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The Egg-straordinary Adventures Of Dizzy

Ever since 1987, the adventures of this charming ovoid have been charming gamers young and old. Created by cartoon nuts Andrew and Philip Oliver, Dizzy began as simply an over-sized head before the pair realised they’d never have room for a body as well. Two arms and legs later, and Dizzy the egg was born, complete with his famous non-stop bounce, and a land of adventure inspired by influences as diverse as Danger Mouse, Thundercats, and The Hobbit.

The enduring appeal of the Oliver Twins’ classic hero has meant interest in new adventures still continues today. Alas, Dizzy Returns, the proposed triumphant return of Dizzy in 2012 never saw the light of day as its development was abandoned.

There was good news in 2015, however, when a trip to Philip Oliver’s loft revealed a long-lost disc containing Wonderland Dizzy, a proposed episode for the NES. With the help of Yolkfolk fans, the game was constructed into playable form and released by the Oliver Twins shortly afterwards. Since then, in collaboration with Fusion Retro Books, another previously-unreleased game has been lovingly created in NES cartridge form. Described as a ‘typically colourful Dizzy adventure with great music’, Mystery World Dizzy brings Dizzy bang up to date, containing all the whimsical gameplay and vibrant graphics that have made the series so popular over the years. Fusion’s accompanying book, Let’s Go Dizzy: The Story Of The Oliver Twins, is also an essential guide for any fan of oval-shaped legend.

Dizzy - A Beginner's Guide

Thanks to the incredible success of Dizzy (subtitled The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure), there have been countless further escapades and spin-offs. Here’s Antstream Arcades’s low-down on the best and weirdest Dizzy games out there!

Dizzy (1987) – Codemasters

While not the best of Dizzy’s adventures, this first outing certainly paved the way for our beloved egg’s success. The hero’s unfortunate (if realistic) ability to hold just one object meant a lot of plodding around the game’s many screens. Yet bright, colourful screens, undemanding puzzles and an all-round impressive polish made this a big hit, and all for just a penny shy of two pounds.

Dizzy II: Treasure Island Dizzy (1988) - Codemasters

Really honing their craft now, the Oliver Twins created this sequel (dubbed Dizzy II at the time) a year later. Boasting superior graphics and another jolly ditty (courtesy of David Whittaker on the Spectrum and Matt Gray on the Commodore 64), the titular star can now hold up to three objects (YES!) and could also collect a bunch of hidden coins in addition the usual puzzle-solving. Another smooth and playable adventure, if a little tricky thanks to the somewhat stingy solitary life.

Dizzy III: Fantasy World Dizzy (1989) – Codemasters

Widely acknowledged as the best of Dizzy’s 8-bit adventures, Fantasy World Dizzy adds a whole family of eggs together with a wealth of extra text, giving the game a depth rarely seen before or since in the series. An improved inventory menu system, varied settings and a lack of that onerous backtracking around the screens also helped in your task of rescuing Dizzy’s poor girlfriend, Daisy.

Dizzy 4: Magicland Dizzy (1990) - Codemasters

This was the first Dizzy game not to be coded by the Oliver Twins themselves, as they farmed development out to a company named Big Red Software. Nevertheless, it’s another excellent entry in the series, based around numerous fairy tales and legends. Dizzy must rescue six of the Yolkfolk from the dastardly evil wizard Zaks, including a frozen Denzil and an oversized Daisy, stuck inside a grimy oubliette. Another challenging, but fun tale.

Dizzy V: Spellbound Dizzy (1991) - Codemasters

Once more coded by Big Red Software under the watchful eye of the Olivers, Spellbound Dizzy proudly proclaimed of 105 fun-filled rooms on its typically-effervescent Codemasters cassette inlay. Spread throughout these were the Yolkfolk, stricken into the underworld by a careless spell from a friendly wizard named Theo. While undoubtedly impressive, the biggest Dizzy game so far was also too big for its own good and the gameplay made an unwelcome return to the relentless tracking backwards and forwards throughout the many screens.

Dizzy, Prince of the Yolkfolk (1991) - Codemasters

The Christmas of 1991 saw Codemasters pull an unusual trick as this latest Dizzy game saw its debut on the Dizzy’s Excellent Adventures compilation, along with Spellbound Dizzy and three spin-off games. Not shy of exhausting commercial possibilities, Codies then released the game separately and, somewhat ironically after Spellbound Dizzy, fans felt a little short-changed by its mere 30 rooms. Nevertheless, the same old Dizzy gameplay and charm was present in abundance. The plot? Oh, Daisy’s in trouble again, this time sent into a deep sleep by a mystic spinning wheel.

The Fantastic Adventures Of Dizzy (1991) – Camerica Ltd/Codemasters

Our ovular hero was thrust into the 16-bit world comprehensively with this superb update for the Amiga, Atari ST and Sega Mega Drive. Adorable and sweet graphics, fine tunes and effects and nicely-balanced gameplay mean it’s a joy to play, despite some tricky screens. As usual, naughty Zaks is causing trouble, and kidnapped Dizzy’s girlfriend Daisy, again!

Crystal Kingdom Dizzy (1992) – Codemasters

The retail price of Dizzy games had been surreptitiously rising since the original sold for just £1.99. At £9.99, Crystal Kingdom put the series firmly into the full-price bracket, and as such alienated some fans. Which is a shame, because it’s another well-polished and sweet tale as Dizzy attempts to retrieve the stolen treasure of the eponymous kingdom, which makes a pleasant change from rescuing Daisy. A large cardboard box, poster and stickers completed the package and helped salve that heavy price tag.

Dizzy The Adventurer (1992) – Camerica Ltd/Codemasters

Dizzy continued its expansion into the world of console gaming with this satisfying and cute conversion of Prince Of The Yolkfolk. Once more, our hero must rescue his errant girlfriend, sent into a deep sleep by the wicked wizard Zaks. However, first he has to escape from the dank prison that Boris the Troll has thrown him into. Yikes! This version was one of a handful of games adapted for Codemasters’ ill-fated NES add-on, the Aladdin Deck Enhancer.

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