Platform games had hit rock-bottom. Everyone was sick of the wave of cutesy characters with ATTITUDES, all with their own KER-RAZY adventures. Bubsy the Bobcat. Aero the Acro-Bat. Awesome Possum. Zero the Kamikaze. They were all too little, too late. Sonic had passed his prime and everyone was looking to the next-gen systems for their gaming pleasure. As a result, a few games were criminally overlooked. Dynamite Headdy was one of them.
Dynamite Headdy is different. Even the name of the game invites curiosity. At heart, it is a simple old-timey platform game, but it has more than a few excellent touches that make it essential. For a start, the feature that, for me, excels the game: the secret bonus points. Bonuses given to the player for experimenting. Trying stupid, pointless things. Sure, they’re only points, but come the end of a level, you’ll be itching to go back and hit every wall from every different direction in order to find that last elusive bonus point.
The controls are perfectly functional. The C button makes Headdy jump, the B button makes Headdy throw his head, and the A button cancels the current head. The head throw can be aimed in eight directions, but has a limited range. This is remedied by collecting bonus heads from Headdy’s friend…Headcase. These bonus heads include such gems as “Spike Head,” which lets you climb walls, “Triple Head,” which allows Headdy to throw a three-way head, and my personal favorite, “Small Head,” which shrinks Headdy to 1/5 of his original size!
Wusses need not apply for this game. It is tough, sometimes frustratingly so. One boss in particular (the nasty gatekeeper, World 7) just WILL NOT die. The imagination is what keeps you gaming, the yearning to play on and see what surprise awaits you on the next level. The game throws constant thrills from beginning to end, with some truly unforgettable bosses.
The game keeps you humming with some memorable music. Of special note is the theme to World 7. The sound effects are effective also, but there is a little too much repetition.
Dynamite Headdy looks lovely. Effects such as sprite scaling and rotation frequently get thrown up, with chunky, memorable sprites, especially on the bosses. The boss “Spinderella” is, graphically, a Genesis first. The game is very colourful, with excellent self-referential intro and exit screens. Every time you play, you’ll spot something new.
This game is awesomely fun, with the first level, “The Getaway,” managing to be far more entertaining than the PS2 game of the same name. New elements are frequently thrown up to keep players on their toes. The gravity switching fun of “Twin Freaks.” The airborne combat of “Fly Hard.” The Indiana Jones-esque boulder dodging of “Toys N the Hood.” The horrible puns on popular movies that form the names of each level.
The replay value is high even without the secret bonus points. There is an extra ending to unlock by beating hidden bonus games, and it’s so damn fun to play that you’ll keep coming back to it anyway.
Borrow, buy, or steal this game as soon as humanly possible.