Norio HanzawaAki Hata
|Release date(s)||Mega Drive/Genesis
|This article may contain material discouraged by the guidelines for video game subjects. (January 2010)|
Dynamite Headdy (ダイナマイト・ヘッディー Dainamaito Heddī?) is a platformer video game developed by Treasure. It was released in 1994 by Sega for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Game Gear and Sega Master System. A port for the Sega 32X was planned, but was cancelled due to the system's low popularity. It was later released for the Wii's Virtual Console in July 2007 and has also been included as a part of Gunstar Heroes: Treasure Box Collection for PlayStation 2 and Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It was also released on Steam on May 2, 2012.
Headdy, the central protagonist of the game, arrives in North Town to find that the evil puppet King Dark Demon is in the midst of attacking the puppet town to select which of the peaceful toys should live and which should be converted into his evil minions. Headdy is captured and rejected by D.D.'s forces, and is dropped into the dust cargo to be thrown into the incinerator. However, Headdy escapes the clutches of Dark Demon's minions and sets off to defeat the evil king.
However, trouble is afoot. Not only is the puppet world filled with Dark Demon's minions, but to reach the evil overlord's castle Headdy must defeat Dark Demon's Keymasters, who serve as the king's elite guard. To make matters worse, Headdy is followed by Trouble Bruin (Maruyama), a puppet jealous of Headdy's success. Trouble Bruin wants to be the star instead of Headdy, and will stop at nothing to get rid of him.
Players control Headdy, a puppet with a detachable head. This head can be fired in eight directions to attack enemies and obstacles, as well as retrieve out of reach items. By grabbing a HangMan, Headdy is able to pull himself up various platforms, or drag certain areas towards him. By finding a walking case named HeadCase, Headdy can gain a special head type depending on the image shown on HeadCase at the time he hits it. These range from offensive heads that increase his strength, allows him to shoot homing stars or suck up everything on screen, to support heads which include invulnerability, shrinking to reach small areas and sleeping to regain health. Most of these heads have a time limit before the head returns to normal, with the player able to cancel at anytime, though some heads, such as the Pin Head, disable manual cancellation. The game also features a side-scrolling shooter stage, during which Headdy can change between three unique Head Types.
The game plays over a series of scenes, each made up of several acts, typically culminating in a battle against a Keymaster boss. Collecting enough pieces which come out of defeated Keymasters earns the player a continue. During each scene, there are several 'secret bonus points' that can be earned by completing certain tasks, such as destroying certain enemies or objects. By finding the Liberty Head, players can enter a Bonus Stage in which the player must shoot basketballs into the correct hoops. Clearing these stages reveal part of a code which, at the end of the game, can be entered to access a bonus extra stage.
- Headdy (ヘッディー Heddī?) - The protagonist. His head is able to be sent flying from his body, and can be exchanged for all kinds of different heads with different powers.
- Heather/Fingy (フィンギー Fingī?) - A girl with floating hands. She has an interest in collecting the keys left behind by the Keymasters Headdy defeats.
- Dark Demon (キング・ダークデーモン Kingu Dāku Dēmon?) - An evil emperor wanting to take over the world of puppets.
- Trouble Bruin/Maruyama (マルヤマ?) - A bounty hunter who wants to defeat Headdy and upstage him. In the US/European version, he is brown with angry eyes, while in the Japanese version he is purple with wide eyes. He appears in various colours with wide eyes in the Game Gear version, where he represents nearly all of the bosses instead of the Keymasters.
- Headcase/Mokkun (モックん?) - One of Headdy's friends. He walks around areas with a revolving selection of heads that Headdy can use by hitting him.
- Hangman/Fukkun (フックん?) - Another one of Headdy's friends, who hangs off various platforms. By grabbing it, Headdy can launch himself upwards. He can also be used to pull some obstacles like floating platforms.
- Beau/Yakkun (ヤックん?) - The third of Headdy's friends, who shows up during boss fights, pointing to a boss's weakness and yelling 'Target'.
- Bino (ビーノ Bīno?) - An odd person with big ears who appears from time to time. Hitting him often rewards a secret bonus point.
- Mad Dog/Bounty Boundy (バウンティバウンディ Baunti Baundi?) - The first Keymaster. A huge toy like dog. She attacks with a basketball, a caterpillar, and a ball of dogs.
- Wooden Dresser/Jacqueline Dressy (ジャックリン・ドレッシー Jakkurin Doresshiī?) - The second Keymaster. A huge wooden puppet figure that has the ability to become any costume it wants to be.
- Spinderella/Motor Hand (モーターハンド Mōtā Hando?) - The third Keymaster. A giant floating ball with extendable arms.
- Baby Face/Mitsuru (ミツル?) - The fourth Keymaster. A baby head on a pole. After taking enough hits he changes into the boys head, the man's head, and finally an old man's head.
- Gatekeeper/Nasty Gatekeeper (Yazayoi/Izayoi) (ヤザヨイ/イザヨイ?) - An evil robot that guards Dark Demon's castle. He (Gatekeeper)/she (Yazayoi) becomes angrier and whacks you wildly with his (NG)/her (I) extendable claw.
- Twin Freaks/Rever Face (リバー・フェイス Ribā Fēsu?) - A monkey-like head. When he's green, he's happy, but when he's red, he's angry.
- Smiley (スマイリー Sumairī?) - A medallion who claims to belong to the greatest puppet in the world.
The reviews for Dynamite Headdy were generally positive. Electronic Gaming Monthly deemed it "a top action title for the Genesis", particularly praising the visual effects, and gave it a 7.6 out of 10. In May 1995, Famitsu magazine's Reader Cross Review gave the Mega Drive version of the game an 8 out of 10. GamePro assessed the Game Gear version as not as good as the Genesis/Mega Drive version, since the head powerups aren't as strategically important, leaving the player no reason not to just stick with the original head, and the smaller sprites make the action hard to follow. They nonetheless recommended that players buy both versions of the game. While one of Electronic Gaming Monthly's reviewers agreed that the Game Gear version is a poor substitute for the Genesis/Mega Drive version, the other three praised it for its impressive graphics, enjoyable action gameplay, and numerous secrets. They gave it a 7.5 out of 10.
Nintendo Life gave the Virtual Console release an 8/10, saying that it "isn't just a great game, and one of the best platformers on the Mega Drive, but it also has the distinct advantage of being a new experience to most people, one that’s well worth the time and effort." PixelSurgeon called it "Perfect in every way", claiming that it "has more imagination in its opening demo than most developers manage to get into their entire output".
- "Dynamite Headdy Review". Retrieved 2010-07-08.
- Wii Virtual Console Adds Three New Titles. (July 30, 2007) IGN. Retrieved on October 22, 2007
- "Review Crew: Dynamite Headdy". Electronic Gaming Monthly (62) (EGM Media, LLC). September 1994. p. 36.
- 読者 クロスレビュー: ダイナマイトヘッディー. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.333. Pg.34. 5 May 1995.
- "ProReview: Dynamite Headdy". GamePro (62) (IDG). September 1994. p. 138.
- "Review Crew: Dynamite Headdy". Electronic Gaming Monthly (62) (EGM Media, LLC). September 1994. p. 38.
- Review: Dynamite Headdy (Virtual Console / Sega Mega Drive). (July 30, 2007) NintendoLife. Retrieved on July 29, 2010
- [PIXELSURGEON | Reviews | Games | Dynamite Headdy. (2002) PixelSurgeon. Retrieved on July 29, 2010
- Treasure official website (Japanese)
- A fanmade walkthrough for Dynamite Headdy (US/European version), hosted by Webs.com.