Dizzy Returns - The all time classic retro platformer is back with a kickstarter and a History lesson

What a great day it is today for Dizzy fans, The Oliver Twins, Developers of this all time classic retro Platformer Puzzler are back. I woke up this morning and saw Dizzy appear on kickstarter and my heart nearly missed a beat, this game is so close to my heart I could almost say I grew up on Dizzy. Dizzy fast became one of the most successful European computer game brands of the late 1980s into the 1990's. But what is this game called, well it's called Dizzy Returns and it's using today's technology.

Before we jump into the kickstarter, lets go back in time a bit and see just how this guy started off. Dizzy began his little life in 1987 with the hit game "The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure". It was a game that came with some damn fine gameplay and for my age creepy enemies!. I remember the spiders dropping from the Tree's, the Bats and the creepy game screen layout. At the time most of us where buying game tapes from local retail stores, you'd see all these tapes in nicely written covers from shelf to shelf priced usually between £1.99 and £2.50, not the £45 of today's prices. It also had a really neat soundtrack which fit the game so perfectly. Also note below, the coloured version. At age 7 I was rather unlucky in the fact I had a green screen monitor Amstrad CPC 464, so you lucky colored monitor guys got this version.

In 1988 the second Dizzy game came out called Treasure Island Dizzy and once again it was fantastic, it also came on multiple systems ( Amstrad, Commodore 64, Spectrum, DOS, NES, Amiga and Atari ST. ). I myself had the Amstrad version later purchasing the Amiga version, I did prefer the Amiga version simply because of the graphics and fast load times. This game compared to Dizzy 1 is quite different from its predecessor, with a new inventory system and improved animations. The game notably contains fewer enemies than the previous title, it is more centred around inventory based problem solving. Adding to the difficulty of the game was the fact that the player had two main tasks to complete; the escape from the islands, and the collection of the thirty coins. For example upon escaping the final island, the Shopkeeper character appears and tells Dizzy that he cannot leave without finding all thirty coins. Given that a number of the coins were hidden behind scenery, this second task proved to be more difficult than the main game.

Amiga Version

In 1989 we had yet another Dizzy also on multiple systems, published by Codemasters and still developed by the great The Oliver Twins. It was called Fantasy World Dizzy and was the first Dizzy adventure to feature many additions which later became standard for the series, such as having three lives, an improved inventory system and a balance between puzzle-solving and hazards. This game also introduced the friendly Yolkfolk: Daisy, Denzil, Dozy, Dylan and Grand-Dizzy. Good old Grand-Dizzy was my favorite, usually found in his old chair.

By 1990-92 we've now moved onto Magicland Dizzy However The game was the first Dizzy game not to be developed entirely by Dizzy's creators. Instead, whilst they were focusing on other projects, Magicland Dizzy was designed by Neal Vincent and coded by an external developer Big Red Software.Not to worry though as the Oliver Twins had a lot of say in the design of the game.Also note the improved graphics, especially as we head more towards the Amiga/Dos versions.

If you'd like to see just how a dizzy game is layed out screen by screen in the game, check this picture from MagicLand Dizzy.

It's now time for Spellbound Dizzy and the year is late 1990/91, confident in the work of Big Red Software they left a lot of the work to them for development. The Oliver Twins however, had very little involvement with this title other than executive sign off. Not to worry though as this was a good game still and it was also massive!. The game boasted the largest map of any Dizzy game yet at the time of release, having more than 100 screens. Consequently, it is by far longer and more difficult than any other game in the series. The gameplay is also complicated by the fact that Dizzy loses health when falling from heights (the feature was removed from subsequent games). Graphical art style was slightly different aswell, especially with the UI that never occurred earlier or later in the series.

In 1991 it was time for Dizzy Prince of the Yolkfolk and another one of my personal favorites, it was also remade for the IOS in 2011, however I was not happy with the IOS release at all as I felt it was unfair to computer owners who gave so much of the support for The Oliver Twins games. Dizzy Prince of the Yolkfolk, may have been the smallest Dizzy adventure game in terms of the number of screens/rooms you could visit. But this meant that it was maybe the game with most critical acclaim. Some reviews felt that the walking from one area of the map to another to complete problems(puzzles) was tedious. The smaller map helped to counteract this. It was also apparently the shortest game in development only taking perhaps a month, however this was only Reputed.

Again in 1991 we have another Dizzy game, it was that popular they kept on developing more and more!, though I don't blame them I couldn't stop buying anything with Dizzy in the title.  The latest game was called Fantastic Dizzy. Fantastic Dizzy contains all 16 characters in the series. While most of the Yolkfolk were harmed by Zaks, others have different problems. Other characters include Good Wizard Theodore, Blackheart the Pirate, the Palace Guard, Prince Clumsy, Rockwart the Troll, Shamus the Leprechaun and the Shop Owner.  However this time there was an issue of the release of Fantastic Dizzy, there was a legal issue between Codemasters and Nintendo over the Game Genie, causing it to miss the Christmas rush, hence much lower sales than expected.  It was however given an award, NES Adventure Game of the Year 1991 and Parents Choice Award.

