Platformers is what the NES was built for (apart from Duck Hunt!) in my humble opinion. So what about a platformer where you can’t kill any of the baddies and have to rely solely on items to get around? This is where The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy comes in and it’s a blinder.
Dizzy has done well on a variety of platforms – our beloved egg has bounced and rolled his way around more locations than I can count. All in the aid of love. Ah Daisy, someone should tell her to get one of those council approved triple lock doors because that evil wizard Zaks always seems to get in! And so he’s whisked her off to his tower to do, we’re not entirely sure what, but it’s unlikely to be pleasant.
As with all Dizzy games I can remember, you start off in the treetops and can visit the various houses of the “Yolkfolk”, including my namesake. The graphical style really suits the NES and is incredibly colourful given the limited palette. Backgrounds and sprites are well defined and animated. The whole thing is a joy to look at (hopefully I’ve come up with a better compliment by the end of the review) and also to listen to. The sound FX is typically NES, a bit thuddy, but the jolly music score more than makes up for it. Everything fits.
So how does it play? The physics and controls are good. Dizzy’s twirling jump has never been so much fun to pull off. The controls feel responsive and the puzzle dynamic is aided by a fluid menu system, which can be difficult to do on the NES. The item-focused gameplay is a welcome distraction from all the shooters although I do admit to getting a tad frustrated at not being able to obliterate those dangling spiders. Key opens door, bucket extinguishes fire, it’s hardly MENSA qualifying stuff but the more we have to use our brains here at AA the better!
The game is huge and once you get out of the treetops the game really begins to shine. You’ll see Dizzy hitting the mean streets, using sewers to traverse the town. Forests, mines (more on that later), pirate ships – all will feel his (sort of) wrath. Stars are required to unlock the door to Zaks’ tower and the variety in the game means you don’t get annoyed when you realise you might have left some in a previous area. In addition to the standard puzzles you also have the excellent switching tile game to gain extra lives, bouncing on bubbles after being made to walk the plank, shooting trolls in a castle and also the palpitation inducing mine cart rides (which I did more than a few times!).
Whilst the Dizzy games may not be to everyone’s tastes this is a more than worthy addition to its lexicon. The difficulty curve is a bit steep at first but then definitely sorts itself out. On my most recent clocking of the game I count two hours which is ridiculously long for a NES game. The puzzles plus the all round fun of the game will keep you coming back which makes up for the lack of options, this is a Dizzy game after all. And you may end up a bit dizzy after all the twirling and rolling. Time for a lie down methinks…