Adventures of Dino-Riki (NES)

Adventures of Dino-Riki Box Art

Adventures of Dino-Riki

System: NES

Release Date: September 1989

Developer: Hudson Soft

Publisher: Hudson Soft

Genre: Shoot ‘em Up

Take it back to pre-historic times to pave the way for humankind in the Adventures of Dino Riki. Hudson Soft knows how to make a lot of different genres of game. I remember seeing this title a lot as a kid, but never taking a chance on it. The cover looked good, but something else always looked better at the rental store. I didn’t miss out on anything spectacular. There are eight levels of action before the loop starts over again.

You take control of Dino-Riki and you need to survive the levels to take on bosses at the end. The screen scrolls vertically, changing speeds occasionally. You attack with your current weapon using the A Button and jump to clear water, pits, and other obstacles with the B Button. You start off equipped with rocks, which are weak and have short range. There are destructible blocks on each level that when shot unveil items. You’ll mostly run into diamonds, which will grant you an extra life if you collect enough without taking damage.

You’ll also run into boots powerups, which make you faster to maneuver around the screen. The fist upgrades your weapon. First to a throwing axe, which does more damage and flies farther. Then the boomerang, which is larger and throws quickly. Finally, you upgrade to the torch, which spreads out and flies far. You can hold the A Button down with the torch for rapid fire. You don’t want to let go of the button if you can help it.

What’s novel in Adventures of Dino Riki are the platforming segments. Giant lily pads appear and disappear. Platforms move left and right, forcing you to make incremental adjustments or die immediately. Tiny platforms exist for you to jump on, but you automatically move forward as the screen moves, so you’re going to die a lot. Had I not just mastered time travel, I don’t know if I would have made it to the end of this one.

Enemies come on screen at set places, but may come from the left or right depending on where you are located on screen. Luckily, you don’t die in one hit, but instead have a life bar that flickers out of existence most of the time. Bosses at the end of each level aren’t difficult, as long as you mash the shoot button in front of them. Getting there fully powered is tough though, as whenever you take a hit, you lose both a level of speed and weapon powerup.

Graphics: 1.5

Graphics are okay, but they look a couple years past their best by date at this point. The life bar flickering is inexcusable.

Sound: 1.5

The music is alright, but the sound effects from shooting aren’t pleasant.

Gameplay: 1.0

Let’s add poorly controlled platforming to a vertical scrolling shoot ‘em up! This was a bad call.

Difficulty: 1.0

The platforming takes a straightforward game and makes it totally unfair to the player.

Fun Factor: 0.5

I didn’t enjoy playing in Dino-Riki’s world.

Overall Grade: 1.1

The Adventures of Dino-Riki earns a D. Hudson Soft can usually be relied on to bring a competent game to the table, but this was one that could have gone extinct and no one would have cared.

The Adventures of Dino-Riki Video Review on YouTube