Dynamite Headdy

released on Aug 05, 1994

Dynamite Headdy is a platform game in which the player controls 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 any time, 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.

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What they don't tell you is that this is a sequel to Mcdonald's Treasure Land Adventure sans the absurd difficulty.

The best game on the genesis, i played the game on near everything it was on (wii, mobile but not the sega) this game is just amazing and idea rich

Aside from the one time I played Gunstar Heroes a few years ago, I have needed to "educate myself" on the Treasure catalog for a while. Having played the Japanese version of Dynamite Headdy via the Sega Genesis/Megadrive Classic Collection on Switch, I can say it's a solid, yet long 16-bit platformer.
Having looked into Dynamite Headdy a little, I decided to play the Japanese version due to a lighter difficulty, though it offers a lot more than that. Unfortunately, in the English localization of this game, the actual story of Dynamite Headdy is lost in translation. It's appreciated that SEGA's compilation cart for the Switch includes both NTSC and Japan releases, but it's still a shame that the text boxes exclusive to the Japanese version were not translated on the cartridge. Thankfully fans have already done that with plenty of ways to access a translated ROM, an option I may take for any future playthroughs.
Analyzing Dynamite Headdy to any extent reveals a boundary-pushing piece of software for the time. Including impressive 3D effects predating many more popular titles using similar features. This extends to the stellar soundtrack, as well as a general gameplay loop that feels both familiar and radically different from its contemporaries - even ones made by Treasure, themselves; think Gunstar Heroes meets Sonic meets Rayman. I could probably describe Dynamite Headdy in better detail, but with its ease of access both legally and otherwise, it's best you just give it a shot, yourself.

Recently replayed this game and it's still fun as hell. The creativity and style of this game carries it. The whole game is a play filled with props, spotlights and behind the scenes sections. It's colorful and wacky with a lot of charm. Easily top 10 Genesis games (see my list to know where I rank it lol).
I remember this game being hard but man is it harder than I remember. There's even a 1 hit hard mode I never knew about.
It wasn't till decades after it's release that I learned the Japanese version is easier and even has dialog that was cut from the western version.

First things first, I'm gonna go on record and say that the japanese version of this game is the way to go. Not only did the western version double the difficulty of everything, it also... neglected to translate any of the dialogue and cutscenes from the japanese version, so it just chucks them out altogether. There's a fan translation of this version of the game, and I wholeheartedly recommend it over what the west half-heartedly gave us.
With that said, Dynamite Headdy is the type of game where even through several completed playthroughs, I'm still kinda struggling to wrap my thoughts around it. It's like a platformer, with the pacing of a run 'n gun. That is to say, it almost feels like I'm supposed to play more methodically, but the game is just blasting through its mechanics and setpieces at such a rapid-fire pace that I feel like I'm not being given time to digest any of it.
Despite this, I can't help but admire the creativity on display. Headdy leans headdily into its stage play aesthetic, far more than Mario 3 ever did. Every stage is an act of a play, filled with blatant props substituting the sky, spotlights, behind the scenes background elements, and - on a side note - the occasional ridiculously high-quality voice clip that made me double take my prior understanding of what the Genesis sound chip could handle.
This is a Treasure title, through and through. Their technical prowess, penchant for weirdness, and thrilling setpieces are all present here, and are all worth experiencing. It's just... it feels like there's a difference between me thinking "This game is really cool," versus "This game is fun to play," the latter of which I don't find myself thinking as much. It's not bad to play either, nor is it clunky. Maybe the problem is that whereas the aesthetic is very focused, the gameplay is not. There's tons of powerups, but few of them contribute towards a fun flow of movement that I normally expect out of platformers. Headdy carries no momentum, no running button, he isn't much more other than servicable to play as.
It's the kind of situation where the style of the game carries everything else. And man, if there's anything that'll win you over, it's the style. The amount of scenarios present here are all wild and crazy beyond all imagination. And yet, for all it does, there's just that one tiny thing missing that makes me wonder if the simplicity of the controls not matching up to the complexity of the level variety creates an awkward balance of design priority. In the sense that the gameplay and the variety should've been equally prioritized, but clearly, one thing took precedence, and thus Headdy winds up as "fun enough," but could it have been more fun?
Yeah, again, it's difficult for me to collect my thoughts on Headdy. I love what it's doing, I highly respect it just for being a game that the developers had complete freedom over. But it feels like it's doing too much within too little time, and I guess it makes it difficult to keep a lot of it in your memory once you're done. Perhaps that's not a bad thing, though. It just means that my next playthrough is going to still feel fresh.