Finally we get to the last in the Dizzy series, this title was called  Crystal Kingdom Dizzy and released at the end of 1992. Once again the Oliver Twins had less involvement in this title, damn slackers ;), it was also first full price Dizzy game released for the home computer formats; previous Dizzy games were released with budget price tags. It was given much criticism, as despite the much higher tag, the game was no bigger or more complex than it's much lower priced predecessors. Before I finish and move onto the kickstarter, dizzy did have a number of fun spin offs which did not have the same style as previous games, they were Fast Food, Kwik Snax, Dizzy Panic!, Bubble Dizzy, Dizzy down the rapids and finally Go Dizzy go!.

There is also a way to relive many of these glory days by fan made remakes, which you can try out on the awesome dizzyage website. You can even play the originals on your pc today, all you have to do is download, install and play. Some of the fan made remakes have had a lot of work put into them and even the dizzy age people themselves have created a massive story such as Dizzy and the Other Side which you can still download. Also keep an eye on this website as fan made development is an ongoing cycle, one day you might visit the website and find a brand new fan remake for you to try. You can even create your very own dizzy games with the specialized tools for Dizzy gamers but before we move on, Dizzy age is going to release a Christmas bundle in Dec ( 25th ) for which I'm excited about!

Well guess what! it's here. Finally the part you've all been waiting for, DIZZY IS BACK!. He's back for the generation of today's high end systems and what's more it's a kickstarter and they need your money to get the game developed so you can relive those memories. This dizzy title is called " Dizzy Returns ". It will be a brand new dizzy for the PC and IOS and it will have New puzzles, new characters, new locations, and new ways of playing which will bring Dizzy bang up-to-date and make the game just as much fun for gamers today as it was in the 1980s. Check out the hand drawings of what Dizzy might look like in game, he certainly looks updated and ready to kick ass!.

Also note what the game might well look like when playing, I must say I've never seen Dizzy or the game world look so good. We could play spot the difference here compared to it's predecessors, he maybe Dizzy but no longer does he just look like an egg with boxing gloves attached to a pixelated artwork, he looks almost real and in HD!.

Even the world around him such as his village with the huts in the tree's, sorry i mean tree houses are going to have a full update as you can see by this concept art. Could that be Zak's castle in the background?

I think we have a lot to look forward to but it's down to us to make it happen, we need to get this game fully pledged and that's exactly what I'm hoping to do with this article, I've also pledged £10 to get my own digital copy. If that's not enough to persuade you, let the developers do it with a little snippet quote from the Oliver Twins themselves.

We’d also like our backers to help us shape the story of the game. We don’t want cut scenes and long conversations – we’re looking to build on the environmental storytelling that the classic Dizzy games did so well. Who hasn't wondered why Zaks hates Dizzy so much, or how many Treasure Islands there actually are? We will build up the story and world as you play, so you can either savour and enjoy all the little details or just power through and enjoy the puzzling and platforming fun.

  • CLASSIC DIZZY GAMEPLAY - Platforming, puzzle-solving, enemies to avoid, hazards to traverse, loads of locations, quirky characters.
  • A BRAND NEW EPIC STORY  - Building on established Dizzy lore, expect old questions to be answered and brand new ones to be asked!
  • CHOICE OF PLAY STYLE - Gameplay designed for both short and long play sessions.
  • NON-LINEAR PUZZLES - Concurrent quests that can be solved in any order.
  • NEW MECHANICS - Tonnes of brain-teasing puzzles using game mechanics never before seen in a Dizzy game, utilising physics, time and light, amongst other things.
  • A BEAUTIFUL WORLD - The Dizzy universe brought to life with glorious visuals and fully animated 3D characters.
  • MEET NEW FRIENDS AND OLD - Dizzy and the Evil Wizard Zaks return, along with some familiar and not-so familiar faces!
  • EXPLORATION - Re-visit the Kingdom of Zakeria, with classic locations like Keldor, Treehouse Village and Cloud Castle and more, as well as brand new locations to discover and explore!
  • DYNAMIC HELP SYSTEM - Toggleable hints catering for all ability levels, to ensure you'll never be at a loss!
  • RETRO MODE - Experience Dizzy Returns in full retro glory, complete with 8-bit graphics and classic difficulty level!
Whilst we love the original series of Dizzy games too, they were far from perfect – there were lots of technical and financial limitations at the time that prevented us from adding all the things we would have liked.

We want to match the magical feeling of the classic games, but also bring the controls, the pace and even the underlying structure of the game up-to-date for gamers today.

We’re also very aware that we’re dealing with the stuff of childhood here; nostalgic reminiscences of formative years (not to mention our own), and in some cases, the earliest memories of playing computer games! We’ll do everything we can to respect those Dizzy memories. We don’t want to replace them; we want to create fantastic new ones that will hopefully be looked back on in 20 years with the same warm feelings.

So what are you waiting for?, PLEDGE NOW DAMN IT!  

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