|Dynamite Cop, the latest direct arcade port for the Dreamcast,
brings all the tuna-slinging, pork-roll flinging, ass kicking, commando action home. And,
phew, it's a helluva ride. Dynamite Cop is the latest, unlicensed, installment in the Die
Hard Arcade series. Beginning with DHA, Sega began to liven up the shrunken two-player
brawler. But until Dynamite Cop, it was better to play Double Dragon or Bad Dudes on the
NES than anything new.
Dynamite Cop is really a shot in the arm. The graphics are amazing, and the action is intense. You can play two-player simultaneous, and you don't suffer any slowdown or clipping. The action is always fast, and enhanced by active environments and tons of bad guys. There are dozens of weapons and interactive items. In short, this game has just about everything you could dream of. But there is one fatal flaw
The story behind Dynamite Cop is pretty simple. You are a special cop. You're dyn-O-mite, which means they need you, and one of your closest friends, to save the president's daughter, who has been kidnapped on a cruise liner. The ship has been hijacked by, get this, moden day pirates! And while it sounds like no game could possibly go wrong if it has lots of pirates, these pirates aren't the particularly cool kind. They're kind of like new wave, Adam Ant type pirates. The thugs look like they walked off the set of Rumble in the Bronx rather than Treasure Island.
You are presented with a choice of three missions. Each mission begins with you boarding the ship in different ways: from the air, from a raft, or from underwater. You then progress through the story of saving the president's daughter. There are three versions of the story, depending on which mission you've picked. When you clear all three you can try the same three again. Once you've cleared all of those, you can move on to an arcade-perfect port of Sega's Tranquilizer Gun, a "classic."
And that's Dynamite Cop's fatal flaw: It's insanely, unrealistically short. I could have played through another ten levels almost exactly like the first one and been happy. They have a really good thing going on, but the thing is just so darn short you can't work around it. There isn't even an original mode like HotD2 or Bass Fishing to beef things up. Nope. You get a crummy old port, which would be better on the VMU than the TV, and that's it. They could have at least given us a three player simultaneous option, since there are three Dynamite Cops in the game (four if you count the secret monkey).
You might think the length issue is enough to completely turn you off, and you wouldn't be alone. Without a doubt, the biggest complaint about Dynamite Cop stems from its brevity. But even so, it's a killer game. Usually brawlers like this end up being repetitive, but in Dynamite Cop the characters have tons of moves, and anything that's not nailed down can be used as a weapon. You move from room to room fighting the pirates, then are presented with quick reflex-testing challenges. Miss the challenge, and you've got to fight a whole bunch more of the scurvy dogs.
The character control and combos are wonderful. Each of the three characters have special moves and combos that can range up to ten hits. You can really beat down some punks with moves like that. And when you have your handgun you can arrest the baddies, humiliating them and making them beg for mercy. Otherwise, you can pick up machine guns, laser guns, rocket launchers, and a veritable armory of other standard weapons to use. You can also make use of less likely weapons like urinals, big fish, hairspray, plants, and pork rolls. Sometimes you can even use the enemies as weapons, grabbing them by the feet and whooping up on their cohorts. The wide variety of things you can use as weapons gives Dynamite Cop a good dose of humor. It's just plain funny to whip out your hairspray and lighter to roast some dastardly pirate, then ditch that weapon for a nuclear missle, then ditch that for a basket full of dinner rolls.
All in all, Dynamite Cop is one of those games you must go out and rent. Right now. I'll wait. But it's tough to make it one for the home collection, just because it is so incredibly short. Sega is definitely on the right track here, and with a little development Dynamite Cop could surely land a warm spot in my heart.