SummaryThe Dizzy series really opens up
The GoodThe story is as simple as usual (Dizzy games were never complicated in terms of storyline) - here it's the "Dizzy saves his girlfriend" type - but nevertheless, from now on the games get more interesting, get a life of their own. Dizzy's first adventure and "Treasure Island Dizzy" felt lonely in some way (especially the first game, but maybe it's because I didn't like it, it's probably my least favorite Dizzy game), now there are many more characters: the troll, the shopkeeper... and of course the Yolkfolk! Now Dizzy has a family, including Grand Dizzy, Dizzy's girlfriend (and probably also cousin) Daisy, Denzil the cool, Dylan the hippie, Dozy the sleepy one... In some later games the family grows yet a bit more. In the first two games Dizzy was all alone most of the time and had no family (which is why some fans interpret this as the first two games not really being about the Dizzy we have known and loved, but rather about Grand Dizzy's adventures in his youth).
The graphics are pretty decent for 1989. The color palette is quite modest, but already goes beyond EGA limitations. There is even place for little touches such as splashing waterdrops on a few screens where it's raining. The graphics generally have a pleasant, summer day feeling.
While the game doesn't allow saving - just like all Dizzy games up to the fan-made ones - "Fantasy World Dizzy" is short enough not to make it too problematic. However, getting used to where the hazards are can take a bit of time, so players probably won't be able to complete it at once. A few places are more difficult (especially the first dragon and the hawk), but usually avoiding danger isn't too hard.
The BadI generally liked the graphics, but the characters themselves are rather ugly. I disliked Daisy's huge lips, Dozy's languid position (even though it suits his sleepiness) and the relatively long and thin hands of pretty much all characters. The standard version of Dizzy - both on 8-bit computers and on the type of DOS Dizzy introduced with "Magicland" - seems to have palms and feet growing right out of his shell with characteristic red gloves and shoes (despite this Dizzy seems fairly dexterous, only once does the game mention: "Knock and enter - It's easier said than done when you're wearing boxing gloves"), in this game he also has those long and thin limbs, moving in a way which seems to indicate lack of strength to move them up. (By the way, Dizzy wasn't originally planned to be an egg, but rather just a face with hands and feet. Fans interpreted it as an egg and the Oliver Twins held on to this interpretation, adding puns such as "Yolkfolk" or "eggciting".)
At this time the energy bar hasn't been introduced yet - in "Magicland" Dizzy only loses some energy if he touches a hazard such as a flame of a bird, in "Fantasy World Dizzy" any contact with a hazard means immediate death. However, some death animations are quite funny - especially Dizzy getting fried by a torch - and cheating isn't difficult.
"Fantasy World Dizzy" is the only Dizzy game to have an in-built map showing locations of collectable coins (you find it towards the end of the game, in the cloud castle), yet a few of these coins remain hard to find - those two which are hidden behind the leaves require standing at a precisely defined spot to be able to grab them.
Unlike later Dizzy games, "Fantasy World Dizzy" doesn't have music. A simple PC speaker melody plays for a while before you press "P to play game", but during the game itself only some more or less annoying sound effects are heard.
The game seems relatively technically demanding, in the opposite sense than usual - much more limited to older computers than most Dizzy games and DOS games generally. Already around 1995 it didn't work on my computer anymore - it seems that already at that time it would have required an emulator (anyway, at that time I didn't even know something like this existed and maybe emulators weren't even really accessible - the Web wasn't so developed and I personally didn't have Internet access until 1998). Now it is also harder to get this game to run than in case of most games of its period. Of course, I need an emulator such as DOSBox to play DOS games (on my old laptop, produced around 1998, some DOS games worked OK without an emulator), but "Fantasy World Dizzy" also requires a short path, in line with standards of its era such as folder names not exceeding eight characters.
The Bottom LineI will always have a sentiment for this game because it was the first Dizzy game I played. It isn't the best Dizzy game, but it also surely isn't the worst. It's interesting to play it also just to compare graphics - it's the first stage of development of "PC Dizzy graphics" style, so there is much difference between this game and later ones such as "Magicland Dizzy" or "Prince of the Yolkfolk".