I remember getting a hold of this game in the video game underworld called the playground. I can't remember what we traded in exchange for this odd title, but we couldn't find it anywhere else. My future brother-in-law and me together tried to tackle this game, pleasantly so. I don't think we ever beat it, or solved all the puzzles, but we had a good time. Then there's the sequel too.
Here's some background on the game dirt lickers: Dizzy was published by Codemasters in Europe. When I say Dizzy, I mean a whole franchise. I've barely scratched the surface with my little claws in this review in terms of scope. The title character Dizzy is an intelligent egg like creature created by the Oliver Twins (who later formed Interactive Studios). Later games were developed by Big Red Software. The original games were created for the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum, with ports to Commodore 64, Atari ST, Amiga, NES, Mega Drive, Game Gear, and DOS. You can see what I meant by franchise, there are nine core games in all. I'm reviewing Dizzy the Adventurer but that's a renaming of Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk. This game came out in approximately 1992.
So there we were, my brother-in-law and myself sitting on the carpet of his living room in awe of the adventure/puzzle game before us. We had been told it was an unlicensed cartridge, and it did do something strange to the TV when you played, creating a warping line or some such. I was of course, orgasmic at this quality, as I am about strange things (like finding a piece of glass in my homemade cabbage and bratwurst. Mother said to look out for them after I spit it out. That was awesome!)
First the backstory, which isn't fully illuminated in the nintendo cartridge, probably for memory reasons, goes something like this.
Not in Nintendo cartridge: Grand Dizzy was feeling down one day, so Dizzy and Daisy decided to bake his favorite food, cherry pie! Daisy went to get some cherries from the cupboard but there were none! Old Mother Hubba... oh wait, took a wrong turn. Daisy immediately cries, "Pogie's pinched the cherries!" Oh if you only knew. She knew this as Pogie's pawprint was in the cupboard.
"That darned fluffle. Come here you!" Daisy snarked, but Pogie quickly dashed into the nearby enchanted forest.
Start Nintendo Cartridge backstory (or something close to it): Dizzy and Daisy decided to enter the forest to catch Pogie and in the meantime gather cherries. They got lost and found a deserted castle. Looking for Pogie they went in to the castle where Daisy accidentally pricks herself on a mystic spinning wheel (question: was it turning on it's own before or after the prick?) This made her really woozy so she found a bed and went to sleep. Dizzy could not wake her up, but it did not matter as Rockwart the troll locked him in an underground prison. Now Dizzy must escape, collect cherries, stars, defeat Rockwart (with the stars I guess), and reawaken Daisy with a kiss.
This all sounds oddly familiar *cough* Perrault *cough*.
So what about the game, you ask, the gameplay!? Well, you control Dizzy from a side view, jump, left, right, that whole deal. You push the B button to acquire items and to place them back down. You have three item slots and the only way you can die is if you fall in the water, which brings me to my first caveat.
Just about splitting the game in half, almost, is a boat ferry. The boat is positioned quite a bit below the jumping off point of Dizzy. The boat is constantly moving back and forth. The problem is when Dizzy jumps, if he's moving sideways and he falls a distance he'll roll. I could never get him not to roll, so I timed my jumps very carefully so as not to roll off the boat, a feat easily done. Rolling off the boat that is. I guess it is tough to be hard boiled.
All in all, it's the control of Dizzy, or a bit of lack of control of Dizzy that weakens this title. Once Dizzy starts rolling, he just keeps on rolling. There are times when navigation isn't obvious, such as when you have to jump off the scren to a cloud in order to get to a higher ledge. That one was paqrticularly not obvious, and a source of great consternation. The dialogue is fresh and cute. At one point you help St. Peter, and in exchange he gives you 'special cheese'. OvO I don't want to know. The puzzles are not impossible to think of (although the bridge building puzzle may be tough one) particularly if you wander around a lot talking to people.
Two complaints: the entrance to Daisy's room in the castle is really hard to find. I didn't even know that was a passageway! I had to consult a walkthrough to figure out where her room was, I hadn't even thought of that. I suppose it might've been a bit obvious given the platform, but to me... my little blind rat eyes couldn't make it out. Second complaint has to do with the stars. You HAVE to collect all fifty stars in order to reawaken Daisy. I learned this the hard way. I had one star left, and it wasn't until I consulted a map online did I know where it was. It's hidden well, but not enjoyably well.
Despite these shortcomings the game packs charm. It's cute, it's stylish, it's unique, all the qualities my brother-in-law and I were hoping for, and more. Three inventory spaces was a bit tight, and running across the map to retrieve one set down item was a little frustrating. However, in the end, on the shit list, this one's a gem. Good whole-world engrossing gameplay, and cute puzzles galore.
Thanks for reading!
RetroRodentia, otherwise known as Larry the Lab Rat, literally lives as an anthropomorphic rat in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. He upkeeps his primary blog at http://www.larrythelabrat.com/ where he writes about his daily tribulations as a human turned rat. He acts as the administrator for http://www.furtag.com/ He also has http://www.letsplayclassics.com/, but unfortunately his screen capture technology died. Last, but not least of all, is his epic, Poochie Cures Cancer, found at http://www.poochiecurescancer.com/ which is updated every Thursday.