With all profits from the sale of this cartridge going to The National Videogame Museum – which is a worthy and excellent recipient, given its focus on game preservation – […]
With all profits from the sale of this cartridge going to The National Videogame Museum – which is a worthy and excellent recipient, given its focus on game preservation – it seems like there’s already a really good reason to recommend picking up The Oliver Twins Collection.
Yet there’s many more. The Oliver Twins were famed for their 80s and 90s output on home computers, with their Dizzy series in particular earning them legions of fans and catapulting them to stardom. Naturally, this collection heavily features their DIzzy games – what we have here for the most part are NES ports of a selection of games from their oeuvre, rather than the slightly more dated originals.
Seven of the included titles feature Dizzy – and there’s even a spin-off featuring Pogie, Dizzy’s pet. Outside of those titles, there’s also top-down, single-screen racer Professional BMX Simulator, top-down helicopter shoot ’em up Firehawk and charming platformer Super Robin Hood.
One thing almost all of the titles have in common is that they’re pretty damn challenging. Of the non-Dizzy titles, the one I had most fun with was Super Robin Hood; I really struggled to get into the groove of Professional BMX Simulator – which can be overly punishing for the player and too forgiving for the super skilled AI – and, try as I might, I just didn’t find Firehawk to be that much fun. I spent more time wrestling with the controls of my chopper (oo-er!) than anything else.
Thankfully, however, that focus on the Dizzy games is a welcome one. Though some of the Dizzy titles can occasionally feel cheap with their hazards and perhaps a bit obtuse with their puzzles – not to mention the annoyance of Dizzy’s rolling after a jump – they still have bags of charm and when the puzzles work, they’re genuinely satisfying to solve. So the Dizzy adventure titles, despite spanning a good few years, are all worth playing.
They’re also elevated somewhat by the Evercade’s save state function (with cheap deaths, no save points or password system, save scumming is highly recommended to avoid needless repeating of huge chunks of each game); without this, they may have been a lot more frustrating than they are on this particular console. So, in alphabetical order, those excellent adventures are: Dizzy the Adventurer, The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy, Mystery World Dizzy (which was actually long lost and unreleased until 2017!), Treasure Island Dizzy and Wonderland Dizzy (another rescued title that didn’t surface until 2015).
The other Dizzy titles are from different genres: Go! Dizzy Go! is a Pac-Man-esque maze game with some neat, block-pushing mechanics and power ups, Panic Dizzy is a five game compilation of mini-games and Dreamworld Pogie is a Dizzy-adjacent platformer that was rediscovered in its incomplete form in 2011, then finished by the dedicated fan community in 2017. All are well worth your time.
So despite the non-Dizzy titles being a bit frustrating more than anything else, The Oliver Twins Collection is full of great adventures – just make sure to keep on saving when you’re out and about in Dizzy’s various worlds!
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