Fantastic Dizzy logo

"Roll up, roll up. It's the 'egg'citing, 'egg'splosive, 'egg'stravaganza- the return of Dizzy and this time he's 'Fantastic'- allegedly. Tina 'corny jokes' Hackett takes a scrambled look at this egg-type platformer from Codemasters.

Fantastic Dizzy is a puzzler/platformer whose main character is an egg (as if you didn't already know)> OK, so there is nothing wrong with the concept of having a game based around eggs. I mean why not? There have been Alien Ant-looking things, Spots, Blobs, and all forms of cutesy critters from dogs to Hedgehogs. But Eggs?

However, five minutes into the game an awful realisation hit me - I'm actually enjoying this sickeningly cute stuff. The graphics are colourful and detailed, the sprites humorous (although not highly imaginative) and there are loads of different areas to explore.

This I can cope with but what storyline can possibly be behind one egg? Well, apparently Daisy (Dizzy's girlfriend, who is also an egg) has been kidnapped by the Wizard Zak who has also cast a magic spell on Dizzy's friends. Life's tough for an egg.

And what an original plot that one is, not unlike any other plot for a platformer whatsoever. Hmmm. Oh well, dodgy plot aside the game is actually quite good.

There are some great puzzle elements involved. Dizzy can carry up to three objects at one time and each one will help you in some way, for instance you need to collect the plank of wood to help you cross the spikes or pick up various keys for the elevators.

"What's so difficult about this?" I hear you cry. Well, because you can only carry up to three objects you need to work out which one you'll need to get you around an area.

This is where it becomes extremely frustrating and along with only having three lives, the fact that Dizzy is not the most agile of characters and cannot get past all the baddies will drive you up the wall.

And this is not to mention the sub-games such as the mine-carts where you have to travel along rail tracks avoiding the green monster creations and the buffers at the end of the tracks, which all combine to make it increasingly difficult to keep your Tourettes Syndrome-type outbursts to yourself.

The stunning backdrops should compensate in some way though and the many colours involved make the game very pleasing to the eye. But what on earth are those huge black borders down the side for? And the layout of the screens, with some of the scenery in the foreground, proves irritating after a while especially when you stumble across some baddy hidden behind a tree.

Another flaw which becomes intensely annoying is the long pause between screens, especially when jumping from one level to another as the screen flickers if you can't quite make the jump.

The music used also leaves a great deal to be desired and had me reaching for the volume switch in no time at all.

And the worst part of all this? Well, the gameplay is actually good fun, frustrating as anything, but fun. Get me a straight jacket and send me to a home for the mentally bewildered.

Fantastic Dizzy logo

Paul McCartney wrote a song about eggs once. It started with the immortal lines "Scrambled eggs/ oh my darling, how I love your legs," but then he ruined it by sticking in a string quartet and calling it Yesterday. Oh, and he made an album called Back to the Egg which was complete crap.

But Codemasters' latest eggy adventure is far more inspiring. It combines the best of all Dizzy's previous outings and sticks them into one big integrated package complete with sub-games, slinky scrolling and great-looking graphics.

Daisy has been kidnapped by evil Wizard Zak and all Dizyy's friends have been turned into fiends by a magic spell, so you have to zip around the levels, righting wrongs, collecting goodies and solving puzzles in the Tree Village, Graveyard and Diamond Mines among others. It is all tremendous fun, especially the Indiana Jones-style train section, but it can also be frustrating - you have only got three lives and Dizzy's leaping is not always as agile as you would have like.

Despite this, Fantastic Dizzy is by far the most accomplished version of the little egg's adventures and well worth further investigation.

Fantastic Dizzy logo

Erneut macht sich der beliebte Eierkopf von Codemasters auf den Weg, um seine Freunding Daisy aus den Fängen eines Bösewichts zu befreien; diesmal allerdings zum Vollpreis. Na, wenn das keine Überraschung ist...

Eine weiter Überraschung ist, daß diesmal halt 250 magische Sterne zu finden sind, bis der fiese Zauberer besiegt ist und die Angebetete an der Schale ihres Retters lehnt. Spielerisch schmeckt der Eiersalat dagegen ganz wie gewohnt.

Einmal mehr kann der Held dieser Actionadventure-Reihe maximal drei Gegenstände auf einmal tragen, die er dann an der richtigen Stelle anwenden muß.

