bright and eye-catching as are all of the different stages that your bowl. Kids like bright colors.

The worst thing about the game is that it gets really old really quick. After an hour or so you will have beat the entire game. A couple more tries and you will get a near perfect score. Even a six-year-old could master this game with little effort. And once you beat it there is really no fun in going over and doing it again. There are no rewards or new challenges to conquer. This seems like something that will inevitably sit at the bottom of a kidís pile never to be played again. Sure you can play as Dino, Bam Bam, and little Pebbles, but itís really the same game all over again.

As much as I would like to see Cartoon Network put out more games (Powerpuff Girls Adventure anyone?) and as much as I enjoyed the strange concept that Bedrock Bowling is based on, I still think that the execution could have been better. There is just not enough to do. Sure itís for kids but kids have a shorter attention span than I do and I got bored really quickly. Just because it is bright and colorful doesnít mean that it is appealing. It may be fun and interesting the first couple times you play, but then the replay value starts to drop significantly. I hate to say it but a straight up prehistoric bowling game would have been a nice addition even though it may not have been the most original thing to do. At least it would have given the game depth. I guess I will just have to wait for Wilma and Bettyís shopping sim for the kind of depth I am looking for.

Jesse Labrocca

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