Your Sinclair1st September 1986
Published in Your Sinclair #9
Dynamite Dan II
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.