A dog went and traveled through time.
He at once saw a terrible crime.
Eggs were brought to a lair,
But the moms didn’t care,
So the ending was not so sublime.
Once upon a prehistoric time, CJ the frog and Hopsalot the rabbit decided to test out a potentially-dangerous time machine on their dog companion Frankie as they remained safely back. Clearly, animals after Doc Brown’s own heart.
Also, please stay far away from anyone that uses that bunny’s face as a profile picture.
Frankie steps out in the past and suddenly meets a green pterodactyl that needs his help in recovering her lost eggs. Now, I’m all for turning to strangers for help in emergencies, but what could a dog do that she couldn’t do several times better? She knows the area and the residents. She’s stronger, faster, and can fly. What, was there a prophecy of a bipedal, red-sweater-toting canine appearing to save your children as foretold on ancient cave walls? If she needed something small to get into a tiny crevice she couldn’t fit through or something, I’d understand. This though is like the mighty Samson wanting some random foxes’ help to burn down some Philistine fields. Wait… Bad example, but you get the idea.
Frankie agrees, but while distracted, a blue dinosaur steals the time machine. Rather than giving chase, he just casually wonders how he’ll get home. Yeah, if my car is ever stolen, my reaction’ll be, “Golly, how will I get to work on time now?” He could have asked for the pterodactyl to pay him back for his assistance by helping to retrieve his transportation or- anything- but nope! Despite the genuinely-terrifying prospect of being stuck in ancient times for life, Frankie still decides to help the mom out. His aid comes in the form of four minigames which seemingly have no connection to finding the eggs yet somehow do anyway. Good to know, I guess. Next time I lose my keys, I’ll just play some Tic-Tac-Toe, and I’m sure they’ll show up.
All the minigames have to be beaten three times with increasing challenge. Rather than choosing from a trio of difficulties like in Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge from last time, you seamlessly go through them all from the easiest to reach the ending. Despite being full of animals, this game would have been much meatier and more fun if every game was different instead of rehashing them twice, but at least there are some alterations. Each time you complete them all once, you move onto a new area with a pterodactyl that looks exactly like the previous one who also happened to be the victim of eggnapping. It’s nice to see the different landscapes, but having the NPC you help at least look somewhat different would have been a nice touch. Well, at least Frankie clearly has to pee on the overworld. That totally makes up for the visual redundancy.
As for the minigames, you got Dino Driver for starters which teaches alphabetical order. You ride Barney the dinosaur over his dead brethren and knock the dinosaur over that has the next letter one by one which causes them to explode. At least the footprints appearing as you run looks neat.
Next up is Dino Bop which helps with matching, reflexes, and how to cause a concussion. This is the one game where the controls really stand out, as your hammer is always trying to get centered like there’s some gravitational pull, so you have to hold down the D-pad to hit other areas. This gets especially wonky if trying to whack several dinos in rapid succession. Otherwise, this entire title handles perfectly.
Third is Brain-O-Saur which is meant to help with memory. Just like Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge, it’s Concentration, but the difference here is that you are shown everything at the start and have finite tries rather than a time limit. Before you start, this “educational” game calls Frankie’s paws “hands,” so this experience could be quite devastating to children’s development if they planned to become a veterinarian.
Lastly is Feeding Time which helps with matching, counting, and addition. You throw food at hungry dinos, and for some reason, if the number you’re holding doesn’t match your target’s, they’ll get hit in the face with the projectile instead of eating it. In the end, all four of these are pretty much as easy and forgiving as it gets not counting those from video games rated EC.
After finishing each game, Frankie just magically has the egg and takes it back to the pterodactyl who thanks you and- wants each egg put back on the correct nest? Lady, I just saved your kids for you, you lazy omelet maker! Put them where you want yourself. I’m just glad she didn’t get help from the police.
“I’m sorry, officer. I appreciate you rescuing my kidnapped children and all, but you can’t leave until you physically place them in the correct beds from which they were taken.”
“Uh, ma’am, have you been-“
Furthermore, even though there is a system in place for the second and third areas in terms of placing the eggs in the correct spot, the first nesting ground lets you leave them anywhere and has all the bedding look the same. Maybe it was just easier to program the game by having the pterodactyl in each place say the same thing, but boy, was I confused at that initial one! I’m looking at the screen going, “Um. What.”
After all four of the games are completed, you unlock a fifth one involving flying on your pterodactyl client while hitting the matching clouds. Watch out for the evil ones from the Care Bears that got something in their eyes though; they don’t care about getting in your way.
