Sunday, February 28, 2016

Retro Review: Wonderland Dizzy (1993 / 2015) - Nintendo Entertainment System - The Oliver Twins

Codemasters' Dizzy games were amongst our favourites on the ZX Spectrum, so we were thrilled to read that a long-lost instalment - Wonderland Dizzy - had been discovered and released for free (as a ROM or online) at the end of 2015. We were still in house-moving mode at the time, so weren't able to play it immediately or take part in the #IBeatDizzy challenge. But now we've finally settled into our new home, we took the opportunity to set up our NES emulator and sit down with an old friend.

Wonderland Dizzy is described as an enhanced remake of Dizzy's fourth adventure, Magicland Dizzy. But it's far more than a carbon copy of a game that we played over one hundred times during the early Nineties.

Magicland Dizzy always had elements of Lewis Carroll's Alice stories - most notably when Dizzy jumped through a mirror to a chessboard, reversing the controls - but Wonderland Dizzy takes that idea further by introducing a variety of Alice characters and items into the game world, adding to the cast carried over from Magicland. This means that Dizzy (or, for the first time, Daisy) must now help the White Rabbit and Mad Hatter, as well as finding his way past the Queen and her guards if he is to help his friends escape Wonderland. Quite the task!

The controls are simple, just use the NES' D-Pad to move Dizzy and then one of the buttons to jump and the other to use or drop items. Having spent years mastering the technique of moving a joystick diagonally up (or pressing Q and O or P simultaneously) on the Spectrum, we found it much easier to control Dizzy this time around. Walking on clouds is far less scary, for example, as it reduces the risk of Dizzy jumping off at an inopportune moment because you've pushed slightly up on the joystick.

Similarly, the health system is much more forgiving than the Spectrum games. Now, Dizzy will only become dazed if he takes a slight knock from a big fall or drop of water, before continuing on with the task at hand. The only things that we have found to cause death are lava, a fall into water or the Queen's guards' pointy sticks (we found this out the hard way as we triumphantly bounced our way back to the finish line after rescuing the final character!)

If you're playing as Dizzy and Daisy, you will alternate between characters with each loss of life, with all inventory items instantly transferred. When all lives are lost, it's Game Over, but it's unlikely you'll ever get to that point. If you're really struggling, you can always play in Fun mode where you'll never lose a life - it's like playing a Spectrum Dizzy using Pokes!

Wonderland Dizzy looks gorgeous, with beautiful colours throughout. If, like us, you have the Spectrum version engrained in your memory, it's pleasing to see Dizzy's world in such detail, especially the areas of the map transferred from Magicland Dizzy, like the Monolith, Bushy Grove and Sleepy Hollow. There are some nice touches of humour, especially with the inclusion of a certain cheat cartridge-endorsing character who'll appear when you use two specific items together. We also love the inclusion of a Leather Whip which allows for Indiana Dizzy moments!

If you're familiar with Magicland Dizzy, you'll have a head start on most of the puzzle solutions, although many of the items are in alternate locations, or need to be used differently. Similarly, whilst most of the Yolkfolk find themselves in the same predicament as Magicland, a couple have got into different scrapes. Denzil, for example, has now been shrunk to an adorably tiny size, rather than getting trapped in ice. It all adds up to a nice little challenge for old and new players alike.

There is no doubt that we would have loved Wonderland Dizzy if it had been released back in 1993, so it's brilliant to have been given the opportunity to finally play it two decades later. It makes you wonder what other obscure gaming treasures could be lurking in attics around the world!

We've written a full walkthrough for the game, as well as a list of star locations.

Wonderland Dizzy - Star Location Guide

A list of star locations in Wonderland Dizzy to help you obtain all one hundred in order to finish the game after rescuing your friends. We've listed the locations in the order you will visit them if you use our Wonderland Dizzy walkthough. The stars are usually in plain sight, but we have pointed out any particularly tricky ones!

