Dynamite Dan II

by Rod Bowkett, Steinar Lund
Mirrorsoft Ltd
Crash Issue 32, Sep 1986   page(s) 28,29

Producer: Mirrorsoft
Retail Price: £7.95
Author: Rod Bowkett

Dr Blitzen is back with a vengeance! He has set up his headquarters in a group of eight islands - The Islands of Arcanum - and once again, he has laid dastardly plans for world domination. His latest idea is to destroy the youth of the world by planting subliminal sound waves in pop records. Unaware of the deadly threat Dr Blitzen poses, teenagers listen to their favourite stars on vinyl, unaware of the threat they pose! As the pop fans listen their minds are gradually destroyed, and soon Dr Blitzen will be in control.

Luckily, Dynamite Dan is on hand to confront his old enemy and save the world. His main task is to locate Blitzen's secret hideout, find the record pressing plant where the mind-sapping singles are made, and destroy it. All eight islands that make up Arcanum have to be explored before the password that gives access to the pressing plant can be assembled. A record and a jukebox has been placed on each island, and when the record has been found, playing it on the jukebox reveals part of the code. Then it's time to refuel the airship and move on to the next island.

The first island is a maze-like network of pipes, ladders and iron girders, all brightly coloured. Dan climbs up and down the ladders or leaps off girders in the search for the record and the jukebox, which have to be found as quickly as possible. Yes, it's a platform game in the mould of the original...

Of course, nothing is ever as easy as it sounds. As you make your way round each island there are hosts of nasties out to get in your way. Some are robotic, others monster-like, others spectral. Each of them moves in a different way and at a different speed. You must either jump over them or simply avoid them - whichever is easiest. They all sap energy on contact, and a bar at the bottom of the screen shows Dan's energy level. Some nasties have a small dose of kleptomania and rob Dan of the useful objects that he has collected. White sprites steal bombs, while magenta nasties steal fuel which comes in magenta cans.

Then, of course, there's the deadly Dr Blitzen himself who is is keen to zap Dan at every opportunity with his mesmeric psychon ray gun. A touch of this and you have difficulty controlling Dan - so beware! Dr Blitzen looks every bit the mad professor with long wispy hair and dark sun glasses to hide his eyes. He dashes about on his mini-hovercraft, blasting away with this MP ray gun.

Your score so far is shown at the foot of the screen, along with the objects Dan has collected on his travels. Look out for bowls of fruit, oversized cherries and grapes, and cups of tea - they all revitalise the energy bar when Dan walks over them. Bombs are scattered around the islands, and these can be used to blast your way through barriers, giving access to different parts of the landscape. A set of large red-rimmed goggles protect Dan from the mesmeric powers of the evil Blitzen's ray gun, and cans of fuel must be collected to refuel the blimp so Dan can escape to another island. There are mystery objects on the islands, which disappear from the game when the blimp takes off... so find them before leaving! Each island contains a secret passageway, though access to it depends on having the appropriate object. Be careful, however, not to fall into the sea. You might not float!

Once you've collected the eight elements of the password and gained access to the pressing plant, it's time to plant a bomb and beat a hasty retreat - Dan has three minutes to get back to the airship. But it's a long journey and Dynamite has only one life. The future of pop music, never mind the mental health of mankind, is in your hands.


Control keys: A, D, G, J, L left, S, F, H, K, ENTER right, W, R, Y, I down, Bottom Row up/jump
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: very bright and cheerful
Graphics: fun and detailed
Sound: excellent tunes and effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: 200

I really hated Dynamite Dan so I was a little dubious when I was given the sequel to review. Happily, this is a completely different game from its 'parent'. The first thing that you notice are the brilliant sound effects and tunettes - the game is crammed with them. Playing the game is surprisingly easy, so you get a sense of achievement which spurs you on. The graphics are excellent; the characters are large and well animated and the backgrounds are colourful and full of detail. I really enjoyed playing Dynamite Dan II, as it is very playable and addictive. I strongly recommend it to everyone.

Hey, Dan is just soooo cool, he really is!; happily scampering around these meanie infested islands without flinching. This is a very worthy successor to the original game, and actually improves on a lot of the features. No longer do Dan's lives disappear at a high rate of knots - this time an energy bar replaces the lives system and it can be topped up. A great game which will appeal to fans of the original and to newcomers alike.

DDII certainly is one of the most polished arcade adventures around at the moment. It contains nearly everything that you should expect to find in such a game, with colourful and neatly drawn graphics - and minimal colour clash. The game plays some nice tunes, not all of them sound very convincing, but the beeps are very cleverly arranged. Lots of thinking and planning out of routes is required. All the characters are very individual in their movements which results in a very addictive and playable game. DDII is fun to play - a great follow up, and superb value for money.

