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  1. #1

    Retro|Spective 022: Dizzy

    We return with a much less violent series but also a much older one as we go deep into the retro vaults with this weeks eggscellent nostalgia trip...


    Mainline Entry 01 - Dizzy: The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure
    Formats: Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum
    The Oliver Twins adventure series began way back in 1987 and introduced the little egg to the world. Whilst enemies wander the screens you're navigating you were tasked with passing puzzles by finding relevant objects and using them in the correct place. It was a simple mechanic but for its era an impressive one matched by the strong visual presentation the game carried. Carrying a fairly difficult challenge to its name thanks to only having three easy to lose lives it made the stakes quite high when trying to make your way past obstacles in the face of Dizzy's movement momentum.

    Spin Off Entry 01 - Fast Food
    Formats: Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Enterprise, Atari ST, PC, Amiga and ZX Spectrum
    Following mere months after the original game came the first spin off which aped the success of Pac Man by having Dizzy work his way around a maze gathering food. Made in less than three weeks, the game was a surprisingly solid imitator of its inspiration.

    Mainline Entry 02 - Treasure Island Dizzy
    Formats: Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, PC, Amiga, NES, Amiga CD32 and ZX Spectrum
    The very next year Codemasters already had the sequel to the main game ready and on the shelves. This time the adventure saw Dizzy stranded on a desert island that he's aiming to escape by boat. The game expanded on the original by having a full inventory system but some concern was raised about how difficult the game had become as Dizzy was reduced to just a single life.

    Mainline Entry 03 - Fantasy World Dizzy
    Formats: Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Enterprise, Atari ST, PC, Amiga, NES and ZX Spectrum
    Once again Codies moved fast and within the same year as the second game they had the third on the market. The game struck a balance between the difficulty of the first game and the advancements of the second. It was also the entry that saw the introduction of the rest of Dizzy's family and was very well received at the time though its fame also descends from the abandoned NES port that was unreleased until last year when Codemasters released it for free under the name Mystery World Dizzy.

    Spin Off Entry 02 - Kwik Snax
    Formats: Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, PC, Amiga and ZX Spectrum
    Spin Off Entry 03 - Dizzy Panic!
    Formats: Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Master System, Game Gear and ZX Spectrum
    Spin Off Entry 04 - Bubble Dizzy
    Formats: Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, PC, Amiga and ZX Spectrum
    Spin Off Entry 05 - Dizzy 3 and a Half: Into Magicland
    Formats: Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, PC, Amiga and ZX Spectrum
    Mainline Entry 04 - Magicland Dizzy
    Formats: Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, PC, Amiga and ZX Spectrum
    Amidst a rush of mini-game inspired spin-offs Codemasters moved onto the fourth Dizzy game. This latest entry aimed to build on the success of the third game so carried a similar theme and followed a similar pattern of being highly thought of and having a NES port developed that didn't see the light of day until Codemasters made it available in 2015 in the form of Wonderland Dizzy. As technology in console gaming was starting to move forward though it was the point where the aging design of the series was beginning to be mentioned in reviews.

    Spin Off Entry 06 - Dizzy Down the Rapids
    Formats: Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, PC, Amiga and ZX Spectrum
    Mainline Entry 05 - Spellbound Dizzy
    Formats: Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, PC, Amiga, Amiga CD32 and ZX Spectrum
    The fifth game followed the next year along and the Oliver Twins had effectively outsourced the series to Big Red by this point. The latest game continued the fantasy theme and kept itself to the aging machines but offered Dizzy's longest adventure to date. The game received a visual refresh with new animations and continued the positive legacy the series reputation was known for but the impact of the title was lessening with each release.

    Mainline Entry 06 - Dizzy: Prince of Yolkfolk
    Formats: Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, PC, Amiga, Amiga CD32, NES, Mobile and ZX Spectrum
    The sixth entry into the main series was once again outsourced to Big Red and was this time only released as part of a wider collection of previous Dizzy games though in the following years it saw more rereleases. The game veered more towards being like the fourth entry and it even had a release on mobiles following a HD remake.

