Treasure Island Dizzy
Description official descriptions
This is Dizzy's second adventure. Dizzy is a cute little egg character who must explore the strange magic kingdom that is Treasure Island, solving problems and puzzles in order to escape from there. Dizzy must journey through haunted mines, tree villages, and underwater caverns in order to find hidden treasures. They will be used as bargain items to buy parts for the boat. The secondary goal is to collect 30 coins so he can pay the bribe in order to safely get off the island.
Unlike the other installments in the series the player has only one life without any energy bars to complete the game and is unable to select any particular item from the inventory for use. Items are rolled up through the inventory so the top one is used or dropped.
Credits (ZX Spectrum version)
Average score: 79% (based on 8 ratings)
Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 44 ratings with 2 reviews)
Now that I've played the Amiga version as well (through a modified WinUAE emulator that allows running the game as easily as a Windows-based one), I can review it too.
The graphics are just beautiful - especially the treehouse village with lots of flowers covering the forest floor, but also the shipwreck and some ancient temple behind the pirates' hideout which remains inaccessible until you get an item that allows you to pass through flame... There are almost no people on the island(s) (albeit for the shopkeeper and his brother at the very end), only some bees and sea animals, yet the somewhat uneasy mood of the 8-bit versions is replaced by an atmosphere reminding of summer holidays.
While the tricky inventory system remains, the game is a bit easier to play than the Spectrum version. I'm not sure if this problem also appeared in the native Spectrum version (I played "Treasure Island Dizzy" through some online Spectrum emulator that turned it into a browser game), but sometimes pressing "Action" to get the coin triggered two events at once, as if the key was pressed twice (I'm quite sure it wasn't - now, after having played the Amiga version, even more) - say, you picked up the coin, but also dropped the item at the top of the inventory. If it happens underwater, it can be simply dangerous because you can unintentionally drop the snorkel - unlike some other games, such as "Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy" (where Dizzy can hold his breath underwater for a while), here it means sudden death.
The story has been changed a bit. Some items have been changed (for example vintage brandy instead of a microwave oven), some puzzles have slightly different solutions and a few areas have been added - a fish's stomach (you have to get swallowed by a fish to find one of the coins), clouds over the totem pole, an island in the sky and the above mentioned ancient temple. So altogether the game is a bit bigger than the Spectrum version and it remains a surprise even if you remember well how were all puzzles solved.
Just as in the Spectrum version and generally in all versions of this game: the inventory system is tricky. You can't drop any item you want to, you always drop the item at the top of the list. This requires planning in order not to get stuck and especially not to drop the snorkel underwater...
Coin locations vary slightly between different versions and many coins are hidden. You can spend a lot of time wandering to find all the coins and some are found in a way you probably wouldn't guess without reading about it: by jumping on bees (but only the purple ones!) and by getting swallowed by a fish. This is hard to guess since "Treasure Island Dizzy", a game without an energy bar, quickly makes players develop a reflex of avoiding any suspected dangers. However, the hidden coins are still a bit easier to find in terms of "inventory planning" (again, compared to the Spectrum version) - you only have to hit the "Action" key in the right place to make them appear, while in the Spectrum version you picked up the item obscuring it (for example a piece of tree bark), took the coin and put the item back, which of course created another opportunity for messing up something in your inventory...
The Bottom Line
It's amazing how much does the mood change with a change of graphics. Of course, the change is substantial - Amiga had much bigger possibilities in terms of graphics - but the gameplay isn't changed much, it's the same story. And yet the mood is completely different. In the Spectrum version it's quite uneasy, desolate - the black background surely has much influence (it's rather conventional, but still leaves the impression that everything is happening in the night). The Amiga version is sunny, happy, even joyful and even tedious inventory doesn't spoil this atmosphere of a summer adventure.
It's definitely worth trying both versions - it's almost as if they were two different games.
