|Review by||:||Ken Gagne|
A Titanic look-alike ocean liner has been hijacked; among the prisoners is the President's daughter. The President has chosen you, Bruno Delinger, to lead the rescue team, because you like kids. Save the day and you'll never pay taxes again!
If it sounds like a bad Steven Seagal movie, then you have the right idea behind Dynamite Cop, a Dreamcast game from Sega.
Based on the arcade game "Die Hard Arcade", Dynamite Cop is a two (but not three or four)-player game that sends the heroes onto the ship by air, boat, and water. Three approach patterns designate the initial three levels players can choose, but all roads lead to the same goal.
The waves of pirates are broken up into rooms. When the enemies in each room are defeated, players automatically move onto the next area. En route, a Visual Scene may occur, requiring players to react quickly to a situation to avoid a confrontation or taking damage.
Dynamite Cop lacks in levels, which is a major disappointment. There are three "missions," but each involve the same areas and enemies, only in different order. Identical slugfests can be played only so often before the originality wears off. Fortunately, the varying difficulty levels and novelty of attacks keeps the game fresher than it otherwise would be.
The humorous attacks are definitely the game's high point. Our heroes use their surroundings creatively to fend off enemy attacks. Dynamite Cop's eye candy is deadly: grab the French roll in the kitchen, swing a vacuum cleaner in the lounge, or let them eat cake in the parlor. Like the jewel case says: It's tuna-slinging, hairspray-aiming killer commandos to the rescue!
The graphics are arcade-quality. Pirates are detailed enough to make out scars on their faces, though their movements are not always fluid. Some brief but amazing full-motion videos serve to advance the plot.
For the many forms of attacks, there are a variety of crashes and explosions. The characters have little to say, except for victory taunts and defeat cries.
Dynamite Cop has plenty of extras, but they don't amount to much. New characters and weapons can be accessed after downloading the Detonator Pack from Sega's web page, but these hidden accessories aren't sufficiently different from the standard items. Survival and Versus modes create infinite endurance tests for one or two players. Extra stages repeat earlier ones, but at higher difficult settings. Tranquilizer Gun, an arcade game from the early Eighties, is also included, but for what purpose, I can't tell.
The best extras by far are the online illustrations. Strewn throughout the game, these pictures depict different characters, often with laughable captions. An online comic similarly fails to take itself seriously. Not many games have a sense of humor; it's great to see one that does, and so abundantly.
The beat-em-up brawler is a genre that's often fun, but quickly grows old. Dynamite Cop has some features which prolong the game's life, but lack others that any standard fighting game should have, making for a fun but mixed bag. If it can't be the best of both worlds, it might as well be Dynamite Cop.
This article is copyright (c) 1999, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.
Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 13-Dec-99