An early and unfortunately overlooked Genesis game, Dynamite Duke is a gem I only recently discovered. The game can best be described as a third person Operation Wolf. The screen scrolls along from left to right as you aim your crosshairs at the enemy and blast away. Destroy certain objects and out pops ammo and health and weapon power-ups. Like I said, Operation Wolf, no? But not so fast, because as fun a game as Operation Wolf is, Dynamite Duke contains some new gameplay elements that make it even better than its spiritual predecessor. First of all, you can actually dodge the enemy fire that's coming at you, moving left and right and even ducking to the side (down-right or down-left on the D-pad). Furthermore, when you reach the end of each level you must face a boss, and not just tanks or helicopters, but human foes like a big fat guy with a mechanical arm who you must defeat in hand-to-hand combat. A target shooting game alone this is not.
The graphics and sound of Dynamite Duke are clearly early Genesis fare, though in my opinion this really adds to the game's charm. Indeed, Dynamite Duke has 1989 written all over it, the type of game that people usually write off as not worth trying out because it doesn't have the flashy graphics of later Genesis games. To pass up mindless fun like Dynamite Duke because it doesn't look like Vectorman or Sonic 3 though would be a real shame. It's a very amusing, simple game that you can pick up and play whenever you have a few minutes to spare, the kind that may not be one of your favorites but you'll still find yourself wanting to play from time to time.
As a side note, what immediately struck me about this game is just how much "Dynamite" looks like another blonde-haired, ass-kicking Duke we know. Get rid of the bionic arm and you'd swear you were looking at Mr. Nukem himself. Coincidence? Who knows. You'd have to ask the guys over at Apogee about that.