Although Treasure had released games before Gunstar Heroes, it was their 2D action/shooter that won them their international fame. Most companies would have taken the success of Gunstar Heroes and run with it, turning it into a franchise and comic books and so on. But not Treasure, this was a company that was dead set against milking a franchise and was more interested in developing a new and original IP.
Dynamite Headdy ended up being the game that followed Gunstar Heroes. Released one year after their successful Contra-like action game, Dynamite Headdy had the unfortunate task of living up to the high water mark set by Gunstar Heroes. This was a game that seemed destined to fail, if only because it was near impossible to match the quality of Treasure's previous outing, in much the same way that Orson Welles could not equal what he had done with Citizen Kane. People wanted another Gunstar Herose, but Treasure was more interested in giving us something that was completely different.
But let's not compare Dynamite Headdy to the mighty Gunstar Heroes; it's just not fair since they are two completely different games that are clearly not trying to be similar. You might as well compare Final Fantasy X to Katamari Damacy or Tetris to Grand Theft Auto, the games are just different. And that's a good thing, although gamers may have been looking for Gunstar Heroes 2, it's better for everybody that Treasure opted to give us this crazy new character with a detachable head. If Treasure had giving in to public pressure we may have never discovered one of the greatest 2D action games of all time ... a Genesis game that is every bit as good on Sega's portable Game Gear.
This Game Gear port may not look as good as its 16-bit counterpart, but there's no question that it's on par with what Treasure accomplished on the Genesis. You play Headdy, the star of the Treasure Theatre production of Dynamite Headdy. The entire game is set on a stage where the stage hands change the backgrounds, 2D backdrops are added as needed, and everything has an almost puppet-like existence. Your main weapon is your detachable head, which can actually change into a number of different heads (including a vacuum, metal head, spike head and so on). Not only are your heads used to attack enemies, but you can also use this ability to solve puzzles and find secret areas.
The game features more than a dozen levels and, in true Treasure fashion, a whole lot of bosses. You will also have to deal with an impressive number of baddies, each with their own unique traits. Thankfully none of this is too difficult due in large part to the great control you have over your character. The game just feels right on the Game Gear, it's one of those games that works perfectly on a hand held game system.
On the console Dynamite Headdy is widely regarded as one of the best looking games on the 16-Bit Genesis, unfortunately the same cannot be said for this 8-Bit version. It's not that the game looks bad, but it just cannot hold a candle to what you got on the Genesis. The animation, on the other hand, is some of the best you will get on the Game Gear and almost makes up for graphics that are occasionally hard to make out. The good thing is that this will not affect your game play, proving once and for all that this is one game that is fun no matter what it looks like.
Dynamite Headdy packs a lot of crazy and unique game play into a little Game Gear game. If you're a fan of the Genesis version then you should definitely give Headdy a shot, and those of you who have never experienced the crazy world of Dynamite Headdy need to see what you've been missing all this time. Who cares about a Gunstar Heroes sequel when you can play something as amazing as Dynamite Headdy?