Schlüssel ermöglichen ihm z.B. den Zugang zu bestimmten Locations oder die Benutzung von Fahrstühlen; ansonsten springt Dizzy wieder von Plattform zu Plattform und weicht den witzig gezeichneten Gegnern aus, um seine drei Bildschirmleben zu behalten. Aufgeklaubtes Obst frischt die Energievorräte auf, und die erfolgreiche Lösung der an manchen Stellen unter Zeitdruck zu absolvierenden Schiebepuzzles wird mit einem Extraleben belohnt.

Gegenüber den vorangehüpften Eiern hat sich die Grafik verbessert, außerdem kann sie nun mit Tag-Nacht-Wechseln und sogar Scrolling aufwarten. Dank der problemlosen Steuerung läßt sich die ebenso umfang- wie abwechslungsreiche Plattformwelt auch relative sorgenfrei durchwandern.

Untermalt wird die Suche nach der Liebsten von verschiedenen Musikstücken, deren Qualität von lasch bis hitparadenverdächtig reicht. Auf Sound-FX muß man diesmal aber völlig verzichten, zum Trost liegt der Packung das übliche Poster bei.

Somit werden zumindest die Dizzy-Fans wieder für ein Weilchen ruhiggestellt - sofern sie bereit sind, den aufgehobenen Preis für die aufgewärmte Eierspeise zu löhnen. (st)

Fantastic Dizzy logo

Who would have thought it, eh? The little blobby white character who came into existence because he was easy to draw and did not present too much of a problem to the old Spectrum's extremely limited colour palette is now one of the country's biggest video game stars.

As well as racking up huge sales on all the 8-bit and 16-bit home computer formats, Dizzy has been spotted on the NES and recently made his debut on the Mega Drive. In fact, he made his debut in this very game, which is the first-ever Dizzy game to be converted back to a floppy disk format, as well as the first one to feature proper scrolling instead of just flicking from screen to screen. Pretty interesting stuff so far, huh?

Yeah, alright. I will just get on with it, shall I? Fantastic Dizzy is the biggest Dizzy game yet, and consequently comes with the biggest price tag. This is immediately worrying - the last time the Codies tried to push the little egg dude into the grown-up games world, the result was the dire Crystal Kingdom outing, which was three times the price of its predecessors but not even a third as good. This time, though, they have tried a bit harder.

There is proper scrolling, parallax backdrops in 32 colours (apparently), a neat daytime-nighttime-daytime effect huge black borders down either side of the screen, jaunty music, cute - hang on a minute. Rewind! 'Huge black borders down either side of the screen'? What is going on here, then?

Well, seemingly, the only way to reproduce the pretty backdrops and colours of the Mega Drive version was to make the action take place on a squidged-up screen that is like watching a Cinemascope movie on a 14" portable TV.

I do not know the technical difficulties which may have been involved, but frankly I would rather have had less colours in the backdrop and a main screen which did not fill me with claustrophobic terror every time I tried to play the game.

This will entertain you for a long time

Anyway, otherwise it is pretty much Dizzy business as usual, except with a few little arcade subgames thrown in to make things more interesting. There is tile-sliding, mine-cart riding, Operation Wolf-style shooting galleries and more.

Fantastic Dizzy is a game which will entertain you for a long time. It is better progarmmed than Crystal Kingdom, less annoyingly laid-out, and the puzzles are just a (tiny) bit more logical than before.

For me, the Dizzy games have always created a more successfully 'believable' fantasy world atmosphere than most videogames, and that is something I will forgive a lot of sins for. Even those huge and ridiculous borders down either side of the screen.

Fantastic Dizzy AGA logo AGA

Dizzy heights

When Fantastic Dizzy (Codemasters, 0926 81432, £14.99, AF55 87%) was first released it broke new ground for Dizzy games. For starters, it had proper scrolling, 32-colour backdrops, a neat day/night effect and a jaunty soundtrack.
More ominously, it was also the first full-price Dizzy game - it cost £25.99.

Thankfully, this re-release is an AGA upgrade and it costs a much more sensible £14.99. Which can only be a good thing especially because Fantastic Dizzy is the best of the Dizzy family.

The puzzles are more logical than those of old and interest is added with the inclusion of sub-games such as tile-sliding, minecart-riding and Operation Wolf-style shooting galleries.

The AGA updates aren't immediately obvious, but the appeal of Dizzy doesn't really lie in fabby graphics anyway. It's more the believability of the Dizzy world.

So, if you're after a gentle puzzley platformer that appeals to kids and adults alike, look in the general direction of Fantastic Dizzy AGA. It won't disappoint.