You are a dwarf trapped in a set of dungeons, and must find a way out of each one by pulling a lever – but which one? Opening treasure chests reveals which direction the correct lever is to be found, but even then, you may need to use a little guesswork. Fortunately, the position of the correct levers in each dungeon is the same every time you play this rather mediocre platform game. While the graphics are lovely, the scrolling and animation are very jerky. Unusually for a platform game, there are no moving enemies, although there are plenty of other hazards which will deplete your energy or cause you to lose a life. Furthermore, jumping on to other platforms sometimes requires annoyingly precise positioning. Fans of platform games won’t like this one.
Dwarf and Duck are trapped in the Night House and must escape from it by finding ten pieces of a key that will unlock the door to the Calculation Room – although what is in there is a mystery to me. Dwarf and Duck can move independently or combine to form a single unit. Duck can fly fast, but Dwarf is the only one who can open the chests containing the keys. There are also one or more ‘chasers’ who move around the house and must be avoided, otherwise the game ends. Regrettably, this attempt at borrowing an innovative idea from another very well known game just doesn’t work in practice. The graphics are delightful and the music is amazing, but the controls are awkward and the gameplay is dull. It’s also advisable to change the difficulty settings once the game loads; the default settings make the game extremely difficult.
Reviewed by John Beckett
Evil Dr Blitzen has stolen some top secret documents and hidden them in a giant safe, and it’s up to Dynamite Dan to collect enough sticks of dynamite to blow the safe door open, get the documents and win the game. It sounds so simple until you realise the sticks of dynamite are scattered throughout a vast and impossibly hard playing area! Weird and wonderful bad guys are everywhere; jumps have to be timed to perfection; more than once you’ll see a stick of dynamite and think, “How do I get that?” But it doesn’t matter, because Dynamite Dan is lots of fun! The graphics are simple but charming, and the music is some of the best in any CPC game ever – the title screen tune will be in your head for days! Better than its sequel, the game is let down only in its difficulty, but you’ll still keep coming back for another go!
See also: Dynamite Dan II.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Amstrad CPC World.
Dynamite Dan II
Reviewed by John Beckett
Evil Dr Blitzen is at it again, folks! His latest plan for world domination is to destroy the youth of the world by planting subliminal sound waves in their pop records! Only one man can save them – Dynamite Dan! Unlike the first game – which was just one big world – Dynamite Dan II has our hero scouring the eight islands of Blitzen’s HQ, in each one looking for a record which contains part of a secret code, a jukebox to play the record in, and fuel for his trusty blimp. When he’s got all eight parts of the code, he can move on to Dr Blitzen’s secret base and destroy it. Like the first Dynamite Dan, the difficulty is mercilessly high with baddies floating everywhere at random, and while the graphics are slightly better, the music is disappointing, and it’s not quite as much fun as the original. Still, it’s pretty good.
See also: Dynamite Dan.
Reviewed by Chris Lennard
Little Lucy is happily playing with her pet ducks, when she is suddenly kidnapped by the evil Achacha the Great and taken to Achacha World. Bin, the diminutive duck, follows them in an attempt to rescue her, where upon his arrival he is confronted by weird baddies such as Sumo Pigs, Snappy Dogs, Boxing Crocodiles and Rollerskating Cats. Bin can deliver ‘dynamite’ punches that vary in strength, and can also use weapons that are strewn across the landscape. Bog-standard platforming action with a variety of end-of-level bosses that need to be defeated ending the final confrontation with Achacha itself. Sadly no music is present – just appropriate sound effects. Pretty graphics, but in a slightly small game window.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: ChinnyVision, Xyphoe.
Here’s a little puzzle game that relies quite heavily on luck, as well as skill. A machine consisting of two columns has to be calibrated so that the platforms in each column are aligned with each other. In the right-hand column, metal balls are fired down the column, pushing the platforms out of alignment. You must do the same thing in the left-hand column, and realign the platforms before your time runs out. Five different sizes of metal ball are used, so you have to think quickly and decide which sizes of ball to use. The graphics are OK and there are very few sound effects, but each level is essentially the same, except with a smaller time limit – you’ll probably lose interest after a few goes.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: ChinnyVision.
(US Gold, 1990)
Lui Bei, Kuan Yu, Shang Fei and Shao Yun are members of the Han clan, who were dethroned by evil Chinese warlords. Together, they fought back to reclaim their throne in the Dynasty Wars. You (and another player if one is available) can control any of the four warriors, who ride on horseback through eight levels, slaughtering the armies of swordsmen and archers who fire arrows at you. At the end of each level, you must also face the generals who also ride on horses and are more difficult to kill. The graphics are detailed but lack colour, and when the action becomes frantic, it’s sometimes difficult to know what’s going on. The music is very good, though, but there’s a lack of variety in the types of enemies you face and the pace is a bit slow.