All Together Then: The Excellent Dizzy Collection

Gaming's foremost egg scrambles onto the Game Gear

He's an egg, he's an egg, he's an egg. Dizzy's many eggciting adventures used to thrill British gamers back in t'day. We were (and still are) a simple people, thrilled to see a breakfast foodstuff as quintessential as the humble kipper don boxing gloves and leap around solving puzzles. You see, Dizzy is no ordinary egg. He's an egg with shoes and a face. And boxing gloves, as previously mentioned. This choice of handwear raises questions about his inventory-based gameplay - for one, how on earth does he carry stuff around in those imprecise pugilism gauntlets? My suggestion is that he's just that good and he needs to give himself an intentional handicap in order to make his many adventures more challenging. And my word, they're challenging.

We come, then, to The Excellent Dizzy Collection for Sega's dimunitive Game Gear. Immediately we hit upon the problem that they've gone and put a superlative in the title. A recipe for disaster, because it immediately puts me on a defensive. It's like if you made a compilation of all the Aero the Acro-bat games and called it The F("Frightfully" - Ed) Superb Aero the Acro-Bat Collection. It's just presumptuous. If they had any intellectual honesty, which they don't, Codemasters would have called it The Frankly Quite Disappointing, But Nonetheless Far From Unenjoyable Dizzy Collection.

Dizzy the Adventurer is clean, clever and comical. Good stuff!

In fact, for a series known for his platforming adventures, it's a shock to one's system that TEDC only includes one (1) such experience; Dizzy the Adventurer, a port of Dizzy's sixth such effort, Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk. It's probably the easiest, most straightforward Dizzy, but that's no bad thing given the generally insane challenge the series presents. You'll journey through a fairy tale-inspired world solving fairly simple puzzles, with only a modicum of the inventory-juggling silliness you usually get in these Dizzy shenanigans. There's so much backtracking through the compact world that even though you can only carry three things in Dizzy's pack (as is tradition), you're never more than a minute or so away from retrieving everything you need. It's great fun once you get past its control quirks - until you get the hang of it, good luck crossing the river on the motorboat. Dizzy will roll right over the bow and DROWN TO EGGY DEATH.

Go! Dizzy Go! is a charming and playable little arcade game.

Also included is Go! Dizzy Go!, an entertaining cross between Adventures of Lolo, Chip's Challenge and Pac-Man, mixing up maze-focused action with slippy-slidey ice puzzles that see you unable to change Dizzy's direction once he's begun moving. The collectable items also flash in the order you're intended to collect them, allowing for Bomb Jack style high-scoring. It's surprisingly varied and enjoyable given how utterly basic it is, and it looks really rather clean and nice on the Game Gear's notoriously crap screen.

Lastly you get Panic! Dizzy, ostensibly a port of the invertedly-named Dizzy Panic for ZX Spectrum (and other, lesser microcomputers), but in fact a brand new and stultifyingly unejoyable game. It's a very basic puzzler that requires you to line up shapes and match them horizontally (and only horizontally), but there's no tension or sense of ingenuity. You also get a couple of alternate modes including an absolutely baffling "Dizzy Dice" variant that I couldn't get my head round in the slightest, and a singlarly god-awful "Picture Puzzler" game that's a little bit like Magical Drop, but closer to Magical Droppings.

Panic! Dizzy, and it appears that even our hero has fallen asleep.

It's an accomplished little cart from Codemasters, with some surprisingly clear sampled speech that was nonetheless very obviously recorded by the tea lady on her lunch hour. It looks great throughout, suffering from very little blur or crushed pixels, prioritising smaller sprites on a clearer playing field than most of the Sega handheld's library could be arsed with doing. It's worth buying for its first two games, but steer well clear of Panic! Dizzy lest you find yourself eggstremely eggravated!