Treasure Island Dizzy: Commodore Amiga

Treasure Island Dizzy: Commodore Amiga
Treasure Island Dizzy: Commodore Amiga

Insert Disk collects Treasure Island Dizzy for the Commodore Amiga.

Today’s retro game review is Treasure Island Dizzy for the Commodore Amiga. This retro gaming classic was a well-received entry in the Oliver Twins Dizzy Egg series. Dizzy has been stranded on a desert island and its your job to help him escape. Treasure Island Dizzy is part fetch quest, part inventory puzzle and part adventure making it a ground-breaking retro game. Perhaps not the best known of the Dizzy series but certainly an entry that has kept gamers challenged and amused for many years.

Greetings collectors and welcome to today’s retro game review. In the last episode we revisited Fast Food starring Dizzy. This week we go treasure hunting in the acclaimed second entry in the core series Treasure island Dizzy. The 1987 releases of Dizzy – The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure and Fast Food had paved the way for Dizzy’s next adventure the following year in 1988. Treasure Island Dizzy. Now its worth me qualifying up front that this was the first Dizzy game that I ever played and as such I have a lot of nostalgia connected to the character and game as a whole. Whilst not technically the most impressive in the series this was the moment that set the Dizzy series on the blueprint for all subsequent games in the core series. As such it still retains its status of one of the fan favourites for gamers of the 80’s.

So, what’s it all about? Dizzy has been marooned on a treasure island and the aim of the game is to simply make your way off of the island. Similar to the TV series Lost but not so pretentious or confusing. The game does a really great job of leading you in to the puzzle solving. Can’t get up a cliff, no problem, find something to stand on. Can’t survive in the water, find yourself a snorkel. Its really not long at all before you start getting obsessed with the puzzles. You need this item to open this place or another item to perform an action in this area to unlock another area to find the item you needed 4 screens ago. What we’re looking at here is the grandfather of all fetch quest platforming puzzle games. The puzzles are so tantalisingly simple in their appearance yet will really require you to learn the map layouts, where all of the items are and how they should be used and in which order. What may look very much like a standard cartoon platformer is actually a masterpiece of puzzle design.

What really ramps up the challenge is the inventory system. Dizzy can carry 3 items at a time despite having no discernable storage areas on his person. Unlike most inventories Dizzy can only pick up and put down items in order on a first in first out basis. So if you need to get across the sea to the other island yet need to pick up an item on the way you must ensure you don’t pack the snorkel first. If you need to traverse water, use an item and collect another then you’re going to have to think even harder when you are on dry land. It’s not just about knowing which item you need it’s the fore planning that you need that make Treasure Island Dizzy a real head-scratching experience to play. The game is littered with clues but even then you’re going to need a special aptitude for this type of game to get the best from it. Throw in to the mix that there are also 30 gold coins to collect and you begin to understand the many layers that Treasure island Dizzy has to offer.

If you know what you’re doing The game can be beaten in around 30 minutes. I’ve uploaded my play through on the Insert Disk Game Play Channel for your viewing pleasure. End-to-end Treasure Island Dizzy provides a somewhat unique experience for the time. There had of course been fetch quest puzzle games before, Treasure Island Dizzy was perhaps the first to really nail down all of the elements of treasure hunting the items, performing a fetch quest and solving inventory puzzles. Many of these elements are still used in games even to this day. We owe a lot to this unassuming egg shaped mascot. For Amiga fans, Codemasters collectors and general Dizzy buffs Treasure Island Dizzy is very much worth collecting in its physical form. The Amiga edition comes in the standard clear Codemasters case and sits really well along other titles in the series and the Codemasters back catalogue. The 87% review score by Crash magazine still feels a little low in my opinion. The game is very solid all be it a little cryptic at times. Inside you’ll find the floppy disk. Other than a small initial print run all will say version 2. I’ve personally never seen a first edition so I think its safe to assume that these are reasonably rare.

What you do get with the inlay is the context to the adventure. I’ll share with you the back story as to how Dizzy found himself on the island. Dizzy was looking forward to the round-the-world cruise. When the other Yolkfolk heard about the good deal he found, they wondered just what lay ahead of him… Dizzy enjoyed the cruise at first, The captain Long John Silver, was a lovely old bloke with a kindly manner, good at insulting and degrading the fare paying punters. He was well balanced – he had a parrot on one shoulder and a chip on the other. Dizzy thought he would organize a game of cricket on the aft deck. In a fit of blinding stupidity he used LJ’s spare leg collection as makeshift stumps, and when they were lost overboard he was made to walk the plank! That was how he came to find himself gently poaching on the silent, sun-kissed beach of seemingly deserted island… He had to somehow find a way back to the Yolkfolk and lodge his compensation claim with the travel agent…

There’s something very British about this humour. That slightly edge of nonsense used to set up a game. Hopefully by now you’re falling for the charms of dizzy and want to put this one in your collection. Pricing for Treasure Island Dizzy has held very stable over the years. Released at £4.99 and on a good day you will pay that as a collector now. What might be surprising though is the comparative price between Treasure Island Dizzy and the previous years spin-off Fast Food. Treasure Island was released at just £4.99 yet Fast Food retailed for £6.99 at launch. Compare this to Codemaster Rockstar Ate my Hamster also at priced £4.99 it would seem that Codemasters had initially been over ambitious with the demand for Fast Food and subsequently dropped the price of their main series titles downwards to increase sales.

Personally Treasure Island Dizzy represents a really great age of gaming and I’ll always most associate it with the Commodore Amiga. This is definitely a title that deserves a lot more recognition than it perhaps sometimes gets. That’s not to say that it isn’t without its issues. The control system is perhaps the area where most point fingers. Dizzy being an egg tends to have quite a large looping jump cycle which can get you in to trouble if you’re not careful. The difficulty in some of the puzzles will almost certainly frustrate those with short attention spans. Collecting al 30 coins is also a little challenging. Since most things kill Dizzy with 1 hit in the game why would you think to get eaten by a fish for an extra coin?

If you grew up with this type of game though then you’re really going to be in for a treat whether you are revisiting this one or picking it up for the first time. Prior to making this episode I hadn’t played the game end-to-end in some time although I could still complete it from memory for the play through video. There is a notion of a “true ending” to the game. Remember those coins we were collecting earlier? Well, you’ll need all 30 to pay the greedy shop keeper the tax you owe him at the end of the game. 27, so close! You can of course go back and find the final coins if you wish although the final message is very much the same either way. To be honest I can’t actually remember where they are so 27 it is then.

Interestingly the box callouts it mentions secret cheat modes. It’s as if to say, we put them in there we might as well market them.
Type “eggsonlegs” and you’ll get an invincibility mode
Zero gravity mode by typing “icanfly”
or high jumps by typing “eggsonaspring”

None of these cheats will help you particularly as you will still have to complete the puzzles but as an added easter egg is a nice feature. If you are in to your easter eggs you can also find graffiti by the artists. In the final temple of doom sequence the name “Rob” is inscribed on the stonework. Highly likely to be the work of graphic artist Robbie Graham. From start to finish Treasure Island Dizzy is a really well put together self-contained adventure. Later game sin the core series such as Prince of the Yolkfolk, Magicland Dizzy, Fantastic Dizzy and Crystal Kingdom Dizzy may steal the limelight at times but I’ll always have a bit of a soft spot for the game that provided such an important stepping stone for their development. If you’re a retro gamer looking for some classic 19080’s treasure then look no further than Treasure Island Dizzy on the Commodore Amiga.

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