๐Ÿ—๏ธFantasy World Dizzy

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Closer Look: Fantasy World Dizzy

An eggselent conversion of Codemaster's 1989 puzzle platformer

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Aug 18, 2017
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Just outside the castle entrance is the missing dragon egg. Dizzy takes it, but there's the more pressing need of rescuing Daisy from inside the castle!

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The cloud castle has a few traps set up to keep yolk folk like Dizzy out. Firstly is a very large pit.

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It goes really poorly. There's still more to be done before Daisy can be saved.

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This would be a good time to return the missing dragon egg at least.

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A small portion of the wall disappears and the hoss lets Dizzy continue deeper into the cavern.

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At the back of the cave appears to be an old mine, and and old friend!

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I guess the king wasn't too happy about how Dizzy escaped the dungeon. The troll will just yell at Dizzy to go away if Dizzy tries to start a conversation.

The brown boulders aren't boulders or crates, but in fact pillars to support the ceiling. There's some debris near the minecart, but nothing there is of any interest to Dizzy except for a pile of rubble blocking off the rest of the mine.

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The pickaxe makes it easy to proceed where there's another gem, and one more item to collect:

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Now Dizzy can get through the castle!

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I have more questions about how this non-magic rug can become a bridge by just covering a pit than I did about the pit being in the sky in the first place.

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The carpet rolls out and covers up the pit allowing safe passage.

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Safe until the next section of the castle at least. Several spikes rapidly move in and out of the walls. It requires some pretty precise timing (and noticing there's a gap at one point) to make it across. It took me a while and I was worried that it couldn't be done fast enough with DosBox's issues with ZZT keyboard repeats, but you can definitely pull it off.

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There's also a nice little fake wall side passage in case you want to turn around and head back.

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Dizzy's quest is almost complete!

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There's still one last challenge though. Dizzy can't escape platforming even in ZZT! In order to access the end, Dizzy must push the boulders into the pit while dodging some crushers and spikes and making sure to not push any boulders against walls where they'll become stuck.

The platforming engine is decent. It's reasonably responsive which is usually the biggest issue with these things. Since the puzzle isn't too demanding on reflexes it feels fair and there's no rush to make any jumps.

The jumping feels a it off however, but in a way that only helps make it easier for the player. You can see a green wall above the jump object on the board which is used to track whether Dizzy is currently falling or rising. This makes it so that if you jump and hit a low ceiling, then more to the side, you can actually keep rising. It's less jumping and more temporary gravity reversal.

At one point during this sequence I had a boulder get hit by a crusher and nothing happen, so I began to suspect that the crushers worked in tandem with the Dizzy object checking if he was blocked to the north while a crusher was blocked to the south.

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I stood under a low ceiling and proved my hypothesis correct.

It didn't happen, but theoretically some bad timing with hitting a ceiling while jumping could cause Dizzy to be killed at random. So uh, watch out for that.

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Another obstacle are these disappearing platforms which fade in and out. They're just objects that turn invisible and then move out of the way while invisible. It would also be possible to stand on an invisible platform for a moment before it moves back into place and becomes visible again.

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Once all the boulders have been removed the door opens and the player can transport across the room to the final board.

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Dizzy and Daisy finally reunite as Dizzy throws the lever which releases the cage she's been trapped in.

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The reunion is a short one. Daisy says her thanks and promptly leaves. In order to actually complete the game, all the hidden gems must be found. Foxman's walkthrough becomes indispensable here since a lot of them are pretty obtuse.

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This is why the fake wall exit is here. There's no need to go through the castle again.

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Sure enough, back in the village Daisy is now standing outside one of the buildings waiting for Dizzy to collect all the gems.

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Also the rug flag never gets cleared so that's just going to be in the inventory for the rest of the game. There are no more items to collect, just the ten missing gems.

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After finishing the game a flag gets set which makes this gem appears. The troll leaving is actually handled separately which is a cool touch though likely one that will never be noticed prior to this gem hunt.

