Wonderful Dizzy, ZX Spectrum

Wonderful Dizzy is the eighth ‘core’ Dizzy adventure and was released in 2020 for the 128K ZX Spectrum only. It was designed by The Oliver Twins and published by Team Yolkfolk.

The game’s development was tied to the Kickstarter campaign for the ZX Spectrum Next and was first announced in 2017. The Olivers said that they would only go ahead with development of the game if the Kickstarter campaign for the ZX Spectrum Next reached its target, which it eventually did.

The storyline and visuals for Wonderful Dizzy are based on the classic Wizard of Oz books by L. Frank Baum, and the game features amazingly colourful graphics, the likes of which have rarely been seen on the Spectrum. Just like the classic 1939 film Wonderful Dizzy begins in black and white and becomes colour when Dizzy lands in Oz. Or rather: Dizzy‘s house lands on The Wicked Witch of the East. Dizzy then has his beloved pet, Pogie, kidnapped by the Wicked Witch of the West, in revenge for squashing her sister.

The aim of the game is to save Pogie from the Wicked Witch and then convince The Wizard of Oz to help them find their way home. Which of course begins by following the yellow brick road…

Dizzy himself is slightly larger than normal, but is more detailed (and seems to be wearing a fedora, which is probably a nod to Indiana Jones), but does his usual somersault jump and can climb and pick up and carry up to three different items in his inventory. Many of the puzzles in Wonderful Dizzy are character-based, meaning that Dizzy usually has to bring a certain item to a certain character in order to obtain another item, but there are also key-based puzzles (find the right item to unlock a certain door), and context-based puzzles (find the right item to get something working, or make something do something). There are also star coins to collect (100 star coins in total), which are also required to complete the game. Dizzy only needs to collect 99 star coins to complete the game, but if he manages to find the final, hidden star coin – and collects all 100 of them – then you get a different ending to the game.

Wonderful Dizzy does of course have encounters with many of the characters from The Wizard of Oz, including the scarecrow, the tin man, and the cowardly lion. Who require help finding a brain, a heart, and their courage, respectively. There are also a lot of other film, music, game and cultural references throughout the story, which are fun to see and add an extra layer of magic to the game.

Dizzy himself must survive through various hazards to complete his quest and he starts the game with three lives and a full health bar. Some hazards will instantly kill him, but most usually drain his health if touched. Eating fruit replenishes his health a little. There is still fall damage in the game – if Dizzy falls too far he’ll lose some health – but it isn’t as bad as in Spellbound Dizzy.

The only disappointment I had with Wonderful Dizzy was that it does have some bad spelling and grammatical mistakes in it (the writers definitely don’t know how to use apostrophes and it should have been proof read before release by someone who can spell – these things matter!), and it also doesn’t make any use of the great music from the 1939 film, although for rights reasons that probably wasn’t possible. I would’ve loved to have heard Somewhere Over the Rainbow, or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz being played by the AY sound chip on the Spectrum 128, but that wasn’t to be and I guess we can just be thankful that such a great little game exists in the first place. Wonderful Dizzy is, well… wonderful. And it’s free to download and play.

See also: The Dizzy adventure series on The King of Grabs

More: Wonderful Dizzy on yolkfolk.com

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