Oh boy oh boy, if there's one genre of arcade games I love talking about, it's the Scrolling Brawler genre, specifically between 1987 and 1989.

Not that brawlers afterwards aren't interesting- they most certainly are- but the ones in this period are profoundly odd.

Another case to add to this pile of weird brawlers is one of the strangest around, Dynamite Düx.

(And hey, it's by Sega AM2! I'm gonna be biased, right?)

Released in 1988. before Golden Axe marked Sega's real entry into the genre from Team Shinobi, Dynamite Düx is a scrolling brawler in much the same way Taito's Pu.Li.Ru.La. is- they both have you moving both left and right and towards and away from the screen, and they definitely have you beating up anything that moves, but they also play fast and loose with what I suppose are the established rules of the genre. It's a little different, of course, seeing as Pu.Li.Ru.La. came out after the rules were established while Dynamite Düx came before, in that wild time where weird brawlers like the original Ninja Gaiden and P.O.W. - Prisoners of War were rife. As a result, you would normally say this game was ignoring the genre rulebook, but it didn't really exist just yet. As either Bin (Player 1, blue) or Pin (Player 2, red), you must journey into the evil Achacha's world to rescue your owner, Lucy, who has been kidnapped by the self-titled Achacha the Great. This involves knocking seven bells out of anything that moves, including but not limited to bloodthirsty sausage-dogs, mortar-launching kangaroos, and rhinos in full American football gear trying to tackle you. That's not even mentioning the bosses, like a sentient storm cloud and a giant circle of fire.

I told you this game was odd.

Most of the things you'd expect are here- free movement into and out of the screen, a health meter (this time shown as a long bar at the bottom of the screen) but of the main things Dynamite Düx does different is in its actual fighting. While many pre-Final Fight brawlers had separate buttons for punching and kicking, Bin and Pin only get the one attack button as well as a jump button, with punches on the ground and kicks in the air. Additionally, you can punch while moving and you can attack in any of the eight cardinal directions, which means you can punch towards and away from the screen too. The critical change is the charge attack- holding the button down makes Bin and Pin start winding up a huge punch which has better range/strength and can hit enemies youfrom a little further away (it kicks up a dustcloud that hurts too) but generally the Düx have very poor reach, even if (almost) every enemy only takes one hit to defeat. Instead, you'll want to grab one of the many, many weapons available, which move away from Double Dragon's melee-based repetoire and focus almost exclusively on firearms and projectiles. While some have further reach than others, they're all better than just duking it out with your fists, so you're pretty much constantly moving from one weapon to the other as each one runs out of ammo. They are:

Just plain ol' rocks. Thrown quite far.

Explode and can take out multiple enemies.
The double-bomb variant has more ammo.

Machine Gun
Rapid-fire! Very effective on bosses.

Very powerful, but short range, and ammo gets consumed even when not in use.

Rocket Launcher
Packs a punch, and flies quickly through the air.

Missile Launcher
Launches missiles that home in
(very slowly) on targets.

Water Pistol
Only used in certain boss fights, effective against fire
but slow firing rate.

Additionally, there's food items scattered about- small ones restore 4 health points, bigger ones restore 8.

We're pretty much ready to go on this one, then! See, there's not that much to discuss mechanics-wise beforehand. It was a different era for brawlers, that's for sure. Anyway, the trip through the bizarre world of Achacha the Great consists of six different stages, so this won't be terribly long, but you'd better prepare for some of the oddest opponents in any scrolling brawler. Yes, even stranger than the Pretty Boys from The Punisher.

It's time to put up our dukes- let's play Dynamite Düx!

Time to get lucky, ducky!