Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Dynamite Headdy (Genesis/Mega Drive)

I've had more requests to play this than any other game, and what's even more impressive is that they all came from the same guy! So here, I'm actually playing the damn game, you can leave me alone now.

The game starts off with a giant robot with balls for arms harassing a peaceful town of puppets, and grabbing as many as he can. Dynamite Heady... Headdy bravely rushes in to the rescue, but his flying headbutt attacks prove useless and he's captured along with the rest of them.

I like the painted background and wooden waves. It seems that the game is actually a play performed on stage by the puppets. In this scene Headdy is being taken to the incinerator, until he makes a daring escape.

I can tell the developers were very proud of this intro, as they've put signs up in game congratulating themselves.

Oh shit the intro's finished and I can't stop running and they're sending missiles down at me and there are angry puppet things chasing me and I can't tell if they're enemies or friends and I can barely even see anything against this background!

If they were going for frantic and confusing, then they succeeded. I don't know what I'm supposed to be dodging here.

Oh crap, the robot's back and it's grabbing the other dudes, and I can't seem to kill it! In fact, I can't seem to do anything. I'm feeling pretty irrelevant here actually.

Game Gear
There was also another Dynamite Headdy game which came out on the Master System and Game Gear, and it seems to be sticking pretty close to the Mega Drive version so far. It's dramatically stripped down, (there isn't even a robot) but at least I can break the missiles and knock down the planes.

Meanwhile, back on the Mega Drive, Headdy isn't even on screen any more. Who needs to see the character they're currently controlling, when they can look at a cool looking plane sprite instead?

Headdy managed to make it to the end of the scene just fine by himself without my help, only to find the backdrop collapsing behind him and a new nemesis appearing from the shadows.

And then his head fell off. It's okay though, the thing was never really attached. It just sort of hovers near his shoulders.

Is this even still part of the play? I suppose it must be, because the sinister cat has got his action figures to pull in a new backdrop. Guess we're fighting then.


Okay this isn't working out. I've been firing my head off and headbutting the hell out of him, but I don't seem to be hurting him. I can't even tell if he's hurting me, I don't know where my health is displayed.

And then he kills me with his energy balls. Taken down by the very first boss in the game, how dreadfully embarrassing.

I, uh, accidentally reset the game. No seriously.

At least I've got a full set of lives again, and I was able to take the robot down this time around.  Turns out that all I had to do was hit it a ridiculous number of times. Secret bonus!

This time the cat battle goes differently. My mistake in our first battle was to continually try to chip away his health. But the guy's invulnerable until he knocks himself over, so I have to wait for the opportunity.

Oh and I've figured out that my health meter is the spot light at the top left of the screen. Small 'H' and red colour means I'm in trouble.

Game Gear
The Game Gear version also has the cat fight, though it's less complicated. This time it's just me, and a cat that runs into walls. Oh, and a little dude with a stick telling me when to attack. Where the hell was that guy when I needed him on the Mega Drive version?

And I finally make it back to... oh damn, I can barely look at the screen. It reminds me of when I played Knuckles' Chaotix. The individual pieces of art are fine, but I'm really struggling to make out the characters from the background.

I can't even tell if these guys are even on my side. For all I know I'm walking blindly into danger here.

Though I'm pretty sure this creepy bastard's up to nothing good.

In the town I found doors, leading to optional tutorials! It seems Headdy can get around by latching onto these orange things with his mouth, then flinging himself upwards. I feel like I'm getting close to some actual gameplay now.

Well the 'Danger' looks a bit dangerous, but I think I'm ready. I've practised swapping in new heads to get power ups, I've learned I can fire his head off in 8 directions, and on that level with the orange things I discovered that I can continually fuck up and fall off the bottom of the screen without instantly dying.

Oh shit, I just noticed that guy again, staring at me on the left. Well I'm definitely leaving now.

Finally I reach some old school platforming gameplay. There's enemies to kill, and bonuses to collect, and everything!

I'm still having a little trouble seeing what I'm doing because of that background, but at least I'm doing stuff now.

For instance, right now I've picked up a hammer head and I'm beating these walking helmets to death with it.

Master System
The Master System version skips the town entirely and goes straight to the platforming. It's a different level design, but it got all the same things going on. I'm latching onto orange things, headbutting walking helmets, knocking wheels down hills etc.

Huh? I think I just switched to a... bonus head. Bonus head means I get dragged off to a bonus level to play a bonus game.

All I gotta do is headbutt balls into the hoops. Simple enough.

Goal reached! Huh, "Remember 1"? I wonder what the deal with that is.


Damn, the cat came back!

It seems that we must face each other in combat once again. For some reason.

Oh, wow. I guess not then. It seems I'm fighting a goggle-eyed blimp dog replacement boss then.

And this time my helper guy actually turns up to point out the weak point, which is much appreciated.

Game Gear
The Game Gear versions splits the difference and puts the cat's head on the dog's body, leading to a very different boss fight.

The weak point is the same though; I've gotta get up and hit his tail.

Wait, what the fuck kind of head did I just pull out of the machine this time? All Headdy wants to do now is crawl, and I can't even headbutt anything. The dog keeps bodyslamming me and dropping enemies out of his mouth, but I can't move fast enough to dodge any more.


Oh crap, what the... the floor's tilting! I'm going to slip down into the (fake) lava if I'm not careful.

Game Gear.
The Game Gear avoids all the tilting, and has a straightforward platformer level with moving platforms instead. I don't know which I prefer to be honest. Sure the tilting is different, but I'm not sure I want different just yet.

I mean so far the Mega Drive version has been:
  • 1-1 A straight run, then a boss fight.
  • 2-1 Tutorials. 
  • 2-2 Actual platformer level... with boss fights.
  • 2-3 Boss fight.
Just as I was starting to get my head around using those orange things to fling myself up, they've totally disappeared.

Agh, crap, don't like this! The floor seems determined to get rid of me. On the other hand, while it's tipped over like this I can walk in three dimensions, so I can pull myself back up.

And then the cat grabs me and drags me backstage. No more platforming, it's back to boss fightin'!

And this time he keeps spinning me around and throwing me into walls. I'm trying to fight back, but it's hard to aim towards him when I don't know where I am.

Gotta say, I'm not enjoying this at all any more. But I'll keep playing, and see where it goes.


Agh, he's grabbed my head and my body and he's beating me to death with... myself!

Level 3-4... another boss fight. That's three in a row, not counting the minor boss I fought at the end of 3-1. Fans of boss fights, this game is for you.

Still, this one isn't really so bad. I think I'm actually getting the hang of it now, I just have to... son of a bitch, I got the useless head again!

Now all I can do is crawl around and wait to lose. Awesome. They might as well have just given me an instant death head and gotten it over with.

No offense Headdy, but that's the worst head yet.

They didn't give me any continues, so that's as far as I can go. GAME OVER.

The Japanese version on the other hand would have given me two continues (and easier boss battles). Plus the cat's purple, and there's dialogue before the battle to explain who he even is. Not that I'd be able to read any of it.

Damn, I should have been playing this version! All the important text is still in English, and it seems like a fairer game overall. Though on the other hand I'd have probably just gotten stuck at the same boss even longer. Next game!


  1. Years ago I got one of those Sega collection disks on xbox 360 just to finaly check this game out along with Vectorman and didn't really enjoy either of them.

    1. I got Vectorman as a sneaky hidden bonus on my Sonic Gems Collection for putting enough hours into Sonic CD and Sonic R.

      It's good... in its way. But it sure is an ugly brute. It's like the Mega Drive trying to be the Jaguar. Why would anyone ever do that?


Semi-Random Game Box