Dizzy went out with a bang!
This is the biggest and most varied Dizzy game (at least when only counting the original games - some Dizzy AGE fan games, for example "Illusion Island Dizzy" by Jamie Douglas, can take even longer to complete). As most Dizzy games, it isn't too complicated in terms of storyline, but makes nice use of ideas from previous games. Parts of the plot or at least just item uses from pretty much all previous games are repeated here: "Jack and the Beanstalk" inspirations and the cloud castle - "Fantasy World Dizzy"! Frozen Denzil or Dora turned into a frog - "Magicland"! Standing on a chest to jump on a cliff - "Treasure Island Dizzy"! Also one of the minigames, with Dizzy jumping on bubbles to get out of the water, has been used as a separate game, part of the "Dizzy arcade series".
In almost all Dizzy games there are some "collectables" beside usable items - Dizzy has to collect a given number of something to be able to proceed in the end. Some of them were hidden - coins behind the leaves in "Fantasy World Dizzy", cherries in a treehouse or behind a radio in "Prince of the Yolkfolk". Here there are a whole 250 magic stars and luckily none of them are hidden. Which doesn't mean they are always easy to find - it's not unlikely to overlook some of them - especially in the mine cart minigame. Usually stars "tell" you which direction to choose, but a few junctions aren't that well made - maybe they weren't tried out by the developers from the point of view of star visibility? Anyway, sometimes you need to choose direction without yet being able to see any stars in one of these directions. And it isn't obvious if you can retry it - see "The Bad".
Anyway, as I have pointed out, it's the most varied Dizzy game. It consists of several "worlds": the Yolkfolk village, the town, the mine, the sea... It also includes three minigames: "Bubble Dizzy", crossbow shooting and the mine cart ride, plus the sliding puzzle to win extra lives. It's a pity that yet another minigame known from the two NES versions, "Dizzy Down the Rapids", wasn't included in other versions. When you move between various parts of the game, the change is also mode clear by a change in music.
By the way, the melodies are really beautiful. The graphics too. This game has the most detailed backgrounds of any Dizzy game and is the only original Dizzy game to have a day-night system. The sky and other parts of the background change color as time passes - the sky is yellow and blue in the morning, yellow and pink in the afternoon, blue and orange-brown in the evening and dark blue in the night. However, this beauty comes at a certain price: no more versions for 8-bit computers. "Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy" only had versions for computers and consoles that allowed excellent (DOS, Amiga, Genesis) or at least good (NES) graphic quality.
Definitely the biggest drawback is no save options. Maybe the authors thought: "This HAS to be difficult!". Or maybe: "Dizzy games are adventure-arcade hybrids and arcade games usually don't have a save option". Anyway, what was OK in smaller games that could be completed in an hour when you already know what to do, is quite problematic in such a large game. For me a game of this size seems clearly too big not to allow saving.
(Let me compare it to the situation with a few other games. I have a set of Amiga Dizzy games with an in-built emulator. However, it's pretty hard for my computer, which tends to overheat like all laptops. I can complete the whole Amiga version of "Prince of the Yolkfolk" in one go, but it's completely impossible with bigger games such as "Spellbound Dizzy" - the computer will sooner overheat and shut itself down. Luckily, the Amiga emulator allows saving. If my computer found DOS games as hard to process, I wouldn't be able to finish this one.)
As I already mentioned, there is a problem with repeating the mine cart ride if you complete it without collecting all stars. It may be just a bug - anyway, I've had this situation once and I discovered that the first mine lift remained on the lower level and couldn't be called back. So when you go to the mine cart, better find a map on the Internet, complete all other tasks in the mine and have one free slot in your inventory...
The game is sometimes too easy. Lots of items are just laying about, close to the place where they are used. Of course, not all of them - there are items you have to carry a long way before you can use them - but some are just too close. To free Denzil you need a bit of wood and a match - OK, the match is found quite far away, but the wood is almost next to Denzil's hut. For me it seems too many items are just scattered about and too few are won through actions.
The Bottom Line
This game is different than most Dizzy games. It features some purely technical changes, such as side-scrolling instead of separate screens (in most Dizzy games those screens also have their titles) or several melodies in one game. However, first of all it's so varied it often feels like several games in one. This was already the end of official Dizzy games for many years, so fans can at least be happy that the series concluded with such good games as "Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy" and "Crystal Kingdom Dizzy". And it were fans who kept the "Dizzy brand" alive despite the official publishers for years not showing interest in bringing Dizzy back.