Nostalgic Gamer: The Berenstain Bears’ Camping Adventure

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Anyone familiar with children’s books should know about The Berenstain Bears, considering that the franchise’s hundreds of titles have sold over a quarter of a billion copies since Stan and Jan Berenstain debuted them in 1962. I remember liking their short, colorful picture books as a kid, though I kind of agree with the various criticisms hurled against them. Their popularity yielded two TV series (made in the 1980s and 2000s) and several video games. Thankfully, I never played the poorly-received 2000 Game Boy game Extreme Sports with the Berenstain Bears (Seanbaby declared it one of the worst video games ever) but I did play the 1994 Sega Genesis game The Berenstain Bears’ Camping Adventure (there was also a version on Game Gear). Though I almost never hear people talk about it, I think it’s better than one would probably expect.

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There’s not much to the story: the Bear family (Papa, Mama, Brother and Sister) go camping in the woods, where the parents allow the kids to go exploring before it gets dark. Since you won’t see Papa or Mama again until you beat the game or get a game over, it’s up to Brother, Sister or both (in the simultaneous two-player mode) to explore all of the game’s stages. From the start, you have your choice of four levels to play in any order you want: Goin’ Fishin’, Cave Adventure, Honey Hunting or Nature Walk (once you beat all four, you can access Haunted Forest.) Each level consists of several segments, with your goal being to clear each by finding an “exit” signpost: once all segments are complete, you have to beat the stage boss.

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Each level has its own unique item to collect (rainbow trout, diamonds, honeycombs, butterflies or flashlights) that aren’t essential to finishing the level, but getting a certain number will allow you to access bonus rounds. Extra lives are a rare find, but you can also acquire them by collecting enough four-leaf clovers or getting a high score by collecting various goodies or defeating enemies. Hopefully it didn’t convince any real kids that it’s okay to fight animals by throwing rocks at or “bopping” (butt-bouncing) on them: particularly when enemies include bees, cobras, crocodiles, bobcats, mountain lions and wolves.

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Though most people probably wouldn’t expect much from a game called The Berenstain Bears’ Camping Adventure, I thought Realtime Associates did a pretty good job on it. I can’t think of any serious flaws that it has: the graphics are bright and colorful, the music and sound effects are decent and the level design is varied and offers a reasonable platforming challenge that doesn’t insult kids’ intelligence. Depending on the difficulty and whether or not you play bonus stages, it can be beaten in around twenty to forty or so minutes: not bad for a single-sitting game.

 

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About the Author

Mark Theroux

Mark is g33ky about a lot of things, including music (especially his hero “Weird Al” Yankovic); movies (just about anything goes in that category); TV (ranging from older Simpsons to Breaking Bad to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic); and video games (he started with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for Sega Genesis, and his modern consoles of choice are the Nintendo 3DS and – most recently – Wii U.) Some of his other favorite things are cats, Chipotle burritos and long walks on the beach. His least favorite things include poison ivy (the plant, not the smokin’ Batman supervillain), rude people and the inevitability of making a typo or two.

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