Together Retro Game Club: Fantastic Dizzy / The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy

Fantastic Dizzy is one of several games in the Dizzy series and the only one released outside Europe. Despite the similar sounding title it is not to be confused with Fantasy World Dizzy, the third game in the series with similar gameplay (Fantasy World Dizzy has been ironically referred to as the “best game of all time” by Yathzee, from Zero Punctuation fame).

What made it special

The gameplay of most games in the Dizzy series is an uncommon combination of platforming and location and item-based puzzles. Dizzy has a limited capacity for holding items. In this game, he can hold 3 at a time in this game, and sadly the inventory system is a bit clunky as it works by cycling around the items: the item you pickup comes in from the left, and you can only drop/use the rightmost item (meaning you may need to drop and pick items back up to order them as desired).

As expected for a platform game, Dizzy can not only walk around but also jump, which he does by somersaulting. One particularity is that when landing, Dizzy continues to roll until his feet touch the ground. Depending on where you start the jump, this may lead you to continue farther than expected so some precision jumping may be required to successfully navigate some areas.

Dizzy is an egg with arms but unarmed, an despite the boxing gloves he is mostly harmless. There is little you can do about enemies other than avoid them. In contrast with some of the previous games in the series, there is horizontal scrolling and the protagonist faces more enemies. Fortunately, in Fantastic Dizzy lives are not lost in a single hit – Dizzy has a damage bar and can regain health by getting food which is scattered in the game world (such as fruit hanging from trees). The game also has quite some collecting – unlike the relatively small number of coins (30) that could be collected in earlier games, here there are 250 stars in the Amiga and Mega Drive versions (the number of the stars is different in some of the ports).
There are some NPCs to interact with in a fairly limited fashion, including the Yolkfolk – these are Dizzy’s friends and family, all from whatever species of boxing gloves wearing, sentient eggs with feet, all with names starting with D.

An interesting aspect of the game is that some of the puzzles are similar or even the same as puzzles used in previous games in the series, and that it also includes Minigames, gameplay of two of these were featured as spin-off games in the series: Bubble Dizzy and Dizzy Down the Rapids.

Story

Daisy, Dizzy’s girlfriend has been kidnapped and the other Yolkfolk have been harmed by the evil wizard Zaks (which has been troubling Dizzy since the original game in the series). Dizzy must go to the rescue (as usual)!

Legacy

The series was published by Codemasters, and was considerably popular in Europe in the home computing scene of the 1980s and early 1990s (Spectrum, C64, Amstrad CPC, Amiga etc). As listed in wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dizzy_series), the main series consists in:

  • Dizzy – The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure – 1987
  • Treasure Island Dizzy (Dizzy II) – 1988
  • Fantasy World Dizzy (Dizzy III) – 1989
  • Dizzy 3 and a half: Into Magicland (Dizzy 3.5) – 1991
  • Magicland Dizzy (Dizzy IV) – 1990
  • Spellbound Dizzy (Dizzy V) – 1991
  • Dizzy Prince of the Yolkfolk – 1991/2011
  • Fantastic Dizzy – 1991
  • Crystal Kingdom Dizzy – 1992

and are several spin-off games, either arcade-style games or puzzle games.
1987

Fast Food
1990

Kwik Snax
Dizzy Panic!
Bubble Dizzy
1991

Dizzy Down the Rapids
1992

Go! Dizzy Go!

In addition to this, there is a huge number of fan created games. Philip and Andrew Oliver (often referred to as the Oliver twins) are the original creators and retain the copyrights together with Codemasters (the publisher). These fan-created games have been allowed as long as they are freely distributed. Furthermore, there is a dedicated free toolset for making Dizzy games named DizzyAGE which contributed to the proliferation of fan-created works. The toolset and some of the games created with it are available in the site:
http://www.yolkfolk.com/dizzyage/

In the last couple of months of 2012, the Oliver twins pitched a sequel and tried to get it crowd-funded on Kickstarter, but it failed to meet their ambitious goal:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/theolivertwins/dizzy-returns

Ports

Unlike previous games, Fantastic Dizzy was not developed for the Spectrum or Amstrad. In addition, it was released outside Europe. Ports include the Amiga, the Sega systems (Game Gear, Master System, Mega Drive / Genesis), the NES and DOS. As expected, the best graphics will be found in the 16-bit versions, either on the Amiga or Mega Drive, so you may prefer to go with one of those two and be treated with colorful cartoony scenery and characters. One should note that the Mega Drive and DOS versions do not include the rapids mini-game.

One Comment

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