This week marks the 30th birthday of one of the icons of the 8-bit era: adventurer, boxing glove wearer and all-round good egg, Dizzy. So, to mark the occasion (and breathe life back into the retro-gaming blog here), here’s a quick rundown of Dizzy’s greatest adventures, ordered from least good to most eggsellent. (This is a completely subjective ranking based on nothing more substantial than my own memories of when I last played them; basically I love them all and most of them could go in pretty much any order.)
8. Dizzy Prince of the Yolkfolk
Maybe Dizzy fatigue had set in by the time Dizzy VI was released, or maybe I was just too darned clever for the puzzles having played through five games already, or maybe it was being demoted to Prince having been crowned King in Magicland, but somehow this was just disappointing. It does win points for having an iOS & Android release for its 20th anniversary; but then it loses them for being even easier without permadeath. Ho hum.
7. Treasure Island Dizzy
I will admit there may be some bias here, but I just couldn’t ever finish this game. It was hampered by a flawed inventory system which frequently had me taking my scuba gear off while attempting to collect some treasure from the sea bed. Probably deserves another chance, but the impression it has left to date is one of frustration.
6. Crystal Kingdom Dizzy
The last of the original Dizzy adventures, and by no means bad; overpriced, possibly, and although I’m sure I had it on the Spectrum back in the day, I can only find my Amiga copy now. This may or may not have affected its ranking.
5. Dizzy – The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure
The original, and obviously good enough to spawn not only a sequel but a whole multi-platform franchise; could easily have come higher on the table had the Oliver Twins not tweaked the formula and made some sequels that were even better. I did complete this one back in the day; I recently discovered the slightly more colourful Amstrad original version, but have so far failed to complete that.
4. Fantastic Dizzy
The only game in the original Dizzy series not to get a Spectrum release, Fantastic Dizzy is kind of a Dizzy clip show, taking elements from the various earlier adventures, and some of Dizzy’s (less popular) arcade style outings, and building them into a single sprawling epic. It makes for a cracking Amiga game.
3. Fantasy World Dizzy
After Dizzy and Treasure Island Dizzy, this was where the Dizzy formula was perfected. A functioning inventory system, multiple lives, the introduction of the Yolkfolk… everything’s here, and when you throw in a well that leads to the other side of the world, well, it makes me wonder why I only posted this one at 3. (The NES remake of Dizzy III, Mystery World Dizzy, was just released – I’ve been playing it for Indie Retro News.)
2. Magicland Dizzy
Well, one reason is just pure selfish nostalgia. I was late getting into Dizzy; I didn’t meet him until Dizzy Three and a Half was given away with Crash, as a teaser for Dizzy 4 – Magicland Dizzy. Clearly, Dizzy 3.5 did its job, and I was hooked – as soon as I finished it, I went straight out, bought The Dizzy Collection (a compilation featuring the first four adventures and the maze game Fast Food), and loaded up Magicland to see what happened next. Consequently, it was also the first of the Dizzys that I finished – and the Spectrum 128 version has a great little in-game tune to whistle along to.
1. Spellbound Dizzy
Sorry, Oliver Twins, but my favourite is one of the outsourced games. For Dizzy V, Big Red Software took all that was great about the previous Dizzy adventures and turned it up to 11. Another great AY soundtrack, massive map, new character animations (now Dizzy eats, swims, and gets concussion), a ride in a runaway mine cart… for me, this game is just sheer Dizzy heaven.
Now it’s your turn – how wrong am I? What’s your favourite? And who thought Bubble Dizzy was better than all of the above?