    Mainline Entry 07 - Fantastic Dizzy
    Formats: NES, PC, Master System, Mega Drive, Amiga, Game Gear and Amiga CD32
    The seventh mainline entry was supposed to mark a turning point for the series as Codemasters finally embraced the growing console generation. The game combined the functions of past titles whilst creating an image more in line with platformers that were popular at the time even though Dizzy remained vulnerable to all enemies. The game made the transition with some decent opinions of the final product however Codemasters had found themselves locked in a legal battle with Nintendo following the release of their Game Genie device and this led to its release slipping, likely creating the cause for the game falling short of its expected sales by quite a large margin.

    Spin Off Entry 07 - Go! Dizzy! Go!
    Formats: NES, Master System and Game Gear
    Mainline Entry 08 - Crystal Kingdom Dizzy
    Formats: Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Amiga, Amiga CD32 and ZX Spectrum
    Following Dizzy's failure to win over gamers on console he made one last farewell tour appearance on his old systems of choice with the eighth and final entry. Once again outsourced, the final game received a mixed response as Codemasters decided to keep the game in line with all previous entries but to charge a higher price than ever before, a scandalous £10! And with that ended a brief but fondly remembered legacy of games that was no yolk.

    Share your thoughts and memories of the series, was this a franchise you could crack?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Superman Falls View Post
    Share your thoughts and memories of the series, was this a franchise you could crack?

  3. #3
    I LOVE the Dizzy games. Somewhat related, the Oliver Twins who made the games have just had their company bought by Rebellion. Could be interesting to see what comes of that, if anything.

    Anyway, the peak of the series in my opinion is the Megadrive version of Fantastic Dizzy. It is visually gorgeous, plays brilliantly but, man, is it pretty punishing. There were no saves and the minecart bits required so much trial and error with instadeaths. I wouldn't have the patience for it now without save states but I really enjoyed it back in the day. Replayed it more recently and still loved it. It's just nice simple fun.

    I have played most or all of them and many of them very recently and, aside from just general jankiness of the original computer systems, they still play really well.

    A number of years back, there was an iOS release of one but it had absolutely hideous controls. A shame because it could have given Dizzy a new lease of life but the love just wasn't put into the release at all. I'd happily take new good Dizzy.

    ALSO... there was a new (or lost) NES Dizzy game released a while back. Did you cover that? You might have. Anyway, it was good.

  4. #4
    I think the NES one that was reported on was Mystery World Dizzy, the port of Fantasyland they released last year

  5. #5
    The Dizzy series of games are ones that defined my childhood, i was first introduced to them when my mums friends son had me over to play games and that was one of the C64 games he had, he had treasure island dizzy i loved been able to explore but also some parts were blocked as he didn't know the puzzles to get past. I found out that it was also released on the spectrum so i got it for myself and started my journey into finally playing these games, i loved the puzzles in them along with the tricky platforming bits in some. I have very fond memories over summer going through treasure island dizzy and totally beating it although those gold coins were a bitch to find. Have even fonder memories of first playing magicland dizzy on xmas day. Totally new to everyone so nobody could help out, it took me a while but i eventually figured out the puzzles in that one it felt like it lasted ages, that one took many weeks to finish. Eventually bought & played my way through them all, spellbound dizzy is pretty challenging as one it's absolutely vast, and two it has that tricky mechanic of losing life if you fall too far. Crystal kingdom was fun but i always felt it didn't belong in the main series as it feels weird, dizzy controls nothing like in the previous versions as you can control the jumps in mid air. In previous games you had to make sure you were commited to that jump as if you were off then you'd overshoot and potentially fall to your doom or into something life removing.

    Personally for me i preferred the spectrum versions of the dizzy games, i didn't mind the colour clash at all i loved the art style and the black backdrops. In some cases they were superior to some of the others as in magicland when dizzy picked up the walkman little notes would float out of him as he walked along, little touches like that which didn't make it into all versions between the systems. Even the Amiga versions are not as good compared to the humble speccy although i will admit that the theme song to treasure island on the amiga is godlike just a shame when you press start lol

    even now with all the games i have sitting here i love to fire up my spectrum emulator and play them, think dizzy works best when it stuck to it's 8bit home, when they started going 16 bit it lost it's charm which is why i no longer play the console ones just don't like the look of the graphics in them.

