Dynamite Dan

by Rod Bowkett, Steinar Lund
Mirrorsoft Ltd
Crash Issue 18, Jul 1985   page(s) 26,27

Producer: Mirrorsoft
Memory Required: 48K
Retail Price: £5.95
Language: Machine code
Author: Rod Bowkett

Designing elegant graphics so that loads of screens add up to some sort of building, has been all the rage since JSW, but this new Mirrorsoft platform games takes the idea about as far as possible, and features one of the most classically elegant buildings in any game. Dan's girlfriend (our pre-production copy lacks a scenario) appears to have been locked in the vast safe tucked in the depths of a massive porticoed, pillared mansion inhabited by a variety of unpleasant denizens. Dan arrives on the roof (trendily in time for the new Bond movie) in an airship, descends from it, and commences a mission of rescue. Should you enter the screen containing the safe, you'll see the girl pacing up and down in frustration and, presumably, in an advancing state of asphixiation.

The collectable objects in this game are sticks of dynamite (eight needed to blow the safe), a weapon to defend yourself with against the rioting rotters, and food to keep up the energy level that distressed damsel rescuing demands. Food is a relatively simple find - being a wealthy house, there's plenty lying around, but dynamite tends to hide in very inaccessible places; worse still, it isn't in the same place each game.

The house is divided up into 48 slightly overlapping screens, six high, eight wide, but they wrap around horizontally, making the building effectively a cylinder. All along the bottom runs a river. This can be negotiated by waiting for a raft to float by, jumping down onto it and keeping up with it by walking at its speed. Falling into the river is quite fatal, unless you have been lucky enough to discover an oxygen bottle somewhere. Above the river is a warren of foliage-lined caves and grottos, gradually mingling with the bowels of the house, pump rooms, boiler rooms, electricty-generator and store rooms. Above these are the commodious living apartments with libraries, bathrooms, dining rooms, sitting rooms and the like. The building is topped off by the roof with its chimneys and classically domed towers.

Different features include trampolines and entire trampoline rooms, tightropes, several teleports and an all-floors lift. Dan himself is a large animated character with a fair-sized jump, which he needs to negotiate the complexities of the house and avoid the numerous nasties, although if he falls too far he loses a life.

And just to add a little extra excitement to solving the puzzle, a nice lady at Mirrorsoft told us that the first person to phone them with the name of the tune played when the airship takes off at the end of the game will win a flight in the Goodyear blimp.


Control keys: definable
Joystick: any
Keyboard play: good
Use of colour: excellent
Graphics: first class
Sound: mega-brill
Skill levels: one
Screens: nearly fifty

The graphics used in this game are outstanding - a joy to look at. The detail of the buildings and especially the grass and caves is marvellous - it just makes you want to play. The way the screens are laid out is pleasingly logical and there are some nasty traps like the well which goes all the way dooooowwwwn! The arrangement is really a cylinder with a great chasm between the halves of the house, but small platforms, often tiny triangles, do stop you falling to your death in the river.

One thing I enjoyed is the way you have to leap from some platform high in the sky into another screen without knowing where you will land - although after a few exploratory trips, you get to know the layout. However, the placement of objects is altered between games to add to lasting appeal. Another favourite are the trampolines, these work by sending you higher each time you land pressing fire. They allow you to make gigantic leaps up through screens and even running jumps across several screens at a time - useful. The animation of the nasties is excellent, very varied, very colourful, and this game as the largest assortment of tunes I've come across. Dynamite Dan is a JSW clone, but it's definitely a worthy successor, and a highly playable, fun and addictive game.

Mirrorsoft don't produce many arcade-action games, but certainly the ones they do release are of a pretty high standard. Dynamite Dan has to be one of the most tuneful games I've encountered, and it is not surprising to learn that its author, is a musician in his day job. While platform jumping games are regarded as out of fashion in some circles, the overall combination of sound, graphics and effects in this game combine to make it extremely good value entertainment. There's life in the old genre yet!

Use of Computer: 95%
Graphics: 96%
Playability: 96%
Getting started: 94%
Addictive qualities: 96%
Value For Money: 94%
Overall: 94%

Summary: General rating: Superb, value for money game.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 61, Feb 1989   page(s) 39


What? Spent all your Christmas money already? Well, never fear, the golden oldie himself, PHIL KING, takes you on a tour of the latest budget-price rereleases...

Dynamite Dan
Producer: Silverbird
Price: £1.99
Original Rating: 94%

Rod Bowkett's masterpiece (included in the CRASH All Time Greats booklet, Issue 57) first appeared back in July 1985. Over three years later it still ranks as on the Spectrum's most playable games.

The action takes place inside a vast mansion, inhabited by many strange creatures. Dan's girlfriend has been locked in a massive safe inside the house. The only way to free her is by collecting eight sticks of dynamite to blow the safe door open.

The 48-screen mansion contains many bizarre features, such as tightropes, teleports and even trampolines to add extra spring to Dan's jumps. Contact with nasties or long falls reduces Dan's energy, but it can be topped up by eating the food which is scattered around the house.

Colour is used extremely well, as is sound with different tunelets for collecting various objects. But what really makes Dynamite Dan a great game is its sheer playability which keeps you glued to the screen for hours. Now at a measly two quid it represents superb value for money - if you missed it first time around, you can't afford to miss it now.

Overall: 92%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Spectrum Issue 19, Oct 1985   page(s) 42

Ross: Hallo... what have we got here then? Looks like a man of that all too familiar Jet Set Willy ilk! But hang on! This Dynamite Dan chap is decidedly more dynamic than his earlier rivals. Why do I say that when the basic idea is a collecting-objects-from-a-many-roomed-building- clone? Good question, but the mission that Dynamite Dan takes on is pretty high on the excitement stakes! You'll find that this is the very cornflour of a Bond-movie-type plot when you get to grips with the story. The courageous DD is out to rescue the plans for a deadly weapon stolen by the dastardly, devilish Doctor Blitzen. As Mr Dan himself you have to land your Zeppelin on the castle's rooftop, way up on a cliff. You must then gather together as much dynamite as you can to blow that safe where the plans are, sky-high!

