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1990 was the busiest year for Dizzy and the Yolkfolk, as Codemasters released two of the finest games in the puzzle adventure series while the Oliver Twins, Dizzys original creators who handed its responsibilities over to Codemasters own programmers, instead opted to concentrate on a small-scale Dizzy spin-off in the same league as the earlier Fast Food. Except much different, as Fast Food was a load of rubbish.
While still based on a top-down maze format, Kwik Snax moves on from simple PacMan clone to something more original, inventive and satisfyingly taxing, a memorable puzzle game in the tradition of many great computer puzzle games of the time (including a particularly popular concept that was used by numerous different titles, including Dozer and Shove It: The Warehouse Game) based on the movement of blocks. This time theres a proper concept and motive for Dizzy to be taking part in the action, illustrated in the 16-bit version of the game with a very nice introduction sequence, as the evil wizard Zaks has once again magicked Dizzys friends and family into a strange realm, which Dizzy has to go and sort out because hes the worlds most heroic egg or whatever.
Like that years proper Dizzy game Magicland Dizzy, each of the Yolkfolks governing personality traits has determined their fate; thus the cool Denzil is trapped in an ice world (Dizzy games would continue to use this weak joke in every game released through the series remaining lifespan), hippie Dylan is tripping out with some evil flowers, and senile old Grand Dizzy is in a literal cloud-cuckoo land. As usual, Dizzys apparent girlfriend Daisy has been awarded the most difficult and hellish area in Zaks own palace, either because Zaks knows Dizzy must come to save her or perhaps simply because she has no personality to exploit, being a cheerleader. The player can choose between each of these four levels that increase gradually in difficulty.
Kwik Snax is an enjoyable game, and was a nice extra feature of Codemasters first Dizzy Collection released shortly after, snugly fitting onto a floppy disk alongside the inferior Fast Food and the great Magicland Dizzy. The presence of authentic characters and a genuine puzzle format makes this much more of a true Dizzy game than its rubbish predecessor ever was, and the enhanced graphics of the 16-bit version look really good, the aerial view of Dizzys disgruntled features being an amusing sight as he pushes the blocks along. Each stage is very compact and self-contained, but it can be incredibly hard trying to navigate: like PacMan, there are gaps in the maze at the edges of the screen that form a continuous loop, as Dizzy will appear from the bottom of the screen if he exits at the top, and so on. This is also true for the blocks that Dizzy can push, in stacks of one or more depending on how many blocks lie adjacent to each other, and the several scattered enemies that move randomly through available sections of the maze.
Using cunning, the player is expected to manipulate the moveable blocks of scenery to their advantage in freeing up new avenues of exploration and trapping enemies in a corner, their ultimate goal being to reach their eggy comrade in the centre of the screen. I make it sound quite complicated, but its actually a lot harder, even though the player is granted a number of health points signified by hearts in each level. Although Kwik Snax is, by design, quite a short-lived game, its still very commendable for a budget release. The graphics are nice and simple, the music changes with each level and is never too annoying, the title screen in particular featuring a memorable farty bass melody. Similarly, the controls are very easy to understand, being based purely on movements up, down, left and right. Its quite unlike any other puzzle game Ive played, so it would be interesting to see an updated or rip-off version released on a free gaming website somewhere, though knowing me Ill stick to the dusty old Amiga 1200 and its dodgy blue disks. By the way, I have no idea what the games name means, other than a badly spelled variation on Fast Food.
Developed by Codemasters for the Amstrad, Spectrum, Commodore 64, DOS, and Amiga.