Dylan Dog (Simulmondo) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


Dylan Dog
By Simulmondo
Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #87

The name's Dog... Dylan Dog? Flea-bitten secret agent Ian "Woofter" Osborne scratches his head over an epic arcade adventure.

Dylan Dog

Dylan Dog? With a monicker like that you'd expect a cartoon collect-'em-up featuring a lovable canine creation. But no - the Dog in question is an obscure (human) comic character from Italy, a real roughie-toughie type in the Nick Fury/James Bond mould. Good job, really - trapped in the House of Evil, the other 'guests' are turned into bloodthirsty murderers by the demon drink (a bit like Steve on half a shandy). Dylan's task is to confront the source of the evil, rescue innocent victims and get out of there alive!

An arcade adventure par excellence, Dylan Dog features some of the snazziest presentation you'll ever see outside PD demos. Gloomy incidental screens make for a really oppressive atmosphere, giving way to equally moody in-game graphics. Your solitary life is forfeited when your tombstone (energy bar) is fully revealed, and the inevitable time limit is represented by a moon floating across the creepy graveyard - spooky, eh?

Equally spooky is the animation - the main sprite moves incredibly well, and the baddies explode brilliantly when shot (Michael 'Death Wish' Winner, eat your heart out!). Run out of bullets and you're reduced to standing toe to toe with the baddies, trading his knife blows for your punches - better find that dagger pretty smartish. Or better still, the sword... Controls are easily mastered, but it's irritatingly tricky to climb stairs.

No arcade adventure would be complete without objects to pick up and use, and ol' Dylan has then coming out of his ears. Accessed via a separate screen, he can carry up to five items at a time as well as his pistol. When standing over an object (represented on the game screens as a flashing square), you can pick it up or leave it for later - no forced selection here! The inventory sreen is also used to select objects, thereafter used by pressing fire. Some of the object icons are a little unclear though - and EXAMINE option wouldn't have gone amiss.

The problems are intriguing enough, starting with simple blue-key-opens-blue-door outings but getting progressively trickier. Your 666 horror points are reduced each time a problem is solved - knock 'em down to zero and you've completed the game! Also worth a mention are the green 'hint' icons, which give a nudge in the right direction, but you'll have to look very carefully - they're not *that* obvious!

It's great to see an arcade adventure that isn't a direct steal from Dizzy, with cutesy cartoon graphics, three lives and an on-screen inventory of three objects. Dylan Dog rewrites the rules with its mean, moody atmosphere and violent combat sequences. Full of excellent touches, you'll love the way a stricken foe peels away and falls to the ground.

Avoiding atmosphere-destroying enemies that reincarnate on re-entering a room, Dylan's victims not only stay dead but their corpses stay put too. Excellent!

Dylan Dog is a real winner. Full of character, oozing playability and with enough puzzles to keep even the most hardened adventurer playing, it deserves to sell by the truckload. I only hope the obscure and confusing licence doesn't lose it too many sales.


This is one of the best-looking arcade adventures I've seen in a long while, stunningly detailed backdrops creating an intense atmosphere. This is in no way let down by the gameplay, a tantalising mixture of puzzles and skilful combat.

Animation for the latter is very realistic and the way the poor bloke gets cut in half when you shoot him is worthy of a special effects Oscar! The manipulation of objects is especially well implemented with an excellent inventory screen avoiding frustrating object shuffling.

And this is one arcade adventure you won't complete in a handful of attempts. The huge mansion demands mapping (I might do one for the tips section!) with loads of doors to unlock and secret passages to find. Much spookier and a whole lot better than The Addams Family, Dylan Dog's got real bite.


Presentation 93%
Spooky atmosphere and animation - the biz!

Graphics 92%
Amazing icon screen, mega-oppressive mansion.

Sound 87%
Strangely happy tune fits in better than it ought to.

Hookability 89%
This just gets better the more you play.

Lastability 86%
Will take a lot of time and skill to complete.

Overall 89%

Ian Osborne

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