    I remember many maaaaany years after cmpleting spellbound there was a cheat code that was found, if only i had known about that back in the day, it would have made it so much easier as to complete spellbound. Not only do you have to contend with the life system but finding & rescuing all the yolkfolk along with finding every star, you also have to then find the 3 items each hidden in a secret room that you can only find by jumping into walls to make a kite to finally escape and complete the game, probably the hardest out of all the games.

    on the speccy version of spellbound on the title screen where he's walking around. If you type iwantanomlette the screen border will rainbow flash. If you then press C it will open the cheat menu.

    There are only 104 rooms you can visit without the cheat, however there is a hidden 105th room that you can find wich has a message in it.

  6. #6
    What an absolute bitch these games were to play back then. That whole "1 touch you dead" stuff was beyond irritating even though I did dig the overall vibe and concept on the Amiga but the whole "Dizzy does his jump across screens and you done, bye" thing was enough to make you want to pull the floppy out and snap it due to how much trial and error was required to progress.

  7. #7
    Anyone seen the Crystal Kingdom remake for the Speccy? It looks absolutely amazing and really makes the most of the Speccy’s bright, vibrant colour palette. Some home brewers really do push the Speccy way beyond what anyone thought was capable of the machine.

  8. #8
    For me my memories of the series mostly come from two entries that I had on Amstrad. Treasure Island Dizzy, though I don't think I ever managed to get too far into it and the much more played Fast Food. I probably put a decent amount of time into Fast Food.

    After that it was a series I was mostly aware of rather than followed. The difficulty always made it feel like too much effort to enjoy in the way I wished I could but it's still always held a nostalgic spot for me likely due to being such an early gaming experience.

  9. #9
    Dizzy was the first game I fell in love with. I'd had games before that on my 48k Spectrum but they were more just distractions in the far more important arena of He-Man and Star Wars action figures. Fantasy World Dizzy changed all that.

    A friend of mine had the game on his +3 and we'd all go round to his house after school to play it. We struggled to get past the dragon which was fairly early on in the game but something about it was captivating. I later bought it myself along with the Dizzy collection and played all the main games obsessively.

    After I got into Dizzy I moved in onto the rest of the Codemasters catalogue. Games Like Spike the Viking, Slightly Magic and the Seymour games. They were all a bit derivative but there was something about them that I loved. The puzzles were just about manageable for my primary school aged mind and the platforming was pretty challenging.

    Once I'd discovered the Dizzy games my love affair with gaming had truly begun and I've never looked back.

    One game I remember playing was a Seymour game that came free with Your Sinclair. It was a complete game, albeit a fairly short one but I can't remember the name of it. Anyone else know what I'm talking about?

  10. #10
    Played the vast majority of the Dizzy games back in the day - largely on C64, but I bought a rubber-keyed Spectrum 48K off a school friend for cheap and played a handful on that as well. Magicland Dizzy, Treasure Island Dizzy and the very first game were the ones I remember most fondly. Didn't like Fantasy World Dizzy that much until I played the Spectrum version instead (the section with the hawk flying overhead was extremely difficult on the C64 version because it moved too fast!).

    Spellbound Dizzy was impressive in terms of scale but I found it the most frustrating to play (messing around with rocks to reach lower levels, which have to be dropped on clouds so they don't break... oh and some really dodgy collision detection on the C64 version with the bouncy mushroom pad things). That plus you'd need a huge chunk of time to actually finish it. One small fact I found interesting back in the day though is that there are actually two versions of Spellbound Dizzy on the C64 - the full-sized version, and a completely different (and considerably smaller) version released with the 'Dizzy's Excellent Adventures' pack. I never played the latter version, but remember seeing a full map of the game printed in Commodore Format and wondering why the version I'd just picked up was not even remotely similar!


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