After this process is completed three times, Frankie happens to spot a cave that he happens to think is noteworthy that happens to have the thief inside who happens to be non-violent and friendly. I just happen to need a vacation.
Turns out that the burglar wasn’t stealing the eggs to cause mischief or eat them or anything. He was just lonely. He only took the time machine because he thought it was also an egg. Everyone is totally cool with this, and Frankie tells him that he won’t be lonely again if he just starts being nice.
Where do I even begin? Okay, so, he took the eggs because he was lonely? How in the name of Zoboomafoo can unhatched babies ease loneliness? Isn’t that the modern-day equivalent of no one replying to you on Facebook so you go out and steal some ultrasounds? Was it just a matter of having something there whether it was sentient or not? If so, why not a rock or maybe the skeletons we saw earlier? Why take something that’s only going to cause him trouble later?
And he confused a time machine for an egg? I understand that it’s ovular; something living came out of it; and dinosaurs here have no concept of electronics, but even if that’s why he thought it was one, that would mean he took what he believed to be an empty egg, a mere egg shell. If that’s good enough to lift his loneliness, he really couldn’t have just taken nothing but egg shells that no one cares about instead of committing a heinous crime? They’re probably littered all over the place!
And I can maybe sorta understand Frankie being all chill since he had no emotional connection to anything here, but why didn’t that mother have any negative reaction to this guy? Seriously, there was no rebuke or anything. What kind of mom has nothing to say, do, or apparently even feel when confronting her children’s kidnapper? And seriously, my dog dude? The final lesson here for kids is that individuals stop being lonely when they’re kind? I guess I’m just a jerk then. Frankie then gives a radioactive thumbs up, and that’s an egg wrap. /Deep breaths Wow. That ending was- I need booze.
Okay, let’s just talk about the game’s features. To help players keep track of what minigames they already did per area, it very nicely shows an egg on the bottom corner if you hover over a completed task. You can even attempt to steal the eggs you’ve recovered, but the moms won’t let you get away with it; at least it shows they’ve upped their protectiveness and become mildly better parents now. Maybe. It also kindly provides the means to turn off the music if you don’t know what the volume knob does on your GBC. And best of all, it shows what Titans Tower would look like after being attacked by a slime monster.
The music is pretty well composed, and the opening track is especially catchy. I was sorely tempted to rap my right foot to the beat since my left leg was folded onto my other knee at the time. Sorta sounded like the thing you’d hear at a private Christian elementary school as the kids are walking up to the podium one by one to collect their achievement awards. The rest is also pleasantly endearing and elaborate enough for a really good effect during gameplay.
Oddly, though, the credits have no sound at all, not even any colorful imagery. Most people already have no interest in watching that part, so thanks for taking away any possible appeal for those that do!
Visually speaking, the game is bright and colorful but gets kinda weird sometimes. Frankie and the repeated pterodactyl model look very different on the cartridge’s cover than in the game. I mean, she’s purple on the front. I know the Gameboy Color is only 8-bit and all, but it’s like they didn’t even try to make them sync up. Speaking of her, she makes one of the oddest expressions when you’re at her nest. It’s like the kind of face you’d see if she hadn’t gotten a reply to the text message that she sent her boyfriend six hours ago, AND she’s trying really hard to hold in her diarrhea after all the chocolates she consumed from emotion eating.
Sometimes, she simply looks like she wants to eat YOU, ironically the face she should have made after meeting her kids’ kidnapper.
Oddest of all is what you see at the start: a message saying that this game was intended for private use only and that public performance is prohibited. Guess I better hurry and find a Get out of Jail Free card.
Ya know, for little little kids, this ain’t a bad choice to help develop a few scholastic skills; I think the intellect of a preschooler would be rather enhanced by this experience, and early development is the most important. The story, while very simple, is creative enough to hold a tyke’s attention I’d imagine. And if you want your children to join the UFC when they grow up, the violent head traumas, face smacking, and explosive pushing are sure to build a strong foundation for a highly-profitable, immensely-violent future. For anyone else, even with nothing better to do, I think people are gonna struggle to get engrossed with this beyond-easy title. If I were a dog, I definitely wouldn’t call this chocolate, but it ain’t exactly much of a treat either.
Well, I gotta get going. I’ve been feeling kind of lonely, so I need to nicely steal some snake eggs and shells. Thanks for reading, and God bless.
Graphics and Sound- 8/10
Difficulty Balance- 4/10
Very foxtastic indeed!
Next time on The Bad Wordplayer:
When a girl that dwarfed a woman’s beauty is put to sleep on fruit, dwarfs decide to dwarf the woman’s life without needing to sleep on it.