So what else is new in Dynamite Dan? This man is a pretty big sprite, and pretty spritely he is too! His movements beat other games literally by leaps and bounds as he boosts his jumping power by springing, Zebedee style on trampolines and bouncy floors!

The screens are bright and colourful and as funny and action-packed as any I've seen. Dynamite Dan is a bit of a tricky one that makes you try and try to beat those screens. Not quite explosive, but plenty of fun. 7/10

Rick: Achtung! Achtung! Dynamite Dan, the man you've never heard of is coming to town! Wait till you hear the music on this good-humoured-family frolic, you'll be hooked immediately! 6/10

Dougie: It seems that Mirrorsoft has taken all the good bits from the classics and bunged them all in together. Great stuff! 8/10

Ross: 7/10
Rick: 6/10
Dougie: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 42, Sep 1985   page(s) 18

Publisher: Mirrorsoft
Price: £6.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor

Every platform game released compares itself, and is compared to, Jet Set Willy. Most, of course, come nowhere near. Dynamite Dan, however, surpasses it.

The plot, as usual, is disposable. For what it's worth, Dan is a secret agent sent to steal the top secret plans of Dr Blitzen's mega ray from a mountain top hideaway.

The house is infested with lethal mobile thingies, and Dan must avoid those as best he can while all the time collecting sticks of dynamite and consuming the scattered munchies. Points are scored for food eaten and objects amassed; test tubes score highly as well as giving extra lives.

A lift will take you to various levels before depositing you above the waters which run below the house. Those can be navigated with a raft, though once on it you must keep walking to stop falling off, and strategic hops are necessary to avoid flying birds and insects.

Dotted around the building are trampolines, useful for reaching inaccessible ledges but decidedly dodgy to negotiate, and teleporters which transport you to other rooms.

Such a straightforward description does little to convey the horrifically addictive nature of the game, but only a few minutes play will have you beyond redemption. The graphics are all they should be; large, colourful and free of flicker. The obligatory irritating music is present too.

Scoring virtually no brownie points for originality, the game is nevertheless well set to be the platform game of the summer. Forget Jet Set Willy if and fork out the folding stuff instead for Dynamite Dan.

Overall: 5/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 47, Sep 1985   page(s) 26

MACHINE: Spectrum
SUPPLIER: Mirrorsoft
PRICE: £6.95

If you thought you'd seen the last of platform games, think again. Mirrorsoft keep the platform style alive and kicking with Dynamite Dan.

The scenario goes like this. The dastardly Dr Blitzen, aided by his glamorous assistant Donna, has devised plans for a deadly mega-ray and plans to take over the world with it.

Top agent, Dynamite Dan, has been sent to find and destroy the plans which are hidden somewhere within Dr Blitzen's weird and wonderful clifftop HQ.

Dan lands his airship - shades of the latest Bond movie here! - on top of Blitzen's mansion and you take over guiding our hero through the many hazard packed rooms.

There are items to collect and food to be eaten to keep Dan's strength up during his top secret mission.

The graphics are better than average and the presentation is nice. If you're a platform fan then this is the game for you.

Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 7/10
Playability: 8/10

Award: C+VG Blitz Game

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair Programs Issue 35, Sep 1985   page(s) 17

PRICE: £6.95

Horrendously difficult and brilliantly inventive is the new platform form arcade game from Mirrorsoft, Dynamite Dan.

Dastardly Dr Blitzen and his assistant, Donna, have devised a new Mega Ray with the help of which they intend to dominate the world. The game's hero, Dynamite Dan. is out to stop the, by searching the Doctor's house for eight sticks of dynamite, using them to blow the safe containing the plans, and escaping in his zeppelin.

The screens are crawling with nasties. The point-awarding goodies and the useful features of the house are always almost, but not quite, totally accessible.

On the plus side, the house features a lift for moving from floor to floor, ladders, tubes which shoot you upwards, rafts which move you beneath the house on a subterranean river, and transportation devices which carry you to the next.

The screen layout is fiendish. Often the movements of five or six moving characters must be taken into account before any move is made. Remember the Wine Cellar in Jet Set Willy? Multiply the difficulty level by two or three to get the idea of some of these screens.

Frustrating to the extreme, Dynamite Dan is produced for the 48K Spectrum by Mirrorsoft, Maxwell House, Worship St, London EC2.

Rating: 76%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue 9, Sep 1985   page(s) 34

Platform Game

There is certainly plenty here on the menu: eggs, cocktails, fruit, cheese, cake, ice cream, tea, soup - certainly the greatest variety of cuisine ever encountered by anyone trying to stay alive in on arcade adventure game.

Plenty of interesting things to pick up as well - credit card, deodorant, test tube, oxygen, dynamite - of course - and the top secret plans.

As Dynamite Dan you must thwart the plans of Donna and Blitzen (gedditt?) as they try to take over the world. The top secret plans are for a super psychon mega-ray; Dynamite Dan must garner eight sticks of dynamite so he can bust into the safe where the plans are kept. As you guide the prospective peterman in his odyssey, plenty of ugly insects, acrobatic hydrae and other nasties assail him.

You should also beware of attacks of negative buoyancy - Dan can't swim - warning beeps indicate imminent starvation.

An interesting permutation on the theme is the use of trampolines at strategic points in the game - you can bounce around to your heart's content.

Overall: 3/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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