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The Great Giana Sisters

Moby ID: 11582
Commodore 64 Specs

Description official description

The Great Giana Sisters is a 2D side-scrolling arcade game like Nintendo's Super Mario Bros.

After a long and deep sleep, Giana finds herself in a mysterious and evil dreamworld where everything is strange and different.

In 32 levels, Giana has to fight against bad monsters, huge spiders and lots of other creatures to find a magic diamond that makes it possible to return to her own world.

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Credits (Commodore 64 version)

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Average score: 81% (based on 20 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 73 ratings with 2 reviews)

Great sound, but not much after that

The Good
Chris Huelsbeck did a good job with the sound design of this game.

The Bad
Its a copy of Super Mario Brothers, thats why it was pulled from shelves after 2 days of release (Nintendo stepped in, threatened to sue, etc;). The levels were a bit too short.

The Bottom Line
You are not missing much by playing this game.

Commodore 64 · by Scott G (765) · 2005

The game Nintendo doesn't want you to play.

The Good
In 1985, Nintendo released their popular Super Mario Bros. game to the public, and it was the first true platform game for any system. Although the game was a huge success, Nintendo only released the game for their NES but they had no intentions of porting this over to other systems at the time. Time Warp, a little known German company, created The Great Giana Sisters as a result, and their brand new game was very similar to SMB, but they wanted something original, rather than the commonly used theme of rescuing the princess held captive in a castle.

Time Warp had the character having a dream where they are exploring a land infested with monsters, dragons, wasps, and the like; and the only way to escape the land is to find a magic diamond. But in addition to this change, Mario was replaced by a punk named Giana, the enemies and power-ups were different, and both the blocks with the scrolling question marks and the flag at the end of each level was not shown. Thus, The Great Giana Sisters was born.

In Giana Sisters, the first few levels are similar to SMB; but from then on, the game introduces its own elements ranging from platforms that collapse under your feet TO blocks that turn into boulders when you bump into them. These elements add challenge to the level; and if you are not paying attention, you could lose a life. There are more power-ups that include regular, bouncing, and homing shots. Although you can kill monsters with these three shots, enemies like piranhas are invincible to these shots. You have to jump over them again, and this add to the challenge. The places that they can be found are very narrow. and they are difficult to pass by just jumping over them.

The title picture looks colorful with the main enemies around Giana and the yellow castle in the distance. The words that make up the title are written in Doctor Who style (at the time when Sylvester McCoy appeared in the series). Giana is seen wearing a red T-shirt and a blue mini-skirt; her breasts show underneath the T-shirt. She looks more revealing than she does as you are playing the game.

In my opinion, Giana looks so much colorful than Mario, and the monsters look exactly the same as they are in SMB. Giana herself grows a mohawk that looks good on her when she collects the first power-up. The light-blue background for the levels is not spectacular as the backgrounds that are used in future games, but that bland background is also used in SMB and I didn't notice this as I played through the entire game.

When it comes to music, I believe that Giana Sisters has an excellent soundtrack, starting from the melody you hear on the title screen right down to the actual game play. The sound effects are similar to what you hear on SMB. I enjoyed listening to Giana's screams when you lose one of her lives. The controls are easy to follow since they are the same as those in SMB's.

The Bad

The Bottom Line
The Great Giana Sisters is a very good game which plays similar to SMB for the first three or so levels, then moves away and introduces different elements to make the game more challenging. The graphics and sound is great, and the controls are easy to follow.

The differences were not good enough for Nintendo as demanded the game be withdrawn from sale. They wanted the 2D side-scrolling platform genre all to themselves. This incident led to the cancellation of the ZX Spectrum release. But it was too late: everyone made illegal copies of the game before Nintendo got involved, and the joke was on Nintendo.

Amiga · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2009


Subject By Date
There wasn't an arcade version? Isaac Viana Tapias Jan 9th, 2015
Amstrad port: Super rare, or never released? Trypticon (11013) Sep 22nd, 2011



The game was commissioned by the CEO of Electronic Arts, Marc Ulrich who requested a game similar to Super Mario Bros. There was a gap in the market as there were no games of that type available on home computers at the time. The development team based their new game on extensive play of the NES Mario title. It took around 6 or 7 months to write the game.

Never released ports

Although the three versions featured here did (briefly) hit the shelves, no Spectrum version did. While one was definitely planned, some within the company claim that nothing was ever done towards it. If this is the case, Crash! magazine have some explaining to do, as not only did they review it, they gave it 90%.

A CPC conversion was also planned and the situation is very similar. At least one magazine reviewed it (Amstrad 100 pour cent), this port is however circulating in unfinished form, apparently leaked.

Problems with Nintendo

The game is almost an exact copy of Nintendo's Super Mario Brothers, with some additions. The play mechanics are almost exactly the same, and graphics are superficially similar. While it is sometimes alleged that Nintendo sued Rainbow Arts and this led to the game being pulled out of the market, developer Armin Gessert stated in an interview (published in a "Classic Gaming" special by German magazine PC Action) that he did not know about any such legal action. It was sufficient that Nintendo got in contact with Rainbow Arts, and let them know their view on the matter before possibly taking more drastic measures. After being taken off the shelves, Giana Sisters was one of the most popular pirated games, though. Many years later, Nintendo took a different, much more relaxed position concerning the Giana Sisters DS game according to Gessert.

Gianna or Giana

The title should target the original mario brothers. The rainbow arts boss was fan of Gianna Nannini and the "sisters" was the counterpart of "brothers". But the airbrush artists made an error with the title screen and has put only one "n" in the picture. In some cracked version the original "gianna sisters" are present. (source: Interview with Chris Hülsbeck on 2020-12-05).

UK National Computer Games Championship 1988

¶ The Commodore 64 version was used as competition game in the qualifiers for the computer gaming contest in the UK in 1988. The game was played for high-score.¶


  • Commodore Force
    • December 1993 (Issue 13) – #56 “Readers' Top 100”

Information also contributed by Martin Smith .

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by 80.

iPhone added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: WWWWolf, Trypticon, wingi, MrFlibble, Jo ST, FatherJack, ZeTomes, 64er.

Game added January 5th, 2004. Last modified September 30th, 2023.