Dynamite Dux (Arcade) review
"Dynamite Dux may be severely underrated but itís still one of the quirkiest and original beat-em-ups Iíve played in a long time. Instead of using the standard scheme of a city being overrun by crime or a big axe being stolen, it does things a little differently. You play a duck called Bin, a character who was probably designed to be SEGAís mascot, judging by his red sneakers and blue skin who has to punch, kick and shoot his way through an army of bizarre enemies. It was an early release for ..."
Dynamite Dux may be severely underrated but itís still one of the quirkiest and original beat-em-ups Iíve played in a long time. Instead of using the standard scheme of a city being overrun by crime or a big axe being stolen, it does things a little differently. You play a duck called Bin, a character who was probably designed to be SEGAís mascot, judging by his red sneakers and blue skin who has to punch, kick and shoot his way through an army of bizarre enemies. It was an early release for SEGA but it was strangely obscure making it a hidden treasure for any player lucky enough to find it.
The plotline is the old tale of the evil guy kidnapping your girl and big hero guy going out to save her. Although on this version Achacha doesnít change Bin into a duck, Bin is already a duck and Achacha looks a lot cooler in this version, although slightly innocent in comparison with the demon seen on the Master System. Bin, and his twin brother Pin( he looks identical to Bin except heís red) were playing with Lucy when Achacha, for no reason at all, stole Lucy and teleported her to the Achacha world. Kind of bland, but when you play an arcade game that chances are you wonít be overly interested.
Dynamite Dux is a side-scroller with an element of beat em up action. It follows the same kind of style seen in other arcade classics like ďDouble Dragon.Ē In other words you walk around hitting anything and everything that moves, going through a variety of different areas. A city centre, the old west, the back streets of Brooklyn, a jungle (a level which was executed from the SMS version) and Japan are some of the areas that you will take Bin. Most of the level designs are similar from one another and youíll notice that when you play the game more. There is also a two player feature for this version that was also removed on the Master System which makes the game so more addictive and takes off the weight of the challenge, a bit. Playing through the game with a friend is definitely recommended as itís a blast but when youíre alone itís still fantastic.
The collection of fiends preparing to thwart you is very bizarre and outstandingly original. As you walk down the city street youíll be attacked by packs of dogs, sausage moose, red crocodiles with boxing gloves, rhinos who play football in Brooklyn. Thatís just some of the fantastic creatures youíll be set put to face. Youíll see a trend in attack patterns used by the enemies in where they will tend to use strength by numbers. On occasion you can be attacked by groups of baddies ranging from one solitary dog to pack of twelve crocodiles, which can be tedious if you have no weapons and are forced to duke it out with your fists. Thankfully most guys are easy to tackle and only need to be hit once and if you have a melee weapon like a machine gun or a flamethrower you should be fine
Most games that follow this theme (Double Dragon, Streets of Rage etc) tend to have a small variety of close range weapons but Dynamite Dux specialises in guns and throwing weapons. You have a machine gun, handy for taking out a large group of enemies, a flamethrower that can sweep the screen clean of foes quite effectively and a rocket launcher which does sufficient damage to any living thing it hits. You may find yourself spoilt for choice in the weapon dept when you probably find a machine gun and a flamethrower in the same area. You can only use one weapon at a time however so if you find a weapon when you have one youíll have to drop it to collect it.
Other guns range from a bazooka, which will annihilate anything it touches. A rocket launcher may kill more bad guys than one if you make it hit right and a homing launcher will obviously give you some control on where and whom it hits. The throw type weapons are smaller in amount and range from bombs, rocks and double bombs. Throwing a rock will kill an enemy quickly but can only take one goon at a time so the use of a bomb can give some more range, toppling more enemies who are near it, the double bomb does this even more so. Quite a collection of arms just ready for you to try out, making a crazy game even more psychotic than normal.
The bosses are just as bizarre and original, the only problem with them is the fact that a number of them are repeated throughout the game. A rock surrounded by a circle of other rocks and a cloud monster that has a similar design and also a giant rock statue that breathes fire and can hit you with its fist attacks you. A giant star, a Chinese dragon and fire wheel are also some of the quirky bosses. To defeat a boss youíll have to hit/shoot key parts of the body and avoid the projectiles that the boss fires. Bosses range from being reasonably easy to tricky and youíll find that even the final boss is easy enough. Then when you discover the tactics that the boss uses it all folds into place quickly and youíll be whizzing through the game.
The intense colour and beautifully detailed characters in Dynamite Dux are something that will not only catch your eye in the arcade but they entice you into playing. All of the sprites are huge, each and every one of them are brilliantly drawn and are given a small hint of personality. The dogs look very depressed as they slug across the screen while wolves look stark raving mad as they sit shooting canon balls at you. The gameís backgrounds are also lusciously colourful and full of beautiful scenery. We also have luscious green forests, the grey stones of downtown Brooklyn and the marble coated floors of the bad guyís lair which are all done smoothly.
After listening to the first few tracks (some are repeated throughout the game) youíll be tapping your toes and after ten minutes you wonít be able to stop yourself humming. The majority of the tunes are actually repeated throughout the game while a few levels here and there have brand new music. The first track has a medium paced beat and is something that stays in your head ages after youíve heard it. Others are quite slow but they are still quite memorable, the jungle and western tunes tend to follow their own theme quite well. The quality of the tracks are also something that is quite special, the tunes are smooth and clear, unlike the tangy Master System version, which played the whole song on two notes.
Dynamite Dux is a game with lots of charm and originality that leaves most older arcade games in the dust. Itís an under appreciated brawler that could easily give more popular games of the genre a run for their money. It remains as a great game that most people donít know about and thatís a damn shame, if youíre reading this right now, go and ROM it as quickly as you can. Revitalise the lost classic and give this lonely game the caring love it deserves, poor little guy.
Community review by goldenvortex (March 17, 2005)
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