Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Dizzy, the most heroic and famous of the Yolkfolk, lives a care-free existence with his friends and family. Or at least he did, until twisted wizard Zaks kidnapped his girlfriend, Daisy, and put various people under his mystic power. Being a fine, upstanding member of the community, not to mention a touch lonely without his missus, Dizzy intends to put matters right.
The eggy hero’s first found in his log cabin. Controls send him left, right and somersaulting through the air — but he can’t go far because he’s locked himself in! The key’s easily found and picked up with button , which also calls up an inventory screen. Another press returns you to the action, while drops/uses the highlighted object.
Once out the door, you discover Dizzy’s home nestles among the branches of a tree-house village. Other cabins are scattered among surrounding screens but you need the relevant keys to meet the Yolkfolk inside other keys operate lifts to give access to every knot and fork.
Although Fantastic Dizzy presents a cute cartoon land to explore, it’s full of danger. Even the treehouse can drain Dizzy’s energy, mostly ‘thanks’ to many spiders hanging from branches. These climb up and down threads so can be dodged, but other hazards are onyl neutralised through use of the correct object.
In addition to the many and varied objects spread throughout the cart — weed killer, a keg of rum, money bags, a spanner, straw and so on — there are 250 stars suspended above the ground. All 250 must be collected before Dizzy can enter Zaks’ cloud castle near the end of the adventure, so the number remaining give some indication of how far you’ve progressed.
Fantastic Dizzy contains three arcade sub-games: a bubble-hopping escape from the sea bed, a hectic mine cart ride and trip down the river in a barrel. When a piece of parchment’s found, a sliding puzzle’s completed within a time limit for an extra fife.
Will Dizzy poach delectable Daisy back from nasty Zaks? Or will he roll out of the frying pan and onto the dinner plate?
This type of game is commonplace on crusty 8-bit computers like the Spectrum but a major rarity on the Game Gear, so Fantastic Dizzy’s in a league of its own from the start. Carrying things here and there, deducing which object solves which problem, didn’t appeal to me in my impatient youth, but this long-awaited cart helps prove that’s changed.
I’ll get the worst part said and done: although the scale of the graphics works fine on other machines, on GG most characters and all objects are too small. I couldn’t tell what many things were till I collected them and looked at the inventory screen. The handheld’s display can cause headaches whatever the cart, but Fantastic Dizzy’s visuals make matters worse.
There’s nothing wrong with graphic definition — for the cute atmosphere Codemasters intended to create, they’re perfect. Although the main theme can grate, a whole range of other tunes pop up to give the soundtrack tremendous variety, putting the Mega Drive version to shame.
Game Gear Fantastic Dizzy’s controls are better, too, despite the fact there are only two buttons. Both are dual purpose but there’s no confusion, and selecting objects for use is simplicity itself.
The sub-games are a lot of fun and provide a welcome break from brain-strain and exploration. The most amusing one begins when Bluebeard the Pirate forces Dizzy to walk the plank. Giant air bubbles float up from the sea bed and you use them as express elevators to the surface. The others are based on arcade games: the mine cart scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom and the giant inner tube from Toobin’ has been replaced with a barrel.
Fantastic Dizzy’s lastability is odd. There’s a hell of a lot to do so it’ll take an age to complete, but when you have and know how to solve all the puzzles, there’s no incentive to play except the sub-games.
Arcade freaks and stingy bores who insist on ultra-high lastability should proceed with caution, but there’s no reason why the rest of us shouldn’t go to work on an egg!
lt’s taken a while but at last Dizzy struts into Sega magazines and onto the Game Gear. I’m a newcomer to our hard-shelled hero’s games but many bods here played the NES and home computer affairs, so were familiar with the set-up and some of the puzzles.
As a novice, I found Fantastic Dizzy hard going at first. You have to use your noddle — my grey matter was in overdrive from the start! The solutions to the first few puzzles come to light quickly, if you have a good wander around; others aren’t so apparent.
Fantastic Dizzy isn’t an action-packed affair so don’t expect baddy-blasting and manic gameplay. Trundling around, collecting objects and fathoming out where to use them is great fun for a while. There’s a real sense of occasion when you get that little bit further, thanks to an object you’d previously overlooked.
The graphics are absolutely superb. They’re very similar to those of the Mega Drive: colourful, nicely shaded backdrops and cute, well-drawn sprites. All sound FX are good but the tunes can get irritating, although they change when you reach a new section.
I’m more of a platform collect-’em-up fan than a puzzle freak. I thought Fantastic Dizzy a touch boring after a few plays. There’s no password system so when you run out of lives you go through the same rigmarole, solving the same puzzles from scratch. Just a minor moan.
If your brain cells are getting rusty and you can’t get enough of puzzle games, Fantastic Dizzy is the cart to buy. A superb Game Gear cart.
A big game with puzzles a-plenty and arcade sections to test the reflexes