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Dynamite Dux (Sega Master System) artwork

Dynamite Dux (Sega Master System) review

"Dynamite Dux was a fun, yet extremely obscure game that was released in the arcades in 1989. A cute cuddly-looking platform/beat-me-up that set out to capture the hearts and minds of arcade gamers everywhere but failed miserably. It is now a game long forgotten (despite it being barely noticed by anyone in the first place) now cast in the pile of games that didnít quite get the attention that they sought along with other games such as ďSnow BrosĒ and ďGolden Axe warrior.Ē It is a shame that Dyna..."

Dynamite Dux was a fun, yet extremely obscure game that was released in the arcades in 1989. A cute cuddly-looking platform/beat-me-up that set out to capture the hearts and minds of arcade gamers everywhere but failed miserably. It is now a game long forgotten (despite it being barely noticed by anyone in the first place) now cast in the pile of games that didnít quite get the attention that they sought along with other games such as ďSnow BrosĒ and ďGolden Axe warrior.Ē It is a shame that Dynamite Dux has suffered this because it could have helped Sega gain an early advantage over Nintendo during the console wars.

The game was ported on two consoles, the C-64 and the Master System and although they were both no where near the greatness of the original arcade game the Master System was indeed the master system in comparison with the two. The story of the game is not too original, it uses the bad guy kidnaps heroes (who in this case is Bin, this poor sap who got turned into a duck) girlfriend and hero goes to save her routine. Itís the same story that was used in ďSuper Mario BrosĒ and ďDouble DragonĒ but in those games Mario or Billy Lee didnít get turned into a duck, like the character here.

Dynamite Dux does use a lot of borrowed ideas from games to create its own eccentric style. Mainly it takes ideas from the game ďDouble DragonĒ on the NES and mixes it up with an eccentric style. Donít get me wrong, this isnít a bad thing, I liked ďDouble DragonĒ as much as the next guy but I found Dynamite Dux more addictive and offered some light relief from the seriousness of some scrolling beat-em-ups. I mean look at all of the games from this genre and youíll find that 99% of them have serious stories involving gang culture and beating up drug-dealers (which is good) but you need to have a break from it sometime.

Anyway, the basic game-play of Dynamite Dux is fairly simple to grasp, just like all side-scrolling beat-em-ups. You walk right and keep on walking right, punching, kicking and even shooting bad guys that come at you in oversized groups. At the end of each stage youíll come across a boss that will fight in exactly the same way the last one fought. Believe youíll play this game two or three times and you will get the hang of it.

There are so many enemies and they always attack in large groups, which gets quite distressing and somewhat annoying. Despite this you canít say a bad thing about the enemies though, I mean they range from little dogs with giant heads to red crocodiles with blue boxing gloves. Original and completely over the top, just the way most platform games should be. Most of the enemies are very easy to beat and can be taken out with a single punch, (in fact I think all bad guys in this game die in one hit).

Bosses, on the other hand are a different story. I guess they had to make up for it somehow due to the fact that all the bad guys were pushovers. Bosses are very tricky to beat at first but when you get the hang of it they do become easier, a bit! The only problem with the bosses despite the difficulty is the fact that they pretty much fight in the same way as each other, so when you get the knack of fighting them youíll soon race through this game no problem. There are a few like the King Penguin, for example and the last boss that are do fight a lot differently than regulars but they donít seem to be that much of a problem to overcome.

One of my favourite aspects of this game is the amount of weapons that really contrast with the cute character that you play, I mean how many other games let you take control of machine gun wielding duck. Other weapons apart from the one I just mentioned are a water pistol (used for the putting out of fires), bombs, which you can throw at bad guys and have a larger range than most. Homing launchers, which are rather useless but if they do make contact with an enemy then they will do damage. I think thatís all of the weapons because thatís all I remember but even it isnít it gives you a general idea of what they consist of. Basically, very handy and make the game easier to get through.

First of all, I found the music of the game very good and extremely catchy, despite the fact that it is limited. The theme tune and the first level music are brilliant, in fact they have to be the best I have actually heard on the whole system. The quality is fine, unlike other Master System games that I own, like Wonder Boy, which has an unforgettable opening track. All of the music in this game is great and I am not joking! Every single theme (although it is quite limited because some tunes are repeated throughout the game) sounds impressive, especially for a game of its age.

However, there are a few bad points. Granted the songs are all sound well and are good to listen to, it does get a bit tiring when you listen to the same songs over and over again. There are about four themes not including the boss music, which are constantly repeated on the levels. That was a bit inevitable though because almost all of the games for the system do the same thing, like I said before, Wonder Boy and even the great Alex Kidd did it on his games. I guess they could have improved on this if they had really tried and I reckon the Arcade version probably didnít do this but itís not really that bad!

Visually, I have to say that the game has some of the best 8-bit graphics I have seen. For a Master System game they are very impressive, the sprite of Bin, our unfortunate hero is basically a shrunken version of the arcade sprite. Itís a very cartoon-like style with quite of lot of detail; you can see his red bow tie and his little smile, which looks cute. Itís no way as good as the arcade version, though. The animation is fairly basic and obviously not too advanced, even though itís good enough for its time. Other sprites of enemies and such are fairly well done, like the Sumo pig and the rhino who slides at you look well enough and most of the other enemies follow the same pattern.
I am almost certain that the guy on the first level is a parody of the Colonel from KFC.

The game doesnít take that long to finish and it sure isnít hard but the replay value is quite strong. Iíve finished a few times and I still play it now and then, but obviously with long intervals in between. It takes around three quarters of an hour to finish it if you donít die, and you probably will the first time. The bosses can be very hard especially if you donít have a clue what to do so that will limit the replay value a bit. However, though experienced platform gamers wonít find this too tricky and if you still have a Master System then I think you should get this game for it, itís too obscure for itís own good and is a real treat to play.

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Community review by goldenvortex (March 17, 2005)

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Masters posted October 07, 2010:

I've always wanted to try this game, and this review isn't helping matters any.
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dementedhut posted October 07, 2010:

I've played the game and thought it was a very generic beat em up :/. The only things it has going for it are the nice graphics and the weird looking characters.

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