The Dizzy games are great, and one of the best things about them is that they don’t get too stuck in a formula. Sure, the best known games are the arcade adventure installments — but there’s plenty of other interesting Dizzy games, too.
One of my all-time favourites is Kwik Snax, which combines elements of Bomb Jack and Pengo to create an arcade-style experience with its own distinct feel that I’m very fond of.
Red Max! It’s nothing to do with Blue Max, if you were wondering, though I was always curious about that back in the day.
Nope, instead Red Max is a top-down sci-fi motorbike adventure in which you drive around a spaceship in an attempt to defuse mines, fix reactors and wake up hibernating crew members. It’s very hard, but it has great music, a beautifully rendered dashboard panel and a tiny view window.
Helicopters are cool. At least they used to be in the ’80s and early ’90s. I’m not sure we’d get a TV show where the helicopter was the star today.
Anyway, with how fashionable helicopters were in this time period, it’s not surprising that we got a fair few video games where helicopters played a leading role. And one such example was FireHawk, developed by the Oliver Twins and published by Codemasters and Camerica in 1991 as an unlicensed cartridge for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
While the Dizzy games are primarily associated with the 8-bit microcomputer platforms for many people, a lot of them came out on the 16-bit computers, too.
Third title Fast Food deviated from the traditional “arcade adventure” format of the series, instead providing a maze-based munch ’em up in which the things you are tasked with munching are all moving around as much as you are. K.C. Munchkin would be proud.
The Oliver Twins are an important part of British gaming history, and Super Robin Hood is a particularly noteworthy title — its original incarnation on the Amstrad CPC was the duo’s first commercially successful game, and the first of many games Codemasters would publish for them.
The version of Super Robin Hood we find on the Oliver Twins Collectioncartridge for Blaze’s Evercade retro gaming system is a substantial reimagining of this game rather than a note-for-note remake. The original Amstrad CPC version came out in 1986 while the twins were still at school, whereas the NES incarnation found on the Evercade cart hit the market in 1992. This was after the boys had decided to do this programming thing full time — and after they’d really figured out a few things about what makes a solid game from a design perspective. At least their poor old CPC didn’t have to work 23-hour days any more!
While the twins’ myriad Dizzy titles are their more well-known work, there’s a lot to like about Super Robin Hood — particularly this later reimagining. So let’s take a closer look!
One of my recent discoveries in this genre was Fuel, a game developed by Asobo Studio and published by Codemasters. If Asobo Studio’s name sounds familiar, it’s because they’re the developers behind the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator. Turns out they’ve been making spectacularly huge, fully explorable open worlds for quite a long time now — although Fuel “only” offers a play area roughly the size of Connecticut rather than the whole Earth.
Today we have a game that absolutely, definitely is not Super Sprint, so there.
Yes, it’s CodeMasters’ Grand Prix Simulator, a game that was unironically designed to be “BMX Simulator with cars” and a game that just happens to bear a passing resemblance to Atari Games’ classic top-down racer.
Featuring digitised speech, bricks on wheels and some of the slipperiest handling this side of Vanilla Lake in Super Mario Kart, this game is a good time — albeit one you’ll need a bit of practice to master!
The best of overlooked and underappreciated computer and video games, from yesterday and today