“ Developer: Oliver Twins / Genre: Adventures & Role-playing / Release Year: 1989 „
The Dizzy games were a roaring success on the Amiga and the character helped pave the way for the likes of Kirby on the Gameboy and countless cute creatures on computer consoles for years to come. Dizzy is a walking egg type thing, with a white shelled body and little red legs and arms. He waddles about the screen, collecting goodies and usually trying to rescue his beloved Princess Daisy. There are several Dizzy games available on the Amiga, including Bubble Dizzy. Fantasy World Dizzy remains one of the strongest entries in the series, thanks to the relatively easy playability and endearing graphics and characters.
Billed as a platform game, this means you move across the screen and sometimes in an up and down motion, as you complete challenges and avoid pitfalls. Dizzy is easy enough to control with a joystick and can jump over holes and avoid dangers with ease. This instantly makes the game accessible for younger children. As you progress through treehouses and forests you will encounter an interesting array of bad guys, like ogres and trolls. These are all intriguing characters who brighten up the game and provide Dizzy with obstacles to get over. There is no real violence or blood and gore and most of the time you will be dodging the bad guys by leaping over them. The lack of violence makes this appealing for the whole family.
Dizzy can collect goodies as he progresses, so obviously you have an incentive to explore the level throughly rather than just whizzing through. The graphics are not bad for the time, considering this was late eighties and there are some lovely landscapes and settings used. Dizzy remains quite two dimensional though.
The gameplay is easy, though as you progress, the levels get more taxing and it becomes easier to lose lives. Restarting from the very beginning thus becomes tedious. It would have been good to be able to pick up from where you left off.
The music is as camp and chirpy as they come and will grate after half an hour, but this is a minor quibble. A must have platformer for Amiga enthusiasts and a very memorable hero too.
The third game in the Dizzy series, the last to be designed by creators the Oliver Twins themselves, fixes the problems of its frustratingly difficult predecessors and fleshes (shells?) out the characters world and the abilities of the platform adventure game format. This was the first game to introduce Dizzys eggy brethren the Yolkfolk, the first to afford multiple lives (rather than the evil, instant game over of Treasure Island Dizzy), and the first to take place in a typical fantasy setting, complete with trademark Dizzy castles, dragons and ogres hence the name. Its also memorable for being the only game in the franchise to depict the in-game character in the safari hat hes always seen wearing on the boxes.
Although its immediate successors were a little more sleek and attractive, this pivotal title remains one of the most enjoyable and successful of the Dizzy games, and features some truly weird ideas of the like that would never really be seen again once design of the games was handed over fully to Codemasters. The game map is a little larger than Treasure Island Dizzy and further exploits travel up and down through castles and tree-house complexes in addition to the games usual wanderings to the left and right. The action begins in a castle dungeon where the player must negotiate with the severely ugly guard for their freedom not as difficult as it sounds, merely requiring handing over the juicy apple already lodging in your inventory. Working your way to the surface is probably the single most treacherous part of the game, with evil rats, spikes and water poised to splatter Dizzy into the amusing (and rather sick) fried egg that he becomes when losing a life, and although it makes the initial playing a little frustrating for newcomers to the games style, this treacherous crash course is adequate preparation for what lies outside.
The Yolkfolk are scattered throughout the land, and a word in their shell-likes will reveal in most cases that an item or errand is required in order to send them home. Dizzys own progress is achieved through the logical use of items that can be carried around in his inventory or dumped anywhere to save for later once its three compartments are full, and while theres a certain degree of obvious logic to most dilemmas tying the snapping gators mouth together with the tough rope and putting out fires with jugs of water, for example some solutions are much harder to understand due to the very specific programming of the Oliver Twins, and some areas essentially require a life or two to be lost trying out the possibilities. The most notable example comes with the weird armour-plated rhino dinosaur thing to the left of the castle drawbridge, which has to be lured into a cave by dropping a chop there and leaping to safety before it lunges forward to crush Dizzy. Early scenes feature handy hints as to how to proceed, but the majority of the game is based on trial and significant error, perhaps nowhere more evident than with the four lift control stations operated by the same key, which I still struggle to get my head around fifteen years later.
As with all the Dizzy games, the original simplistic, 8-bit version was released in tandem with a more advanced and full-colour 16-bit version for higher spec computers (were talking 1989, remember), and comparing the hi-tech version of this game to that of its slightly crude and plain-looking predecessor, theres certainly been a step forward. In fact, this is the only game where the Dizzy sprite itself has been significantly redesigned from the usual white, happy-looking oval with red gloves and boots, and the greater amount of detail in his attire and facial features (he even has a nose) require the sprite to be enlarged from is usual size, which is oddly disconcerting, having becoming accustomed the similar Dizzies of the other games, all of which use the same basic template forsaken here. The environment itself can also appear a little unpleasant at times, the orange rocks and bland backdrops tending to merge a little too much with the predominantly brown objects and monsters or in the case of the grey castle, grey objects and monsters to the extent that the game sometimes seems lacking in a colour palette, something thats certainly not the case in the hi-tech release. There are no sound effects as usual, but the whole playing experience is drenched in another immortal Dizzy score, not my personal favourite (that accolade unquestionably belongs to Treasure Island Dizzy), but certainly one of the most memorable, and the one unapologetically stolen by Allister Brimble for the enjoyable Dizzy rip-off Wibble World Giddy four years later. As always, the bubbly, chirpy music wont be to everyones taste and may become severely irritating if playing for long periods at a time, but surely you could just switch your speakers off? Do I have to do everything for you?
Fantasy World Dizzy is the earliest game in the series to finally achieve a good balance in order to remain playable rather than simply frustrating, although the energy bar wouldnt be implemented until the following years sequels, meaning that one touch from an enemy or sharp object causes Dizzy to splatter everywhere fortunately he has three lives this time around. Although theres a relative lack of characters to interact with compared to Magicland Dizzy and the rest that came after, this game is packed with some really fun ideas and basically achieves everything the Oliver Twins wanted from the franchise, which became a little more down-to-earth hereafter (or at least, didnt include anything like the crazy upside-down screens here when Dizzy travels through the Earths core to the other side). The game was released on floppy disk and cassette for Amiga, Amstrad, Atari, Spectrum, Commodore 64 and DOS, and in most cases was controlled by a simple one-button joystick or, in its absence, simple keyboard commands. Although there were no major differences between the higher quality formats, the Amiga version was clearly best what a machine!
The graphics are a little messy and soft, avoiding the brash, cartoonish outlines of its predecessor but lacking a little tangibility in the process, but its great to see the mythical creatures (both friend and foe) and introduction of Dizzys bland cheerleader girlfriend and the rest of his one-dimensional homeys. As the final, perfected masterwork of the Oliver Twins yolky vision before they moved on to other things (mostly poor quality simulators), this is technically the only Dizzy game anyone needs to play, though the ones that followed were all a little better.
A re-make of the lower-spec version can be downloaded from the Dizzy fansite at http://www.yolkfolk.com/site/games.php?game_id=71
The game was the first to include the Yolkfolk; Daisy, Denzil, Dozy, Dylan and Grand Dizzy.