Saturday 18 September 2021

Adventures of Dino-Riki (NES review)

Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Hudson Soft
Released: 1989

Adventures of Dino-Riki is a shoot-em-up that was first released on the Famicom in 1987 as Shin Jinrui: The New Type.

There's four worlds and while your initial weapon is a short-range rock you can upgrade to axes, boomerangs and torches by collecting power-ups. There are also sections that require you to jump across gaps, but these can be skipped by obtaining the Bird icon which affords you flight. The first ten seconds lulls you into a false sense of security, as enemies casually enter the screen and you're given ample time to shoot them down. Afterwards, an army of speedy opponents with wild movement patterns litter bullets across a huge portion of the playfield, making your life an utter misery. Once you're fully powered-up the game does become slightly easier (with the bosses becoming a complete joke) and the ability to hold down the B button for rapid fire is a welcome relief. Unfortunately, once you take damage and are powered-down things get obnoxiously frustrating, as all other weapons are pretty useless as you progress to higher stages. This leaves you in an impossible situation where you almost feel the need to reset the entire game due to your ability to progress being severely hampered by the lack of suitable weapons. And then there's the terrible platforming sections where you need to dodge enemies while jumping from object to object; the controls are atrocious here and despite the requirement for pinpoint accuracy your sprite moves an absurd amount of pixels whenever you lightly tap the d-pad. Obtaining the Bird wings is a must to skipping these land-based hazards and a cool feature is that they add a risk-reward element due to your inability to collect other items you might require while airborne.

Adventures of Dino-Riki fails at being a competent shooter and makes an incredible misstep by including unnecessary platforming sections. It's certainly innovative, but one thing it isn't is fun, and compounding the issue is the rock-hard gameplay that seems hell-bent on encouraging you to put the controller back down.

Random trivia: Even if you do reach the end of the game prepare for disappointment, as there's no credit screen and you're immediately looped back to Stage 1-1!

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