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Dork’s Dilemma?

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Released: 1985

Publisher: Gremlin Graphics

Developer: Anthony J.Clarke

Submitted by: Clarance Frank

There aren’t many C16 games that can claim to have a direct influence on a major Japanese franchise – and this isn’t one of them. But maybe, just maybe, if you squint a little, well maybe a lot, you can see a game here that could be seen as a precursor to Pikmin, with a little bit of Bomberman thrown in as well. No,…really…

See, our main protagonist – Dork – has crash-landed on a strange planet, and his spacecraft has been dispersed over a wide area of the planet’s surface. His mission then is to get out there and collect and re-assemble the pieces of his silver space-ship – see, it’s just like Pikmin isn’t it?

Now we move on to the gameplay, and I make my case for Bomberman comparisons M’lud…

On each maze like screen Dork visits, a piece of spacecraft lies entombed at the center – only by destroying a set number of aliens that inhabit each screen can Dork retrieve his missing spaceship bit. Dork’s only weapons seem to be bombs with timed fuses (perhaps all his laser-blasters were left on the ship?). In Bomberman style, Dork plants his bombs to kill the baddies. Oh, and there’s a little jigsaw mini-game as well where you have to arrange the missing parts of Dork’s ship to make a little picture.

So Captain Olimar, um, I mean Dork, (they even look similar – remember to squint) goes about collecting his space-parts, making his jigsaw, blowing up aliens, and all is good. Well, yes it is, up to a point – everything looks nice, Dork is nicely animated and moves about the screen very smoothly, and the whole game is nicely produced. The big problem with Dork’s Dilemma? is that it’s far too easy, and that makes it something of a chore in the end – a real shame – a little bit of fiddling with the game mechanics this could have been really great.

As it is, Dork’s Dilemma? is just an average little game on an obscure system that just maybe had an influence on the makers of Pikmin. Well maybe?