Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Treasure Island Dizzy (C64, 1989)

Remember the Dizzy franchise? For some reason these games were extremely popular back in the day. If you were checking the budget charts for C64 titles in the early 90's, chances are there'd be 4-5 Dizzy games in there. I've no idea why. These kind of old-fashioned arcade-adventures harked back to the mid-80's. And that's where they should've stayed.

Anyway, this time it seems that our ovoid friend is stranded in some island, where some pirate also happened to bury his treasure. Dizzy wants out of there, so it's up to you to help him. And like i said, the way the game works is very old-fashioned. You basically run around collecting objects, which you then must use puzzle-style, simply by dropping them on the ground wherever necessary. The puzzles range from the obvious, i.e. collecting dynamite and a detonator and dropping them behind some rocks which obstruct the way, to the not so obvious, like dropping a crystal sword to the pirate's grave - thus revealing a hidden passageway.

Treasure Island Dizzy encapsulates everything that was bad about the Dizzy series. Firstly we have the navigation of Dizzy himself - which is a pain in the ass because when he jumps, he flips in the air 2-3 times. It's really difficult moving like this in tricky areas like the Treehouse Complex, but also making precise jumps (as is often required). Then we have the pathetic inventory system. You can only carry 3 objects with you, but the real problem is that you can only drop them in the order you picked them up. Consider this: you're at the bottom of the sea and your inventory is "snorkel, empty, empty". If you want to pick up something, you drop the snorkel and you die. Woosh, back to the beginning, thank you very much Mr.Game Designer.

Another interesting fact is that most Dizzy releases for the Commodore 64 are straight Spectrum ports, meaning that the graphics are of the monotone variety. It's up to the music to liven-up atmosphere, and thankfully we do get a nice Sid tune, courtesy of musician Matt Gray. Finally, you won't manage to complete the game properly, even if you solve all the puzzles, unless you find 30 golden coins which are scattered here and there. Considering that most of them are camouflaged, most people will not bother to play the game fully. Not that they'll miss much.



Merman said...

Certainly not my favourite of the Dizzy adventures, but 4/10 does seem a bit harsh...

Jim Slip said...

Ah, but there's very little motivation to go back to it and do the same things once you die.

And it's so easy to die with this inventory system and controls.

The Spectrum-like graphics didn't inspire me too much either.