I was very excited to buy my copy of Dynamite Cop. As previously mentioned I had wanted to buy Die Hard Arcade but lacked the Sega Saturn I needed, so to hear a (no longer licensed) sequel was released on the Dreamcast I was there as soon as I could. In the end it was legitimately fun, especially with a friend… for the first few playthroughs anyway. What about now? Well…
You know I never really noticed that it still says “Deka Score” in the top left… I guess they were right not to bother changing it, I certainly didn’t notice!
As mentioned in my review of Die Hard Arcade, that game was released in Japan as “Dynamite Deka” as the Japanese rights to Die Hard weren’t obtainable like they were in the West. So in Japan this game was called “Dynamite Deka 2” on its Arcade release in 1998, and renamed “Dynamite Cop” everywhere else, the fact it was a sequel to DHA kept off promotional stuff for obvious reasons.
It was ported to the Dreamcast in 1999, May in Japan, October in Europe and November in the US respectively, which is very odd, seeing a game released in Europe before the US! There was a third game in the Dynamite Deka series, “Dynamite Deka EX: Asian Dynamite” but it was only in Asian arcades and was for all intents and purposes a reskinned Dynamite Cop, with the levels made to look like a Chinese building rather than a cruise ship.
Behold! A scantily clad overweight enemy! The ultimate fusion!
Unsurprisingly Dynamite Cop plays an awful lot like Die Hard Arcade, though with two key differences: being able to move in eight directions rather than only up, down, left and right, and the ability to grapple people and throw them. It’s a fully 3D beat ‘em up, which I guess is due to the Dreamcast’s upgraded power (though a fair few PS1 games had already managed it, so… *shrugs*) but other than that it’s a couple of different melee combos per character (of which there are three this time, four if you download an update via the Dreamcast’s ahead-of-its-time internet port) some weapon swinging and a good smattering of QTE cut-scenes in between the stages. It’s still fun, in a mindless way, but the grapple is still behind a lot of classic examples of the genre, allowing you to tackle people and throw them, but not punch them while you have them grappled being the key example.
Some of the weapons are pretty crazy here, from arcade machines and way oversized dumbbells to bow and arrows and large missiles that leave mini-nuclear clouds behind as they blow up your foes. There are of course health pick-ups along with the large variety of weapons, and there are branching paths (three in total, though branching might be overstating it, it’s more like “three level 1 starts”) to try and add a bit of replay value to a game that is otherwise able to be completed in around half an hour. Lastly, just like previous game had the SEGA arcade game Deep Scan as a mini-game to unlock extra stuff, this game has “Tranquilizer Gun”, an equally retro SEGA hit.
As for clichés? Well beyond being on a cruise ship, which appears to be a 1998 scrolling beat ‘em up cliché judging by our last review, there are overweight enemies (including sumo wrestlers no less!) and ninjas, plus some female foes even if they’re dressed normally. As for a lift level? Strangely lacking in one, though it does have a level where enemies drop down from above as you fight in a confined, mostly metal, space, so…
Graphics and Sound:
No, they didn’t bother changing the arcade look to the button prompts during the QTEs… also, what the hell is that?!
The graphics are perfectly fine. It’s still quite blocky and undetailed but it’s got that Dreamcast high rez, bright colours look to it. There are CG cutscenes here and there, and while they’re a step up from Die Hard Arcade, they’re still on the ugly side… and short side, for that matter!
Music is again similar to DHA, while its not memorable or catchy but it is generic action movie-y… erm, which is suitable for this type of game. Sound effects are perfectly fine too.
Man… just compare this image to the image of Hongo from Die Hard Arcade, what the hell happened to him in the intervening years?!
Wolf Hongo is back and now has a weird… seashell head with red laser dot … hole thing in it. Plus a creepy monocle-like thing…? Anyway, he has once again kidnapped the President’s daughter (though she managed to escape him and hide in his own office, because he’d never think to look there?) and has brought a rather weird bunch of apparent pirates with him (though some look more like sumo wrestlers, ninjas and … people in animal costumes) In order to combat his old foe, Bruno Delinger (hang on, I though John McClane dealt with him last time?!), has joined forces with two fellow cops in Jean Ivy and Eddie Brown (who, yes, is Black…*ahem*) to take him down.
They make their way through the cruise ship and eventually follow Hongo to a nearby island before defeating the tyrant once and for all, saving the President’s daughter in the process. So, yeah, they didn’t exactly break the mould with the storyline, but then very few scrolling beat ‘em ups do, so… who cares really? For the record Cindy Holiday (a.k.a. Kris Thompsen) from Die Hard Arcade is unlockable if you update the game via the internet port, as mentioned earlier.
Oh yeah, there’s also a swimming mini-game towards the end… it’s a bit boring, and a lot crap.
When it first came out I loved it, it was crazy in a good way and had a lot of variety in weapons and enemies to face. Great fun to play with friends and family too, but like all these arcade ports there is a lack of replay value after a while, and without the charm of some of the 2D era games, it wasn’t long before it got packed away and only brought out for a laugh here and there.
It’s not quite the two robots from the last game, but it’s still bloody weird…
Now? Well, it’s perfectly playable, at least for a quick 60 minutes or so. The visuals are fine, for the time period, and the combat is still surprisingly varied, though mostly due to the weapons on hand. Obviously it will get tired quickly, and without as much nostalgia and location variety I won’t be playing it much again, or if I do it will be for a brief 30-40 session…