This dynamite cop fizzles out - Review By Fragmaster
The sequel to Die Hard Arcade, Dynamite Cop (AKA Dynamite Deka 2 in Japan) is a throwback to old school beat 'em ups that usually involved a lone spiky-haired guy taking on legions of scary lookin', denim-clad 80's ruffians.
In Dynamite Cop, you are Captain Bruno Delinger (or one of his two buddies). Described as "one tough ball of primate-carrying beef cake," Bruno is fond of big explosions and his "trusted monkey sidekick," Banana. Your mission is to save a cruise ship full of hostages, including the president's daughter, from a band of modern-day pirates.
One difference between Dynamite Cop and its predecessors is that it's 3D. Fortunately, the control doesn't suffer any. It's easy to move around, beat the snot out of people, pickup and aim items, and generally wreak havoc. Also, like many classic beat 'em ups, Dynamite Cop supports cooperative play, and it's always fun to beat up people with a friend. There are three players to choose from (two guys and one girl, how cliché), each with different special moves and combos.
Beat 'em up, beat 'em up, beat 'em up up up...
You can also use a variety of items and guns as weapons, much like Power Stone. Some of the weapons, like the anti-tank rifle and the anti-ship missile are pretty cool, but you can also use more unconventional weapons like deck chairs, French bread, and tuna. You can only wield one weapon at a time, and they will "break" with extended use.
The gameplay is, not surprisingly, very straightforward: just beat the living shenanigans out of everything that moves. Besides snagging weapons, you can also collect power-up icons. If you collect five "P" icons or one "S" icon, then you become fully powered up, your fist and feet catch fire, and you can perform obscenely unfair combos on your enemies. A power gauge measures the limited amount of power-up time you have.
The plot isn't that great, but what did you expect? Oh, and the president's daughter is a bow-wow.
Dynamite Cop features some non-linear paths. You have three choices of how to attack the boat in the beginning of the game, which affects how you progress through the ship, and what you do in the visual scenes (see below) can also alter your journey. The cinematics also change depending on what path you took in the beginning.
The graphics are only decent, and do look a bit dated. However, you can still tell what everything is and they're perfectly adequate. There's also some nice little touches, such as the fact that your clothes become torn and damaged as you get beat on more and more, eventually leaving you bare-chested (well, for the male characters, that is). The camera isn't too bad, and works well even in two-player mode.
Dynamite Cop's biggest problem is that it's just too short. Other reviews have claimed that you can solve the game in 20 minutes and while that is a slight exaggeration, it's really not that far off the mark. You can quickly blaze through the game in under a half hour, but there are three different paths to explore and Showdown mode, which makes the game more difficult. Still, it'll take you about two hours at the very most to see everything Dynamite Cop has to offer, and by then you'll be sick of playing the damn game since it's so repetitive and the continue (credit) system is unbalanced.
The "visual scenes" are easy, but they're also pointless. All you have to do is push left or right or push one button when the game tells you to, and you're successful. Once you've seen them once, "playing" through them again is a waste of time, especially since you know what you have to do.
The "bonus stuff" is just plain lame. There's an illustration gallery similar to Soul Calibur, where collected pieces of art you find within the game can be displayed. The difference is that there's no incentive to collect these crappy images, because unlike Soul Calibur, they don't unlock any special features. There's also a horrible, hastily drawn comic book and a mini-game, Tranquilizer Gun. I have no idea why Tranquilizer Gun, a little-known Sega arcade game that was released way back in 1980, is included in Dynamite Cop, especially since the game sucks and never even was that great to begin with. There's also a "detonator pack," which allows you to download some minor additional enhancements for the game through the Dreamcast Network. Oh boy, more illustrations. Woo hoo. Also included are the obligatory survival and versus mode, both poorly implemented and not really suitable considering the shallow gameplay.
Hope you like lame-o generic enemies, 'cause this game has a bunch of 'em.
The enemies are pretty lame, I still don't know what's up with the elderly teenage mutant ninja turtles rip-offs. The AI is pretty damn awful. Enemies aren't very aggressive, never jump kick, never escape, make poor use of weapons and items, and rarely attack you while you're in the process of beating up someone else. They're also poorly animated, overall.
There are some other minor annoyances like the fact you often cannot carry weapons accumulated in one scene to the next, and there's an irritating pause (probably load time) before the visual scenes or transitions. Also, what's with the weird monkey dancing at the end?
The voice acting is pretty terrible (the repetitive enemy taunts after you die may drive you to drinking), the sound is very bland, and the music is completely indistinct.
Finally, the interface is slow and poorly laid out. It's very confusing in places and will drop you back to the title sequence if you wait too long to make a selection.
The Final Word
Even though Dynamite Cop is really the only brawler on the Dreamcast at the moment, it probably isn't worth your money. If you're a big fan of beat 'em ups, consider renting it for a few days. Dynamite Cop is fun in spots, but its short length and lack of depth make this one really hard to recommend. Go play Streets of Rage 2 instead.
Highs: Old school beat 'em up gameplay, some cool items and weapons
Lows: Way too short, little depth, crappy extras, lots of minor annoyances.
Other: 1-2 players, VMU Compatible, Arcade Stick Compatible.
(out of a possible 10)
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