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Activision Inc
Arcade: Gang beat-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes

Other Links

12, 13
Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

Quack! You've seen our cover. You've played the coin-op. Now read the review of the most off-the-wall, round the bend game this side of Toon Town. Dynamite Dux is upon us, and you'll flip over it.

If you thought you'd seen the ultimate in cutesy graphics in the likes of Garfield and Bubble Bobble, you'd better think again, 'cos Dux beats the lot.

It has to be said that assuming the character of a duck that looks suspiciously like Woody Woodpecker didn't entirely sound like the kind of game for me. That's when they told me about the Dynamite.

Duck is lost in a seriously hostile environment, surrounded by fiendish dismembered woodland creatures, hellbent on putting an end to his quacking hi-jinx. Thankfully he has access to the most amazing arsenal of weaponry known to man (or bird). It's like a cross between Bambi, Evil Dead and The Terminator.

Initially the Duck has at his disposal a pair of extremely handy fists. We're not talking flappy wings here. These hands like hams, big enough to shame Pop-eye in prime spinach-guzzling mode. The bad guys drift toward you with unmenacing lack of direction, floating around and looking goofy. It's like a dream come true to crank up your punch and knock the dullards into the middle of next week.

Each of the weapons you can pick up behave in a slightly different manner; sometimes the rockets woosh off unpredictably, but they've got a much more serious impact than the highly accurate Swiss army knife.

Life starts off easily enough, with a few punchable characters drifting around in order to get you in the right sort of mood. You'll quickly learn a few basic lessons. The response is occasionally a little slower than you'd like, so the name of the game is anticipation and forward thinking. If you're faced with a screenful of moose-heads, there's no point building up a huge power-punch (achieved by holding down the fire button) to bump one off, or you'll be swamped.

Some of the bad guys are capable of dealing with certain weapons, but not others. You can't carry them all at once, so you'll have to prioritize. There's a good deal of getting to grips with the maze layout involved. You'll always find that you're in the wrong place, facing the wrong bad guys armed with the wrong weapon at the wrong time.

Later levels take place in even rougher terrain and the deeper into the game you go, the more bizarre and dangerous the inhabitants become.

Graphically, Dux is a real treat. As monochrome as it can be, the pix are clear, cute and big. And the animation is flawless. Although some of the views look a little quirky, with slightly strange angles, and occasionally dodgy perspective.

The action is pretty well all-directional; as well as left and right, you can move vertically into the screen, across the path (if you know what I mean). And the scrapping takes place across all these planes too. You've got bad guys coming at you from all directions at once.

Label: Activision
Author: In-house
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

What a stonker! Cartoon cuteness combined with apocalyptic blasting.