Wednesday 15 April 2015

Dynamite Headdy Review (Mega Drive)

Anyone who has played a game developed by Treasure knows that the company is capable of creating some of the most ridiculous game plots. Even by Treasure’s strange standards Dynamite Headdy is utterly bizarre. Headdy’s puppet theater is under threat from the ‘Dark Demon’ who plans to take over all the puppets in the land. Furthermore, Headdy has a rival that will stop at nothing to take his place at the head of the stage, his name is ‘Trouble Bruin’. So Headdy must set off with his interchangeable head and stop both of them. We would love to meet the person responsible for these story lines, if only to ask what they where taking at the time.

Dynamite Headdy at first seems to be a standard platform adventure however, the more you play the more you realise there is a subtle genius at work within the game mechanics. First of all you attack enemies with your detachable head, which is a touch unique to say the least. That said, the main form of invention arrives in the shape of fourteen interchangeable heads that Headdy can use. As well as standard power ups giving you a stronger head, there are also more tactical heads available. For instance certain Heads act to stop time allowing the player to batter some poor creature to death without it having a chance.

Level design displays a great deal of inventiveness combined with a wide variety of different stages offering something new to the player at each turn. One level may have you having to shrink yourself in order to get through small gaps, whilst another has you moving along on a constantly tilting stage with different levels of field meaning you have to walk in and out of the screen to avoid obstacles and enemies. With the constant invention on display each new level remains fresh and a joy for the player to experience.

Graphically, Dynamite Headdy is colourful, very colourful and extremely bright (bordering) on being plain garish at times. But somehow it just seems to work, after all the game is centered around a circus run by mad puppets. Characters are animated well, though at times there is so much going on in the backgrounds of the levels it can become confusing and players may find that they lose Headdy with alarming regularity.

 In terms of how the game plays there are some problems. First of all characters do not seem to feel very solid - meaning you are never that sure if you have hit someone or not. Furthermore, when you need to grip onto something with your head the rest of your body stays rooted to the ground and this can be incredible confusing. Hitting things with your head can also be quite difficult at times, especially when dealing with monsters that have to be hit in certain spots as they always seem to be situated at an angle that you cannot make Headdy hit. Problems aside though Headdy himself moves around well and with practice most problems begin to fade away.

Dynamite Headdy is a fun title from the warped minds of Treasure and fans will find a lot to enjoy. It contains a lot of charm and inventive, timeless fun. Unfortunately, the title has not aged that well and feels a little unpolished overall. It's a good platform game, though not necessarily an essential purchase for someone starting up their Mega Drive collection.

Overall 7/10

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