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The dungeon exit is locked so perhaps the troll wasn't even needed to begin with!

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Another gem is on the chair in the dining room. A player actively hunting the gems would likely stumble on this one.

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This one requires a keen eye, prior to finding the gem the tile used is that of a normal wall rather than a solid. Even then, it's pushing it a bit.

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There's one on a post on the pier.

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The gems are mandatory, but there are a few secrets hidden throughout the game as well! The treasures include a diamond (not a gem), a gold mask, and glowing s which constantly changes colors. Those are the actual names displayed when they're picked up. It's canonically a glowing s!

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Another slightly off wall in this bush holds a gem.

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As does the support below a miscolored tile in the village.

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Turns out one of the doors is worth examining in the treetop village.

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There's another in the tree hollow. I can't believe I didn't notice this one when I was here the first time.

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In the mine is another secret passage. This time with a glowing diamond, gold nugget, glowing s, and cyan smiley face. No gems though.

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But even those treasure rooms pale before this secret, where one of the tiles on a boulder is in fact a passage to a secret art board.

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I love this. Check out those platform shoes!

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Unsurprisingly, there's a gem on one of the heads of lettuce on the farm.

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And lastly, one on the beanstalk to the cloud castle!

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โ–‘โ–’โ–“โ–ˆโ–ŒTho' Endโ–โ–ˆโ–“โ–’โ–‘
  โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข
Well, you found all thirty gems and now
the two of you can find a treehouse to
live in. You won the game!

โ–‘โ–’โ–“โ–ˆโ–ŒCreditsโ–โ–ˆโ–“โ–“โ–’โ–‘

Concept and original layout by:
โ–‘โ–’โ–“โ–ˆโ–Œ-The Oliver Twins

ZZT Conversion and graphics by:
โ–‘โ–’โ–“โ–ˆโ–Œ-Zenith

Beta-testing by:
โ–‘โ–’โ–“โ–ˆโ–Œ-RingWorm, tucan, Tseng, BlueMagus
      & Lemmer

Thanks to the following peeps:

โ–‘โ–’โ–“โ–ˆโ–Œ-BlueMagus: for scaring the POOOOOZE
out of me on IRC. O_O  Also for making a
few suggestions, d00d.

โ–‘โ–’โ–“โ–ˆโ–Œ-Tseng: Waah. THOU ART DRIFTING
AWAAAAAAAY FROM UZZ

โ–‘โ–’โ–“โ–ˆโ–Œ-Herc!: <BlueMagus> Herc!
              Herc!
              Herc!
              Herc!
              Herc!
              Herc!
              Herc!
              Herc!
              CONSARN IT

โ–‘โ–’โ–“โ–ˆโ–Œ-j0sh: DUDE SCOTT THIS IS J0SH!!@#$%

โ–‘โ–’โ–“โ–ˆโ–Œ-Chuck: Vork, you'll be glad to know
that you ain't the only person who's
opinion of Chuck changes every 5 minutes.

โ–‘โ–’โ–“โ–ˆโ–Œ-Dragon: HE IS THE HOSS RIDE HIM

โ–‘โ–’โ–“โ–ˆโ–Œ-The usual guys: ie. Tim Thweenie
and Alexious Janson. =)

โ–‘โ–’โ–“โ–ˆโ–ŒA round of "HALLO."s go out to:
DoggyShop, Jeremy Bee, Viovis, Copperhead,
Hatrack, Jujubee, Venom, Flatcoat Lab*,
Emerging Lurker, craNKGod, Knightt, Hydra,
RoboVine, Nomad, CoolZx, Draco, Vampy,
Chronos, WiredMan, Scribbit, Dexter, Myth,
MadGuy, Mauller_Mauller, gerbil, FishFood,
Dracle, Skale, Hydra, Dark FLR, Misteroo,
Newt, Skullie, voighdt, Fatrat, GoldenHog,
Koopo, Spock, Viper, Pokemon, Fatrat, HM,
XAbbott, Mako, Daemon Lotos, and everyone
else I know, excepting Parasite, NerTo
and SkeptiSoft. HAW HAW THOU SUCKETH

