Re-Thought: Dynamite Deka

There are a couple of interesting problems that come up when writing  reviews of older games. Firstly, it makes the whole blog seem like a retro blog which Gaijingamers isn’t. Certainly this writer is pushing out retrospectives because 99 percent of Japanese developer output in 2009 is arguably even more generic rubbish than western games (prove me wrong, Japanese devs! Or just hurry up and release Dead Rising 2). Secondly there’s the nostalgia factor getting in the way of everything. Rose tinted specs often disguise the fact that the game you’re eulogising is in fact A Bit Crap, and really hasn’t aged well at all.

There are an elite few games that actually get better with age, and Dynamite Deka is one of them.

A 1996 arcade release, the game was ported over to the Sega Saturn the next year.  The game had the spirit of classic Megadrive beat em ups like Sega’s own Bare Knuckle/ Streets of Rage, but renovated the genre and put it in 3D. While other 3D beat em ups like Fighting Force and Final Fight Streetwise would fall comically flat, Dynamite Deka succeeded by retaining a side on view point and old school 2.5D gameplay in 3D worlds. The game was one of the first to introduce quick time events, in game cutscenes interrupted by button prompts. As dismally prevalent as QTEs are now, they were fairly original twelve years ago, and rather than being essential to your progress, with failure resulting in unfair death, here success will result in bypassing a fight or incident, leaving you with more health to take on baddies later on. A potential tactical advantage then, but not vital to progress.

Dynamite Deka also wins you over with its humour. The game has you progressing through a building populated by angry firemen, SWAT teams, robots, sumo wrestlers and American football players. With such a cast of characters, you can’t expect the game to take itself too seriously, and it doesn’t. Weapons range from mops to giant anti tank guns, the latter comically shooting enemies across an entire room, only to have them get up and continue the fight. The fighting engine is pleasingly detailed, with otential for mma style inside guard fighting and German suplexes, but you can also throw enemies into one another Bare Knuckle style.

Slightly adding to the campy humour of Dynamite Deka was the fact that Sega had aquired the rights to the Die Hard frnachise in the west and released Dynamite Deka in western arcades in collaboration with Fox Interactive as Die Hard Arcade. This despite the fact that the game had absolutely nothing to do with the movies, instead involving an attempt to rescue the president’s daughter from a poorly voice acted criminal mastermind. Still, homages are made to Die Hard in that the male character in the single player mode had an outfit that would gradually get shredded up like Bruce Willis’ in the movie, and that the building where all the action takes place looks sorta kinda, vaguely like Nakatomi plaza.

The game packs in plenty of laughs and entertainment, especially with two players, into its brief twenty minutes. This is where the game has improved with age. The game is ridiculously brief, and while it is fairly tough, a decent stab at the Deep Scan minigame (which in itself is addictive fun) included in the home version, will easily net you twenty or so extra credits, more than enough to beat the game in well under half an hour. On release twelve years ago, the game was rightly criticised for its brevity, but today Dynamite Deka can be found for about 200 Yen if you know where to look, which suddenly makes the game much better value.

Dynamite Deka did receive a sequel in 1999 in arcades and on Dreamcast, a game again much derided for its brevity, but also had a bit where you had to beat people up with fish, like in Monty Python. Both games really show up the joys of gaming on older systems; things that you can try out for the first time now since titles that arrived on store shelves a little overpriced are much better value now. If any old forgotten Sega property deserves a reappearance on XBox Live Arcade or PSN, it’s this.


One Response to “Re-Thought: Dynamite Deka”

  1. Hi man, you have a very nice blog running on here… Just was watching arround a bit and wanted to tell you “GO ON LIKE THIS” ;-D

    Much greetings, Atarix777

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