Use of Computer: 93%
Graphics: 93%
Playability: 94%
Getting Started: 91%
Addictive Qualities: 93%
Value for Money: 92%
Overall: 93%

Summary: General Rating: A very worthy successor to Dynamite Dan 1!

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 9, Sep 1986   page(s) 36,37


Playing an almost finished version of Dynamite Dan II, you'll forgive me if I don't dwell on DD becoming invisible, walking on water, re-using bombs and so on... but they're just some of the things that'll be added to the game before it hits the streets. Good news indeed, though it's already an excellent game without these planned additions.

There are eight islands, each containing 24 screens and 32 randomly strewn objects for you to collect and use. You arrive at each island via a Zeppelin... no, not the antiquated rock band, but one of those WWI windbags. The idea is to rush around each island, find the record, play it on the jukebox, get some fuel for the Zeppelin and shoot off to the next island and start again. On the eighth island, you have to blow the jukebox up and reach the safety of your Zeppelin within three minutes.

Story apart, this game's great. Each island is designed along similar lines but follows different themes. The seven islands I visited comprised a Chinese pagoda, a municipal car park, a sky scene that looked like an inside view of the brain of Monty Python's Terry Gilliam, a garden, a Greek temple, a series of caves and a factory full of pipes and so on. All very imaginative stuff, and very well conceived for the Speccy.

The screens all contain different levels of walkways, and various methods of getting from one level to another - by ladders, jumping and, of course, falling. You'll find plenty of useful objects scattered round the islands - bombs can be used to blow open the safe-doors blocking your path, food boosts your oft-flagging energy levels, and so on. Watch out for the creatures lurking about the islands as they not only deplete your energy level, but also steal your most prized possessions. You wouldn't want to lose that petrol can after you travelled so far to find it would you? Each baddy seems to reflect the character and theme of the island it infests; the programmer obviously has a sense of humour as well as a talent for sprite design.

It all sounds fairly complicated, but play is very easy really and you soon get the hang of it. All the items you collect are stowed away - icons at the bottom of the screen indicating your ownership - and a bit of experimentation will demonstrate their influence over Dynamite Dan. For example, collect the dumbbell and DD increases his jumping power, wear the goggles and Dan can't be mesmerised by the mad Professor Blitzen, and grabbing the food mixer makes the food supply inexhaustible.

I found the game both tactical and extremely addictive, though I'm still not quite sure what the point of it all is. Maybe that's why it's so good. Take it from me, Dynamite Dan II is already a fine game... and the additional features Mirrorsoft intends to make should make it even better.

Graphics: 9/10
Playability: 8/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Addictiveness: 9/10
Overall: 9/10

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 53, Aug 1986   page(s) 67

Label: Mirrorsoft
Price: £7.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

All that bounces is not boring. Dynamite Dan II is as full of bouncing sprites as any game I've ever seen, and yet it remains defiantly exciting and original. How can this be?

The secret is partly that one bounce is not like another and the assorted sprites (I'd call them whacky if it hadn't become an insult) in DDII have been animated with skill and imagination. Each has its own movement pattern such that it seems to interact with the backgrounds and with the others. For example, one flying bird-type thing seemed to be afraid of another bird-type thing since it dashes off screen whenever the latter appears. Some sprites crawl along the ground, some fly, some drop unexpectedly on you.

What entertained me about DDI was its introduction of a new type of central hero. Dan himself looks like something out of Brideshead - he looks as though he is faintly appalled at having to take part in an arcade game. Dan is back, still faintly incongruous with his snooty expression and quiffed hair.

DDII is also enormous and amazingly varied. There are eight different kinds of playing area each choc-full of colourful detail and imaginative touches. There is a jungle section that looks like Sabre Wulf with very detailed jungle scenery. Though the game is set on an island, other sections look like futuristic junk piles, or off-shore drilling platforms. There are 192 screens divided evenly over eight islands. On each island is a record and a jukebox. Dan must put the two together and play the record, then find and refuel the Zeppelin on which he arrived which will take off and carry him to the next island.

On the final island Dan must find the last jukebox and blow it up - he gets three minutes to get back to the Zeppelin before the whole thing explodes.

A gem of a game. It may seem on first glance just another bouncy-bouncy collect and dodge offering, but in fact DDII is a Rolls Royce among such games. Beautifully constructed, stylish, professionally produced and of little details that give it a long playing life.

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Overall: 5/5

Summary: A Rolls Royce among collect and dodge games.Big, technically clever and thoroughly addictive. Buy it.

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 59, Sep 1986   page(s) 36

MACHINE: Spectrum 48K
SUPPLIER: Mirrorsoft
PRICE: £7.95

Dr Blitzen is back, and now his meaner than ever. There's only one person who can stop him and that's, (Drum roll please), Dynamite Dan.