Mystical Monolith - 1

Bushy Grove - 2

High In The Trees - 1

Wishing Well - 2

The Well Shaft - 2

Stone Henge - 2

Haunted Swamp - 1

Lillyput Swamp - 2

High In The Clouds - 23 (You will need the Broomstick. One star is particularly tricky as you have to get off the Broomstick on the screen above and fall through the clouds)

The Monolith - 2 (Obtain the one on the right with Broomstick, and the one on the left by jumping right from High In The Trees)

Tower With A View - 2

Upper Gallery - 1

High In The Castle -1

The Watch Tower -1

The Cloisters - 1

The Chapel - 2

The Look Out Room - 2 (The Small Trampoline is required for one)

Entrance Hall - 1

Castle Moat - 1

Throne Room - 2

The Portcullis - 2

The Drawbridge - 1

Sword In The Stone - 2

Sleepy Hollow - 2

Among The Clouds - 1 (Jump left off the ledge above Dozy)

Home Of The Piper - 2

Among The Foliage - 2

Mad Hatter's Party - 1

Troll's Bridge - 1

Dividing Passages - 3

The Tower - 1

Grand Hall - 2 (Split over both levels)

To The Dungeons - 2 (Split over both levels)

Castle Cellar - 3

The Crypt - 3

The Stairway - 2

The Queen's Chamber - 2

Base Of Volcano - 2

Volcanic Cliff - 1

Hot Lava Pool - 2

Cave Opening - 2

Deep Dark Cave - 2

Earth's Center - 1

Secret Passage - 2 (You'll need to remove the Rat to get one of them)

Forgotten Hideout - 2

A Pack Of Guards - 2

Wonderland Dizzy - Walkthrough

A complete walkthrough for Wonderland Dizzy, finally released in 2015 after twenty-two years stuck in an attic. This is not necessarily the only way to complete the game, but is an efficient route through the screens with the minimum of backtracking. Using our guide, it is possible to get to the end of the game within half an hour, including all star pick-ups.

Go Left to Bushy Grove and get Smoker's Pipe.

Climb up and use Pipe on Caterpillar. Get Leather Whip. Climb to High In The Trees to get Black Cat.

Go back down, then left to the Wishing Well. Get Poisoned Apple. Leave Leather Whip. Go down Well to Well Shaft to get Halloween Hat.

Climb out of Well and go right until Stone Henge. Drop something. Pick up Cup Of Holy Water.

Go right to Haunted Swamp and use Holy Water on Ghost. Go back and pick up what you left. Continue right to Witches Island. Use Cat, Hat and Apple.

Continue right to Lillyput Swamp and use Broomstick to fly to High In The Clouds to get Cloth Duster and Sharp Dagger.

Return to Bushy Grove and use Dagger to get A Leaf From Dylan. Drop Dagger.

Climb up to Caterpillar Trees and ride the smoke rings to Among The Clouds. Get Backdoor Key.

Jump left on clouds to enter a Tower With A View. Drop Cloth, get Well Handle.

Drop down to Entrance Hall, go right and use Backdoor Key in Castle Moat.

Go back to Upper Gallery and get Flaming Torch.

Return to Witches Island and use A Leaf From Dylan and Flaming Torch to get Witch's Brew.

Go back to Bushy Grove and free Dylan with the Witch's Brew.

Go to Wishing Well and use Well Handle to get Empty Bucket. Leave the Empty Bucket here. Pick up Leather Whip again.

Go left to the Castle Moat. Use Leather Whip to cross. Ignore the Bag Of Rubbish. Drop the Whip.

Go up and left to the Chapel and pick up Ancient Lamp. Return to A Tower With A View. Drop Lamp. Pick up Cloth, then pick up Lamp to trigger Game Genie (this is only for an extra life). Drop both when you have your extra life.

Go to the Upper Gallery and take the lift up twice to the Watch Tower. Get the Pocket Watch.

Go all the way down and left to Throne Room and pick up Book of Music.

Go left to the Drawbridge and give the Pocket Watch to the White Rabbit. Get the China Teapot.

Go left to Sleepy Hollow and up to Home Of The Piper and use the Book Of Music to get the Musical Pipes.

Go right to Among The Foliage. and get Big Stick.

Drop down to Sword In The Stone and leave the Pipes.

Go left to the Mad Hatter's Party and use the Teapot. Get the Unbirthday Cake.

Go left until you reach the Troll's Bridge. Use the Big Stick on the Goat (!) to clear the bridge.

Continue left. At the Dividing Passages go up and left to find a tiny Denzil. Use the Unbirthday Cake to make him bigger.

Go right and up to The Tower. Pick up the Cut Diamond. Go back down and left to the Grand Hall. Go down To The Dungeons. Go right to the Castle Cellar and pick up Theo's Magic Wand. Go left and give the Cut Diamond to the Guard.

Go right, picking up the Musical Pipes from Sword In The Stone. Pick up the Bag Of Rubbish at the Castle Moat and drop it inside. Pick up the Leather Whip, use it to swing across and drop it and the Pipes at the Wishing Well. Pick up the Empty Bucket.

Go right all the way to Base Of The Volcano and use the Empty Bucket in the pool of water to get Bucket Of Water.

