Dangerous Dave 2
Platformers may look simple and relatively harmless, but they featured just as much violence and gore as today’s video games, only it was rather hard to see, what with the 8-bit graphics and all. Some of the most illustrious game designers and developers made a name for themselves during that era as well, such is the case with John Carmack and his crew, id Software, which developed and produced the subject of this review.
Dave takes on a haunted mansion by himself
Dangerous Dave 2 (also known as Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion) is quite the well-known platformer from back in the day and it was released almost two and a half decades ago, which means that it probably won’t run on anything that doesn’t feature a command-line interface. However, once you get it started (you can use DOSBox to do so), you are in for quite the treat, since there are very few modern games out there that can provide you with such a challenge nowadays.
Story-wise, there’s not much to tell, other than the fact that Dave goes after the bad guys and he enters their lair, which happens to be a haunted mansion as well. Over the course of eight monster-infested levels, you must survive the endless streams of scripted enemies and make your way to the door that takes you to the next stage, while collecting trinkets from around the house and exchanging them for points. There are a few other characters you meet along the way, but the plot is not exactly worthy of a Pulitzer prize anyway.
Automatically reloading shotgun to spice up the action
Small gameplay mechanics made the difference in titles like this, since they could change the entire experience if used correctly. As an example, the fact that Dave’s shotgun had to be reloaded was quite the neat addition at the time, not to mention the fact that it made you calculate your actions more carefully. In order to reload, Dave must stay in one place, which makes him vulnerable to enemy attacks. Obviously, you can stop reloading and move at any time, but you lose the ability to shoot in the mean time.
Another nice gimmick is represented by the fact that Dave can look and shoot upwards or downwards, which extends your list of options by quite a lot, at least talking in 1991 terms. Even with all of these additions, though, the difficulty level can really cause some hair loss along the way, especially since death is quite permanent and you only have a limited number of lives. You can gain more by collecting golden cups and various other trinkets from around the mansion, but that usually takes time, while dying is far quicker and easier to do.
A representative game for the DOS era
In the end, Dangerous Dave 2 really brought a lot of things to the genre and it made shooting monsters and ghosts a lot more fun, not to mention difficult. However, once you get the hang of the mechanics and you are able to move around without falling into traps, or getting hit by enemy projectiles, the game becomes quite addictive and fun, at least until the bosses make an appearance and ruin your day.
Note: Dangerous Dave 2 only works in DOS, which might make it incompatible with modern operating systems. In order to bypass this problem, you can download DOSBox and use it to run the game safely.