Name: Dynamite Dux
Format: Master System
Genre: Scrolling Beat 'em' Up
Region Reviewed: PAL
Year of Release: 1989 (UK)
Ok so this title was one of the games that came from the all conquering genre that was the side scrolling platformer / beat em up, from the dawn of the console 8 bit era right through the 16 bit era this type of game dominated the scene, all the greats fit into this category from Streets of rage to Final Fight there were literally hundreds and hundreds of these kinds of games and if im honest its a genre that has almost died out now and that makes me a very sad panda!
Now the year this hit the UK was a great time for me, I loved my master system, I was so poor that everything I got was played to death and I really invested time deciding what to spend that paper round money on and every review at the time gave this a really good score. I'm also very character driven so the fantastic lead character and assorted silly bad guys made this a must and honestly had you asked me up until yesterday I would have defended this game until my dying breath, not so much now though.
The story is very simple, your having fun with your lady lucy when all of a sudden she's kidnapped and your turned into a duck, yup welcome to the 80's. Some evil douchebag has decided that he should have her so like many games from that era decides to pull a Fritzel and keep her locked away for himself, I love how kidnapping and basically rape was so openly championed back in the early years, no wonder girls never got into games back then.
You have to go to another dimension and fight through 5 levels of weirdness to defeat the evil wizard to get her back and for some completely unexplained reason you have to do it as a duck...... A duck...... A F***ING duck, how on earth did I not question this back in 1989????? Now your not just a standard duck, oh hell no, you are a duck with a super power punch that he winds up in order to lay the smackdown on those evil creatures candy asses.
Along the way you get some cool weapon power ups to use but only for a short period of time then its back to the punching and twice every level you get some weird boss that you have to defeat in order to move on, it all sounds very repetitive and stupid and it absolutely is but part of me likes that, the other part of me that now knows what makes a good game thinks this blows.
On paper and in screenshots this still looks perfectly ok, who doesnt like a side scrolling beat-em up right? The main problem here is that you can honestly just walk past the enemies and only fight the mid and end of level bosses, seriously they just walk in usually straight lines and go past you, its mental and I dont remember this being the case at all. The bosses are very bland are consist of actually only 3 types repeated in different colour schemes and are so easy to beat its not even a challenge. The graphics are at best functional and the bosses have no sense of scale or make you feel that your in serious danger the music is ok I suppose but nothing stands out at all, its simply meh.
As you progress you will collect treasure chests that give you points only theres no reason for this, points arnt tallied until the end of the level and even then dont seem to do anything at all, you start with 3 lives and from what I can tell infinite continues so even if you get an extra life for getting points its pointless because when you did just hit continue......... DUMB!
I completed this game first time of asking, it wasnt even remotely hard and I only died after falling off the edge of the playing screen or whilst learning boss battle patterns, I used 1 continue overall. I didnt have much fun. The Master System version is a real disgrace compared to the outstanding Arcade original, mainly because the cool art style that had massive Batman Syle BLAM and POW words pop up during the action are all gone and worst of all the two player option was completely removed. The flickering graphics constantly annoy and sometimes collision detection simply is nowhere to be seen.
It's funny how your childhood memories can sometimes play tricks on you, some retro is just plain bad, worth a play for sure but still bad, this is one of those games. I hope people still give this a go as we are all different after all and maybe you will love it to bits.
Verdict:- Another classic example of how the past should sometimes stay in the past. All of these faults are game faults and not me changing tastes or growing up, it was simply a poor game wrapped in funny clothing and some great PR from sega and the magazines at the time.
Its a rubbish arcade conversion for sure, it needed cut scenes and a more thrashed out story, more enemy variation for sure and the boss battles are terrible, they have zero impact. Its also far too short, 5 levels is a disgrace by any standard especially when they are so short and devoid of originality. This was phoned in Sega and you know it, shame on you.
Second Opinion:- Transbot disagrees! Thouest doth not understand! Dynamite Dux is wonderful to be true. One does not simply make complaint of five levels. Some would kill for such!
Any game where you're a violent duck is deserving of more praise, despite lack of love for its conversion. It is also on the most Transbot of consoles. So Transbot says FZZT to you.
Transbot Scores:- 7 out of 10