Monday, January 26, 2015

Nerdicus NES Review #167: Defenders of Dynatron City

Title : Defenders of Dynatron City

Publisher : Lucasfilm Games

Developer : JVC

Genre : Action

Players :  1 Player

Release Date : 1992

Estimated Value (as of today's date): $15-$20

Before we get started! A little update as to how the new blog launch goes. It's coming, but I'm having a pain in the arse getting the template to work. And part of me is quite a bit disappointed that I'll be losing out on a lot of my google plus comments once I transfer over to the new design. After all, a huge reason why I keep doing this is because I love interacting with all you fellow retro gamers out there, and to lose some of the old comments that I like to read back on, well it's a bit disheartening. Then again, another side of me is thinking to the bigger and better things to come! Including a sortable review list of everything I've reviewed so far. That way you can sort from worst to best reviewed! WOW!!! So, give it a few more days as I work out the kinks on the new site design, and prepared to be overloaded with retro-loving goodness!

Not only that, I've put together everything I needed for my blog launch raffle, and by God is it looking delectable. Retro delicious! OH, and possibility of some staggered reviews the next few days. There's a huge blizzard hitting us today and tomorrow, and if I can't work on reviews, I'll be working on revamping the site...that is all - now on to the gaming.
Leave it to Lucasfilms to come up with some of the most bizarre games for the Nintendo Entertainment system. We're talking Ballblazers, Maniac Mansion, and one of the most underrated NES gems of all time, DEFENDERS OF DYNATRON CITY! All right, I admit I am a sucker for anything Lucas Arts, so this review may come off a bit as biased. So it automatically gets an extra point (and it's going to need it)Then again, this game is far from anything good, but it's hilariously well-designed in terms of concept. Especially when you're talking about a game designed by the main man behind Maniac Mansion (easily in my top 5 fav. NES games). But come on, who can possibly resist a game about bizarre superheroes? Forget about Batman, and Superman. We're talking about Toolbox, Monkey Kid, and Radium Dog!


The game is actually based on an animated series that was supposed to be kicked off by Lucas films, but was ultimately rejected by networks, and instead went straight to VHS. Unfortunately for me, I've lost all tapes I've had of this, and now it makes me want to go look online to see if they have this on DVD or something. Anyone want to provide a link so I don't have to? Ha! Not to mention, this show as voiced by some A-list actors. Whoopi Goldberg, Christopher Walken...I mean..come on, now? Who can, ever in their right mind, doubt the superb talents, of Christopher Walken? He know..brilliant? Now picture me saying that in my most epic Christopher Walken voice. And once I start doing my twitch videos, I shall let you all become victim to that expertise. No, seriously. I'm quite good at doing impersonations lol.

Anyway, let's don our super hero outfits and get this show on the road. Dynatron City needs defending (see what I did there).

Mr. Mayhem is back and is wreaking havoc on Dynatron City. He has unleashed a horde of angry robots to destroy it, and it is up to the Defenders to save the day! Simple, super hero story ripped straight from an everyday comic. By the title screen alone, you know you're in for a wild ride, especially thanks to the hilarious cast of main characters you get to choose from. I mentioned a few of them previously, but let's get into them with a bit more detail shall we?

Ms. Megawatt with the power of hurling electrical bolts from her hands. Voiced by the brilliant Whoopi Goldberg in the animated series...side note, how I wish their were voices in this game. Curse you limited NES technology.

Jet Headstrong, who literally fires his head off like a rocket. How he doesn't die after each attack is beyond me.

Buzzsaw girl. Self explanatory. She's got buzz saws for limbs.

Toolbox. He actually uses his head as a hammer....yup.

Monkey Kid. Probably the most irritating of the bunch who has exploding bananas. COME ON..exploding bananas? How bout flinging poo?

Radium Dog - a super powered dog with jaws of steel. 

Choose wisely, because they each have their own specific abilities that you'll have to grow accustom to. And if you don't perfect the way in which you time your characters attacks, well you're not going to get very far. Which brings me to complaint #1 of this game....

The game is a straightforward side-scrolling beat 'em up / action game, sort of like a mix between Double Dragon and the original Ninja Turtles. You'll go around collecting power up boosts, flinging your attacks in every direction, and dealing with the occasional minor platforming. I'm talking minor, like jumping over a gap. It's mostly just beating the crap out of everything on the screen. And that's where the hard part comes in. Actually LANDING an attack.

Defenders of Dynatron City is NOTORIOUS for having one of the worst hit detection systems in gaming history. I can't sugar coat it. It's bad....real bad. I literally spent minutes against one enemy running back and forth across the screen just TRYING to land one damn hit. And this is your basic grunt! If my line of sight was not PERFECTLY aligned, and the planets weren't in synchronous orbit, you can forget about me killing it. I died so many times just because I couldn't figure out how I was missing. That's why I say, take your time to figure out how your attack is able to land a hit with an enemy, and adjust accordingly. If you feel like you're gonna miss, you're probably's bizarre.

Once you get the hang of it, you'll most likely enjoy the game. I can't say for how long though, because the frustration certainly starts to mount. It makes me wonder if Gary Winnick, the lead developer, should have stuck with making point and click adventures. After all, this is entirely different gameplay we're talking about.

Still, you need to appreciate the game for what it's worth. It's highly entertaining, and some of the best things come from the artistic abilities of the developing minds over at Lucas Arts. The characters are of course brilliant, and the backdrops are reminiscent of the Maniac Mansion style. It really does mimic the animated series well, but the artwork can really carry the game so far.

Gameplay is the rotten grape in this bunch (what sort of metaphor is that!?), and it really brings the game down. It's downright depressing too, because I really wanted to love this game...and I do...but just not as much as I hoped to have.

But with epic Lucas Arts jams, and artistic direction, I still recommend this as a must have for anyone who is a fan of the developers and looking for an entertaining yet frustrating side-scroller. Give it a chance, get used to the controls, and try to look past it. It's a blast, but you will probably toss your controller once or twice. I wish they brought this back...

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until Next time - Keep on Gaming!