Amiga · by Nowhere Girl (8679) · 2012
Not much to say about the graphics - Spectrum just didn't offer the technical possibilities for good graphics. (The Amiga version is much better, but I haven't played this one.) Nowadays it can be played by people who own neither and old Spectrum machine nor a Spectrum emulator in two ways: with an online emulator (such a version is found on the Polish Dizzy site, dizzy.pl) or as a Dizzy AGE remake. The latter version has slightly improved graphics - the tree bark is brown and not red, no more merging of other colors with white surfaces (such as Dizzy himself or some items)... far from what Dizzy AGE graphics can look like (now games are being made which are still based on the Spectrum variant of Dizzy graphics, but with beautiful effects such as shading and transparency), but clearly better than the original.
Despite being difficult to play and plan, the game is quite fun when you learn how to pass some (intellectually) tighter points. It doesn't have much story - Dizzy is on an island and has to find a way to get back home - but anyway, even without graphics to appreciate and without a more inventive story, the island does seem intriguing.
An interesting detail are advertisements for other games. Some "scrolls" found throughout the game don't offer information or hints about the surroundings, but just let you know there is another interesting game. At first I found it rather annoying, but later, when "collecting" Easter eggs in Sierra games, I started to appreciate all kinds of inter-game references.
For a relatively simple adventure-arcade game it requires much planning. It's mostly caused by two factors: only a single life available and the specific inventory system. In the most classic Dizzy adventures such as "Fantasy World Dizzy", "Magicland Dizzy" or "Prince of the Yolkfolk" the system is simple: you press a key to bring up the menu and choose and item - the inventory is much smaller than in "pure" adventure games, but as easy to use. In "Treasure Island Dizzy" the inventory is on the top of the screen and you always first drop the item on the top of the list. In "Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy" this kind of inventory system returned, but there taking off the scuba diving set under water didn't mean immediate death - Dizzy simply could spend just a little time holding his breath. In "Treasure Island Dizzy" there is no energy bar and just a single life, so you had to watch out to have the snorkel on the bottom of the item menu when going into the water. This makes playing the game more complicated - in a typical Dizzy adventure a la "Magicland" it's simple: the "give x to Y to get z" type of puzzle. In "Treasure Island Dizzy" item order is very important in some places.
As for the single life (maybe realistic, but quite a shock compared with lots of available lives in the first Dizzy adventure), I've read an explanation saying that traps in the tree village caused some complications and authors decided to avoid them by eliminating extra lives. To be honest, I don't "buy" this explanation... Anyway, just one life, no energy bar and an unforgiving inventory system combine to make "Treasure Island Dizzy" a kind of game where a single mistake means starting all over again.
Fortunately, when you get used to it and plan everything along with item order, the game isn't very difficult anymore - movement of dangerous animals and objects is foreseeable.
The Bottom Line
The game is quite hard due to lots of planning associated with item order, however when you get used to it, it can rather be perceived as an interesting challenge, a "strategic" element to the game. Anyway, it's just the beginning of the Dizzy series and the Oliver Twins (the creators of Dizzy) were still teenagers, so it seems they were using some trial and error to find a good balance between challenge and fun. Later they didn't repeat such a combination of obstacles as in this game, so I guess fans must have complained about them.
ZX Spectrum · by Nowhere Girl (8679) · 2012
Amiga version inlay
The French and German instructions on the inlay of the Amiga version tell to insert the BMX Simulator disk.
In December 2004, Codemasters released the C64 version of the game for Windows machines, using the CCS-C64 emulator, as a Christmas gift.
- Commodore Format
- November 1994 (Issue 50) – #47 in The All-Time Top 50 C64 Games
Information also contributed by Martin Smith.
Related Sites +
Features lots of information on the various Dizzy games
DizzyAGE is a set of tools used to create Dizzy games in the classic adventure style. Visit the official website and you can download Dizzy fan games, including remakes of some of the originals.
NES Player - Treasure Island Dizzy
Shrine site with information about the game.
- MobyGames ID: 3137
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Kartanym.
Game added January 26th, 2001. Last modified August 17th, 2023.