There are two things that all small boys across the whole world instantly go crazy over, no matter where you're from or what language you speak: Robots and Dinosaurs. You would think putting the two together in a side scrolling action game would equal instant classic. You would be wrong.
Dynowarz follows on the heels of games like Blaster Master and the like, where you play a character who pilots a large mech (in this case obviously, a dinosaur.) The plot involves some silly alien invasion thing and you're the only one who can stop it.. blah blah blah.. as if it really matters. The point is it's a game about a dinosaur robot that still manages to end up sucking.
On the plus side you can tell a lot of thought and planning went into this game, to the point where I'd say it might have spawned a decent franchise. The action is split between sequences where you're in the robot and others where you invade an enemy base on foot. Problem is each sequence isn't very well done, and in fact play like crap.
The dino sections are pretty boring actually. You drive a huge 100 foot robot that has a measly one way to attack at any given time, none of which are really effective. The default is a weaksauce punching attack that goes a whole 3 pixels in range - thanks for nothing, robot. The cannon shot is quick and with a long range but doesn't do enough damage. The Japanese super-robot style firing fist looks cool, but takes too long to reload and also doesn't do enough. There is also a lazer beam (which is the only attack that seems to do any damage) and an extremely useless mortar-grenade-bomb attack that sucks ass. Problem with any of these is that there are certain enemies that lie below your line of fire and can't be hit except by the grenade, which is so slow and useless that it's better just to take the hit and avoid said enemy. Which is what you end up doing - taking a lot of cheap hits and merely jumping over the attacking enemy types. Doesn't help that these sequences feature virtually flat levels - the whole thing quickly becomes a chore.
The on-foot sequences don't fare much better. Your little man doesn't have a sense of "weight," and has this funky, floating jump that doesn't come off right. The actual bases are extremely simple - four or five screens of flying or walking enemies who don't pose much of a problem, along with several turrets and a few very easy platform challenges. At the end of each base is a strange, pulsating, blob-like thing akin to the Mother Brain from Metroid but ten times more whimpy. Virtually all of these "bosses" can be taken out just by standing at the other end of the screen and repeatedly jumping and firing. Lame.
Although the weapons you have blow and you take umpteen million cheap hits all over the place, the game is still way too easy. Bosses are very stupid and follow easy to figure out patterns, and should only really kill you if you're blind or mentally handicapped - and even then you could probably beat them. You should be able to breeze through the first three levels without even losing a man. You're not supposed to be able to almost beat a game the first time you ever play it.
A terrible shame, this game had so much potential.
Graphics: Very small and somewhat blurry sprites in the Dino sequences, with crappy animation. The on-foot portions fare better (slightly,) but for the most part are still pretty lackluster.
Sound: Average 8-bit zaps and bangs.
Gameplay: Lots of cheap hits, but boring, flat levels and stupid enemies make the game way to easy.