Since I wasn’t a British kid in the 80s and never owned a ZX Spectrum until recently, iconic characters like Monty Mole, Miner Willy, or Dizzy don’t bring me any nostalgia as they do to many of you. I think this is a good thing because I can enjoy many of these games with fresh eyes and an open mind, and this is my experience with Wonderful Dizzy.
The first Dizzy game I played was Ghastly Getaway Dizzy, just a month ago, so when I had the chance to get a pre-release version of Wonderful Dizzy and play it for this review, I was thrilled because I thought my experience would be similar to the one the writers of Crash, Sinclair User, or Your Sinclair had back in 1987 when they saw Dizzy – The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure for the first time.
Wonderful Dizzy is designed by the Oliver Twins but it was brought to life by a team of stars: Evgeniy Barskiy coded the game, while the graphics were provided by Dmitri Ponomarjov, Alexander Filyanov, Oleg Origin, Marco Antonio Del Campo and Jarrod Bentley. Music & FX by Sergey Kosov. The Logo and Poster illustrations were by Piotr ‘PIT’ Gratkiewicz.
The adventure is based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, or I should say based on the world portrayed in the book, with its amazing characters and scenery. At the start, Dizzy and his pet, Pogie were caught in the middle of a cyclone. They rush to the safety of their house but shortly after the hero felt the hut spinning into the air. After the storm is over and the house is again laying on the ground, still, Dizzy and his friend found themselves at the Munchkin Village where they learn that the house fell over the Wicked Witch of the East and crushed her!
When her sister, the Wicked With of the West found out, she was so mad that, for revenge, she decides to take Pogie with her planing to make it her next meal. That is where the adventure starts! Dizzy has to find and rescue Pogie and hopefully go back to their own world.
As expected, Dizzy will meet the the characters of the world of Oz, like the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and so on, and they will have role to help Dizzy to find and save his pet!
Wonderful Dizzy is in its core, a platform adventure game where you have to walk around, talk to people (or other things!) to get clues and solve puzzles to progress through the game. You start with three lives and a full energy bar.
As Dizzy suffers damage, either by falling or getting hit or caught by foes, he will lose energy, and when that gets to zero, you will lose a life. Although the foes are not super hard to avoid most of the time, the game is not forgiving. If it is game over, you have to start from scratch. Playing it with the ability to save snapshots is imperative. Thankfully for us, people living in 2020, there are plenty of emulators and modern peripherals for the ZX Spectrum that provides us with that.
The puzzles are not hard to solve but also, not super easy. The Twins were able to bring a good balance of difficulty and fun, not frustrating and not too easy.
The controls are very precise, even if you are using the keyboard. Since I am not used to Dizzy movement dynamics, more than often I rolled beyond the platform falling to my death, but it seems that is what we can expect of an oval character physics!
When I started playing it, the first thing that caught my attention was the writing. Wonderful Dizzy makes good use of the dialogue system, with clever and funny texts that made me laugh out loud (for real) many times. Acknowledging the colour clash was the best!
The animation of the hero and all the other NPCs are sublime and uses the ZX Spectrum resources to their limit, delivering a cartoon-like experience that is a delight to my eyes.
It is clear by the number of artists involved in the project that the graphics had special attention. Every screen is superb with the number of details and the correct use of the colours. Small details, like seeing Dizzy walking behind fences, surprised me and gave the game scenes a depth the is very common today in modern platform games.
The music is excellent and perfect for the game setting. I wish there were different tunes to bring some variety, as one song played during long sessions can be repetitive. Maybe there was no space left for more…
Wonderful Dizzy brings a proven formula that works well to a new game featuring a character that has a special place in the hearts of its many fans. After playing this excellent game, I can say for sure that Dizzy is now one of my favourite videogame characters as well!
You can download Wonderful Dizzy for free following the link at the end of this article. If you can’t wait, you can watch the first 15 minutes of me playing the game for the first time:
Download: Wonderful Dizzy