Retro Review: Dynamite Dux
Platform: Sega Master System
Sometimes video games are just plain weird. Take for example Dynamite Dux; you play as a blue duck (obviously) who wears bright red boots and punches enemies such as limbless dogs, a cat on roller skates, a bazooka toting fox and a pig dressed like a sumo wrestler.
Dynamite Dux is a side scrolling beat-em up. It opens up with a nice animation of your character and his girlfriend in a field. She is jumping for joy and before you can say duck soup a baddie turns up, captures your girlfriend in a bubble and turns you into our punching and kicking ducky hero.
According to the game manual, (yes kiddies, games used to have manuals and they were awesome) your girlfriends name is Lucy and the bad guy who captured her is called Achacha. The manual goes onto to say, ‘Get ready to punch everything you see. Achacha has your feathers ruffled and you don’t really like being a duck, much less a duck dinner. Only beating him will you ever be human again.’ Game manuals are a topic for another day but they are sorely missed in my opinion. Look how much imagination, time and effort the people who put this manual together went to explaining the plot of a game where a duck punches stuff. Amazing!
With the game being on the Sega Master System it is very simple to play, as you only have 2 buttons which you use to jump and punch. You can do a jump kick but generally speaking punching does the job. Speaking of which, if you hold the punch button down for a few seconds you wind up your arm and unload with a super punch. You can also pick up various weapons such as stones, bombs, machine guns and bazookas to help you in your quest to rescue Lucy.
As well as the strange enemies you encounter, there is also a mid-level and end of level boss. You have a health bar and can find various food items such as hamburgers, cakes and hotdogs to give you a boost if you take any damage.
The graphics are bright and colourful with the game featuring some nice cheerful tunes which suit the tone and mood. This is what I loved most about the Sega Master System. Despite its obvious technical limitations, I was always impressed with the presentation of a lot of the games.
Dynamite Dux isn’t going to feature on any list of classic side scrolling beat-em ups such as Double Dragon or Final Fight, but it is worth looking at because of its quirky and slightly odd take on the genre.
Graphics – Bright and colourful sprites and animations. 6
Sound – Cheerful basic tunes which suit the mood of the game. 6
Playability – The game is very simple to play but handles nicely. The jumping and punching feel very responsive. 6
Re-Playability – Dynamite Dux took me about 30 minutes to finish. Despite its short length the game still plays very well. 5
Overall – Its been 25 years since I last played Dynamite Dux. By no means is this game a classic but, its worth a look even if just to experience one of the more weird and wonderful side scrolling beat-em ups. 6
Review by Chris (co-host of 60 Minutes With and ‘The Same Coin‘)