(* - Note that these two are the same
person. AHAHAHA I CONF00ZED YAU)

Well, you beat the game. Good for you.
Now's the part where I #endgame you
without throwing some random insult with
it. First though, sit back, and enjoy the
fireworks before they start firing at an
insane speed induced by the #endgame...
#cycle 120
/i/i#endgame
:mmm
โ”‚ \/\/โ”‚โ”‚_โ”‚_ โ”‚-โ”‚/-\><()R \_/!!!!!1111
/i
โ”‚ /-\/\/\ /-\ โ”‚_337 โ”‚-โ”‚4><0R โ”‚)()()/>!!111
/i
#mmm
  โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข
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There are some cute fireworks, and the text "THE END" flashes repeatedly. It's a nice little ending screen and the fireworks animate rather smoothly from the speed increase similarly to dying to Armarog way back at the beginning.

Final Thoughts

Fantasy World Dizzy is something that's very close to be an instant recommendation. There's a lot here that works, which is quite a rarity when talking about attempts of remaking existing games in ZZT. The actual Dizzy games lose their most frustrating feature when shifted to the non-platforming environment ZZT offers and so Nadir's conversion manages to make a rough series that would take a lot of patience and dedication that most people wouldn't have to give into something accessible and enjoyable.

Though it still introduces some of its own flaws. All the danger in the ZZT version comes from puzzles that can kill the player, once these puzzles are solved there's no danger. Other adventure games in ZZT are similar, (take a look back at Tucan's Pop!,) but these other adventures get away with it by using smaller board sizes for quicker backtracking. Getting from the door knocker freely available in the tree top village back to the door where you use it involves walking across thirteen screens! This makes the world feel very empty as the player has to go on these very long walks. Perhaps taking some creative license and adding a secret passage back to the castle somewhere or something would've made things a bit more palatable.

If you try out Fantasy World Dizzy, you will enjoy the majority of it at least. In the beginning when the content is still fresh it's a lot of fun to explore the castle and its surrounding grounds, running into dangerous creatures and coming up with solutions to get past them. Once you reach the village though, the pace slows down a lot as the backtracking kicks in.

Movement has some more issues still as Nadir hasn't yet figured out the importance of keeping graphical flourish from getting in the way of gameplay. The grassy fields frequently use breakable walls scattered throughout to help add some variety in texture, and while this works fine on the outskirts of the main paths, bits of impassable wall often stray a bit too close to the player's current direction of movement, blocking them and forcing them to go around some grass. This happens to some degree in a lot of ZZT worlds, but when the boards are completed and become little more than scenery as Dizzy travels from point A to point B, it can get frustrating to snag on something. There's definitely some irony in this game's biggest draw being getting away from Codemaster's precarious movement while its biggest drawback winds up being its own issues with movement.

Lastly of note is the sudden reveal that the gems Dizzy's collected throughout the game have gone from being little bonuses for exploration and attention to detail into being mandatory. If the game slows down when you reach the village and have basically exhausted new boards to see, it becomes outright tedious when it comes to this final collect-a-thon. Frankly I'd suggest just suggest cheating for the gems and seeing the credits that way. To bring up Pop! again, that game had hidden gems as well which revealed an extended ending. Those gems were also a bit too unreasonably hidden, but at least there you can get a satisfying conclusion (and you only need a handful of gems compared to Dizzy's thirty).

Nadir went on to quickly release conversion of two more Dizzy games to ZZT, and despite the flaws of Fantasy World Dizzy, I did have enough fun with it to be interested in seeing how the others play sometime. The game is still an enjoyable journey that can be worth taking, but while Nadir produced some very well regarded ZZT worlds don't expect anything too special from this one.

====== A Worlds of ZZT Production ======

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