Genre: Platformer Developer: Treasure Publisher: Sega of America Players: 1 Released: 1994
Treasure doesn’t seem to make that many games but when they do make them they make them very well. Two great examples of this has to the two games they released on the Genesis/Mega Drive back around about 1993, Dynamite Headdy and Gunstar Heroes two very different games but the same quality that Treasure always seems to produce. Dynamite Headdy was a unique platformer that was probably one of the best platform games on the system (when you think about the large amount of crap ones that it had).
Dynamite Headdy follows the story of a world of puppets being ransacked by the powerful Dark Demon who, with his army of knight like puppets and the cybernetic enhanced cat called Trouble Bruin has taken over the peaceful land and used his giant robots to kidnap all of the residents of the land and turn the useful puppets into members of his army and throw out the useless ones. Good for him! Except that Dark Demons baby-faced henchmen decided to throw our hero Dynamite Headdy a puppet who can really use his head into the trash pile, fortunately Headdy decides to go and kick or head some ass to destroy Dark Demon and his minions once and for all.
So, the control of this game is remotely simple, A is to jump, so is C and B is to use your specific attack depending on what head you have at the time. This game plays just like most other platform games so if you were a fan of the likes of Bubsy and Decap Attack then you will have an idea of what you have to do.
Headdy can use his head in a number of useful ways, since his neck is missing he can throw is head at enemies to kill them and his head comes bouncing back. Its main purpose is to defeat enemies but it can be enhanced to do different things. If you come across something called a Head Case, which is a box with a changing picture on its front with a smiling face bouncing up and down on top of it then head butt to get a different head. The picture that has appeared on the Head Case when you hit it will tell you what your new head is. The great thing here is that there is a huge variety of different heads to use, most of them will be very useful and others may hinder your progress and even hurt you but the majority of them are great.
A few examples would be the vacuum head which sucks up all of the enemies and items on the screen, which is very helpful if you’ve got a stack of monsters after you and if you need some more life., sucking out those jelly beans in those hard to reach places. Other heads include Hammer head, which increases the impact you have when you hit a bad guy, the metal head the fires out heaps of sparks that kills all enemies nearby and the sleepy head, which recovers all of your health. There are a lot more of these and I’m not going to ruin them all for you so you’ll have to play it to find out.
You’ll have to go through a few recommended, yet not compulsory training rounds to sharpen your skills so you can get the hang of controls etc. You’ll visit a bizarrely populated town where you target practice, use the Hangman and also learn about the amount of heads you have and how to use them. Hangmen are happy little faces that hang from ledges which you can use your head to grab on to and throw yourself up into other areas, they can be very helpful if the set you are begins to crumble. The target practice involves a fairy guy called Beau, who will point out weak points of bosses and other bad guys. These training missions are quite annoying but will be beneficial for someone who is new to the game.
The enemies and Key-Masters (bosses) in Dynamite Headdy are very bizarre and great because of it. You get a lot of robotic knights that seem to have happy faces under there visors, which is a tad on the strange side. They are the bulk of the bad guys here and they tend to be pretty much everywhere. They seem to get more gadgets and weaponry as you get further into the game, like a bulldozer and some helicopter rotors, these guys are very easy to beat all you have to is head butt them once or twice. There are few other bad guys in certain levels but the majority tend to these robotic knights.
The Key-Masters are also very odd and original, ranging from a giant dog that fetches bombs and smaller dogs on unicycles and an oversized dressmakers doll. These bosses are very strange and you’ll be wondering what drugs Treasure was on when they came with some of the ideas. The most frequent occurring enemy though is Headdy’s arch rival Trouble Bruin. A cat that enjoys attaching his head onto a robotic body and coming up with some bizarre methods of killing you. He has various boss stages and he always shows up with something deadly like a robot with a giant claw that grabs you and smashes you around or that bizarre machine with claws that rips out the ground you stand on. Bruins machines tend to either very easy or pretty damn hard but they all provide a challenge that keeps you going.
Visually, the game is very bright and cheery everybody looks happy and even the most evil looking bad guy only looks a tad grumpy. The sprites of Headdy and the other characters are well drawn with superb animation between them, even the least important sprite looks cool. Headdy himself has tons of animations due to his vast amount of heads each one looking better or as good as the last. The cartoon effect that the game produces is outstanding and the colours, phew! They are so bright they make a kaleidoscope look like a shadow, the yellows the pinks the greens, all have a great blend in with the game, making it look like one the most colourful 16-bit game produced. The backgrounds are also not too bad, they resemble stage like backgrounds, due to the puppet setting and they look fairly decent. The effect they produce is pretty darn good. Possibly the prettiest graphics in a platformer for the Genesis, it looks brilliant.
The music is also pretty good; all of the tunes are very memorable and not too bad on the quality side either. After playing this game you’ll never forget the opening level music or the Backstage battle theme song. Although some of the tunes are just your standard platform happy music a lot of the songs are really good, like the Terminate her two theme. Troubles Bruins entrance theme is the cream of the crop though after listening to it once you’ll never forget the p-p-p-party on dialogue at the beginning. The sound effects are also great, mainly the snippets of speech that feature like the “whoa!” or “One up” when you get an extra life, there is a large amount of it here though and for a game on this system its actually outstanding stuff. Dark Demons quotes sound very cheesy and you’ll never forget Beau’s “Target” as he appears to help you. Fantastic stuff!
If you are an avid fan of these types of games then there is no reason why you shouldn’t get Dynamite Headdy. It’s a platform dream and with barely any faults except that it is very hard, but some see that as a good thing. Pick it up if you see it. It’s really worth getting and it must be one of the better platform games on the system period. I had hours of satisfaction and I don’t see why you shouldn’t too.