Yes good ol' Dan is back and its up to him to stop that Blitzen bloke again. But as you may have guessed already, its not that easy. (You don't say) What Dan has to do is this. First he must land his Zeppelin air ship on the first island.

Then he must find the record (yes the one that has music on it) and then locate the jukebox, and the record!!!

After Dan has collected the record he must then find the fuel to charge up his zeppelin, and get off the island. He must then proceed to the next island and do the same task.

The sprites by the way, can steal objects off of you so even if you collect one of the useful objects, you may not have it for very long. (but there is an object that will stop the sprites stealing from you.)

One nice feature about this game is the fact that the controls are Auto Select. This means that you don't have to use the same old boring menu, which we see at the start of most Spectrum games. The computer will automatically select Kempston, if you have the Kempston interface plugged in.

Dynamite Dan II is definitely an above average platform game, it uses nice colour graphics and also some rather nice music, if you can hear it! We had the office 'nutter' Garry singing so it was a bit hard to listen to it!

Dynamite Dan II well worth the money, it's a great challenge to play, and if you bought Dynamite Dan then you'll definitely want to get the sequel.

Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 9/10
Playability: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ZX Computing Issue 30, Oct 1986   page(s) 42



Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the cupboard, when you were quite sure that Doctor Blitzen and his evil bunch of cronies had finally been destroyed, and you had managed to float away to safety on the wings of a hot-air balloon, you must start all over again. Yes it's Dynamite Dan II.

When Dynamite Dan was first released, it had a lively aura about it, it was the type of game that you imagine would have been as much fun to program as it was to play. Thankfully, DD II seems to have lost none of the original charm and novelty.

What the passing of time has achieved is a better standard of game. All the definition is excellent, and unlike the original game, there is very little colour clash.

Together with many other people, I slightly miss the days when six hours spent jumping from ledge to ledge was six hours well spent. I miss the days when at least three new ledge games would be released every ten minutes, and I miss Jet Set Willy. Playing DD it brought all this back to me with a vengeance; the perfectly timed jumps, the agonising falls, they're all here, plus much more.

As you would expect, DD II does have an objective; you must travel around a total of eight islands, collecting a record on each, and inserting it into a jukebox. Having done this you must find some fuel for your trusty Zeppelin, and fly away. To help you in this seemingly never-ending task, there are a total of thirty two different objects, each with its own effect, varying from extra energy to immunity to bullets.

This may all sound very easy, but not surprisingly, life is made amazingly difficult by a stunning variety of baddies. They jump, spin, twist and drop around making life total and utter misery, and very nearly destroying your immaculately coiffured hair!

Perhaps the most impressive part of the game are the graphics. Varying from hi-tech, to jungle, they are brilliantly defined with obvious amounts of care. The characters too are animated with as much attention to detail as I have ever seen on the Spectrum.

If and when you get to the final island, you must blow up the last jukebox, and then make a desperate run for your Zep, within a matter of minutes. Only then will you have completed this 180+ screen masterpiece.

My only criticism would be the sound. Although there is a good attempt to get a tune and effects out of the Spectrum; the chip is so strained that it soon becomes annoying. However, even this cannot make DD II unenjoyable.

It is probably because there have been so few ledge games recently that DD II seemed so good, but I still believe that any arcade adventurer worth his salt will relish the thought of bouncing, jumping and swimming his way to success.

Overall, DD II is a programming masterpiece, and on top of that it is real fun to play!

Award: ZX Computing ZX Monster Hit

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue 8, Aug 1986   page(s) 45


Like an old movie star, unaware that times and tastes have changed, our hero, Dynamite Dan, after a year off for a quick face lift and a nose job, has made a comeback. A year ago, platform and ladder games were king but Knight Lore changed all that, an event as profound as the advent of talking pictures.

Down in the Mirrorsoft Sunset Boulevard, time has stood still. There are 200 screens divided into eight islands each of 25 screens. On each island, you must find a record, insert it in the jukebox, find some fuel to refuel the zeppelin, and then on to the next island.

There are 32 types of object scattered around the place which have various effects, such as giving you inexhaustible energy, allowing you to swim, getting past various obstructions and making you more difficult to zap. There is, naturally, an entire rogues gallery of beasties out to get you, including your arch enemy and super-villain Dr. Blitzen. Those nauseating nasties also steal objects you are carrying, which can prove a little awkward if one steals your means of escape just as the island is about to blow.

Lively, colourful and occasionally humorous, if you are disenchanted with arcade adventures and marble madness clones this will prove a pleasant trip down memory lane.

Graphics: 3/5
Sound: 3/5
Playability: 4/5
Value For Money: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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