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Dynamic: Colonization of Jupiter
(Sasha Vukelich)


"Your one-man armada must protect the planet at all costs!"

2001 QB Gaming Gold Award Winner for Best Arcade Game

You find yourself stationed atop the colony ship, awaiting commands from your high officer. You glance to the left and to the front of your ship, staring at the beautiful planet you were sworn to protect. You look to the aft at the colony ship you promised to defend. And now, your skills are ready to be tested.

Your fellow pilots don't see it, but your ship's sensors indicate a meteor shower headed directly toward the colony ship. But your eyes can see even further into the distance, and you see a wave of enemy ships behind the shower ready to ambush you and your friends. No time to warn the colony ship... it's time to take down this ambush with a frontal assault!

Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
Well, the screenshots don't lie. Thanks to Future Software's hi-resolution Future.Library and one very talented graphics artist, Dynamic Beta is one of the most beautiful games made on QB yet. The graphics are a mix of heavily detailed enemy ships and laser-effects similar to Space Duel and some other classic Atari spaceshooters from days go by. But the level of quality never drops; in fact, as you go on the graphics in the game get better. This is highly unusual for a video game.

This latest and final version of Dynamic comes with five new levels, with graphics never seen before and enemies more detailed and notorious than the last four levels. It isn't until the very last levels on Difficult mode (level 8 in particular) where you find out just how many ships Sasha can squeeze into the game without causing a hint of slowdown. The graphics are really fast-paced.

There are many subtle animations within the realm of Dynamic. While your ship and the enemy ships do not have that many frames, a lot of action happens in the background. You get to see the stars drift by, and you even get to see the vibrant explosions whenever a ship gets hit by your laser fire. All this without a flicker? Excellent!

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
If your sound card is compatible and you can hear all the sound effects, it really improves on the overall feel of Dynamic. The laser sound doesn't sound too sci-fi, and while the explosion sound is very good it really is the standard when it comes to your expectations of a good spaceshooter.

There's no music though, and the sound effects in Dynamic isn't fully compatible unless you have a 100% Sound Blaster compatible card. Dynamic needs sound badly because you control the ship with a mouse. If you play the game without the explosions and the laser fire, Dynamic ends up feeling too much like a click-and-drag adventure. In short, if you don't have a 100% Sound Blaster compatible card, buy one. It will be worth it.

Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe vvvv
(Very Good)
This is what I like most about Dynamic, which takes a more modern approach to its gameplay format. Instead of the standard "fly through stage, shoot down boss" layout that spaceshooters tend to fall into, Dynamic uses a mission objective mode in its game. This departure from the standard formula doesn't always work; Dynamic pulls it off just fine.

For example, in the first level you have to defend the colony ship from an asteroid field. This poses as double jeopardy because you have to take down the asteroids before they hit the colony ship while conserving your own energy and shields. But the next level will offer a whole new objective and so forth. There are even some levels where you get to fly with a computer-operated partner, and you protect each other from the bad guys as sort of a 2D Starfox. Level 5, where you have to dodge your way through an enemy flagship, can be a real thrill.

Perhaps the strangest part about Dynamic is it's choice of controller. To play the game, you need to have a mouse to operate your ship. This allows you to have more control over the ship's speed, and opens up even more interesting gameplay options. In some of the levels you can dance around with the mouse to prevent enemy waves. In other levels you have to be a little more sensitive, making sure you don't crash into an asteroid belt or the back of a giant mothership. It's very involved.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
Average. The bulk of the story in Dynamic lies in the level transitions. There's a logical flow to your mission briefings, from protecting the colony ship to taking out the enemy forces to securing the planet's perimeter. You even get to see a tiny transition between one level and the next every now and then. This is a nice touch and is reminiscent of Sonic 3 back in the Genesis days, when Knuckles the Echidna would occasionally stop by and make life miserable for Sonic.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
Before I commented that Dynamic was a relaxing game, that you could casually relax after each enemy wave that arrives and then recharge for the next wave. This is still true for the first four game levels, but afterwards Sasha Vukelich really threw a monkey wrench into the game by making it increasingly and increasingly difficult! The big wake-up call comes quickly especially when you crash into a mass of metal that comes screaming down from above. This time, the enemy's in for the kill.

There's a big learning curve in Dynamic. Trying to beat  Level 1 on Easy mode is very different from beating Level 6 on Difficult mode. Another plus to the replay value is the ability to choose your starting level. You might think it's a good idea to set the mode in Difficult and just select the last stage so you can tell your friends that you beat the game in Difficult mode. Go ahead and try. You won't get very far.

Overall, the combination of a generous level select system, a tough game, and the precise mouse control make the challenge level of this game adjustable enough so you can always come back, whether your reflexes are sharp or if you've come back from a long day's work. In this sense Dynamic sends out perfect replay value.

Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
To beat all of Dynamic's levels from the beginning, even in Normal mode, you would have to be possessed with amazing 2D shooter skills. Dynamic plays like an arcade shooter back in the days when Capcom ruled the skies and every game was top-down view. And that means tons of enemy fire and unexpected surprises between each level. Just when you think you have the four waves of each level figured out, something happens. You'll either encounter a boss that covers the top half of the screen. Or maybe a long wave of enemy ships will come down and smother you. It's hard and it's unpredictable. If you want the worst of it, set the game on DIfficult and hold on tight.

There are two good tricks you need to learn to be a good pilot at Dynamic. The first trick is to be persistent in taking out enemy waves when you know you have the firepower to take them down. The second trick is to know when to swing your mouse violently to make sure you can dodge the enemy swarms when you know you don't have the firepower to take them down. Combine these two tricks and you'll be able to make it far in Dynamic. And even if you can't keep up with the game's challenge, Dynamic's Stage Select mode will let you continue where you left off.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
(Very Good)
With twenty-nine total points, this beta of Dynamic surpasses the score we've given the father of all QB spaceshooters, the incredible Monospace! Not an easy task for any QB spaceshooter, as Monospace set up some hefty standards! But what I like about Dynamic is that it is a totally different spaceshooter from Monospace. Whereas Monospace reminded me of a charming Gradius/Sky Shark hybrid, Dynamic Beta is a birds-eye view game that has the addiction factor of a Star Soldier and the graphic details of Raptor. Instead of trying to make excellent level layout as in Monospace, Dynamic used original concepts to make the game more fun. I'm glad that both of these noteworthy QB spaceshooters are different and entertaining, but in the end only one game can be ranked higher than the other in the Top Arcade Game List. And as far as I'm concerned, this round goes to Dynamic Beta.

The twenty-nine point verdict also puts Dynamic on a near-tie with fellow arcade game Wetspot 2. Neither game has broken the nearly unbreakable 30-point barrier, but both games clearly tried their hardest. In one hand, you have Wetspot 2, the mother of the first generation of QB games and a victory by Angelo Mottola. On the other hand, you have Dynamic Beta, the premiere spaceshooter in QB fueled by Future Library. While the makers of Wetspot 2 have long since retired from QB, Sasha Vukelich is still here.

The point? It's hard to come by a game that's comparable to the most popular first-generation QB arcade games out there, that being Monospace and Wetspot 2. With Future Software hosting their project and the promise of a Dynamic 2 in the distance, maybe there will be a day when the Dynamic franchise can break that 30-point barrier. That fact alone makes any game in the Dynamic series a must-download.

Players 1 player Genre: Arcade/Space Shooting Game
Rating To solve: 3-6 hours Final Rating: 29/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tips
wTo play this game, you need to have a mouse.
wTo play Dynamic Beta, unzip the file and run "DYNAMIC.BAT".

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