Go back to Lillyput Swamp and get on the Broomstick. Fly up and right over the Hot Lava Pool and get off the Broomstick at the Cave Opening.

Go down through the Cave and give the Magic Wand to Theo at The Earth's Center. Talk to him once he's free and he'll give you the Merit Of Strength. Climb out and fly back across the Lava Pool and continue left.

At Wishing Well pick up the Musical Pipes, drop down the Well Shaft and go left to the Secret Passage. Use the Pipes on the Rat.

Go left to the Forgotten Hideout and get the Small Trampoline.

Exit up into the Entrance Hall then take the lift up. Go left until you reach the Lookout Room.

Use the Trampoline to reach the West Tower. Get the Drink Me Potion.

Go back down and jump out of the window to the left. Go left to Among The Foliage and down to Sword In The Stone.

Use Merit Of Strength on Sword to get Excalibur.

Go left to Sleepy Hollow and use Bucket Of Water to wake Dozy. Drop the Empty Bucket.

Continue left to the Grand Hall, then go down via the Dungeon, Cellar and Crypt to the Oubliette. Use the Drink Me Potion on Dora (it is safe to walk through the water).

Go back up to the Grand Hall, to where you found Denzil. Go up the Stairway and into the Queen's Chamber. Go through the door and talk to the Queen, who will let you pass because you are holding Excalibur.

Go left through A Pack Of Guards into Grand Dizzy's Jail. Pull the lever to set him free.

Go all the way way to the Mystical Monolith using the cloud path from A Tower With A View to get over the Castle Moat. If you do not have all 100 stars at this point, the door will not open. If you've followed our walkthrough precisely, chances are you've missed some High In The Clouds or the one on the left of the Monolith. If you're still missing some, we've written a full list of locations to help.

At the Mystical Monolith, go through the exit door.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Retro Review: Tony Hawk's Skateboarding (2000) - Sega Dreamcast

My review of Tony Hawk's Skateboarding for Dreamcast, originally published in Official Dreamcast Magazine Issue 11 (September 2000). My review of NHL 2K was also featured in the same issue.

As if that wasn't enough, I was also picked as that issue's Have Your Say contributor (where I picked Black & White, Shenmue, Half-Life, Metropolis Street Racer and Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 as my most wanted games) for which I received a Virtual Memory Unit.

This is the most addictive game that I have ever played on Dreamcast. The graphics are amazing and the gameplay is even better. Career mode is full of little challenges that encourage you to try over and over again to get that elusive tape to unlock the next level.

At two minutes per game, this is a title you can just pick up and play for a few minutes if you're bored, although it can actually turn into a much longer session. "Just one more go" has resulted in hours passing before I knew it.

Tony Hawk's Skateboarding is easy to pick up for both novice and experienced game players alike. Just a few minutes will see you zooming around the Warehouse level performing all manner of exciting tricks, before landing unceremoniously on your head after a particularly difficult trick goes horribly wrong!

This is not a game to be played quietly. You find yourself leaping around and yelling after finding a hidden tape or completing a level, and I've often caught myself singing along to the sountrack while frantically pushing buttons!

Retro Review: NHL 2K (2000) - Sega Dreamcast

My review of NHL 2K for Dreamcast, originally published in Official Dreamcast Magazine Issue 11 (September 2000). My review of Tony Hawk's Skateboarding was also featured in the same issue.

As if that wasn't enough, I was also picked as that issue's Have Your Say contributor (where I picked Black & White, Shenmue, Half-Life, Metropolis Street Racer and Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 as my most wanted games) for which I received a Virtual Memory Unit.

NHL 2K is not a game that I was especially looking forward to, but after playing NBA 2K I felt it would be worth a look. I was not disappointed.

The graphics are smooth and realistic, and the commentary is varied (if a little slow). The controls are easy to pick up, but even in Rookie mode the computer is not easy to beat. This is a refreshing change from some games where you can beat a console-controlled team 50 to 0.

Playing against human-controlled teams is the most fun, as it makes a fast and furious game even more competitive. I've yet to see the fighting mode (obviously I'm not playing dirty enough!) but it sounds like a good idea.

It seems as though there have been some distribution problems with this game - I had to trawl around about five shops before I managed to find it - which is a shame, as many people may miss out on a very good game.

Indiana Jones - Index Page

An index page to help you navigate through all of our Indiana Jones content.

Promos & Stills

Indiana Jones - Raiders Of The Lost Ark - Promos & Stills

Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom - Promos & Stills

Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade - Promos & Stills

Indiana Jones And The Kingdon Of The Crystal Skull - Promos, Stills & Production Shots

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