Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Spindizzy'

Rating:4 User: Digital Prawn

Surely this is one of the ultimate tests of dexterity on the speccy? Spindizzy takes the Marble Madness/Gyroscope idea to the next level as you control a probe craft around a newly-discovered dimension in space. Well that's the backstory, but essentially this "new dimension" really looks like a standard isometric Marble Madness screen apart from the fact that this game is one huge flip-screen level consisting of over 380 interconnected rooms and you have to collect gems, of which there are a few hundred in total.

The nod to the previous games couldn't be more blatant as you can press a key to toggle between three different player sprites. The default is an upside-down pyramid which presumably is the probe ship in it's "native" form. There's also (funnily enough) a marble and gyroscope available. Choice of sprite does not affect the gameplay in any way whatsoever but I think it is great that the player can choose one depending on which previous game they may feel attached to. Personally I prefer to play as the marble as I just find it easier. It isn't really easier, but I'll happily take the "placebo effect" of it seeming easier.

Originally I played this game a lot on the C64, as I happened to own the tape (yep, from the second hand shop again!). So naturally, I visited the Lemon 64 site and noted that the reviewer there awarded this game 6/10 which would equate to 3/5 on this website. I agree with the reason the reviewer uses to award the game a middling score - namely that it is cruelly difficult. It's beyond debate I think that Spindizzy is a very difficult game on all platforms. I mean some of the rooms very near to the starting place are exceptionally difficult. So, this is not the sort of game you can just casually fire up in an emulator, check it out for five minutes, as certainly you won't really get very far. However, after some hours of play, you will start to get the knack and be able to cope with ramps and lifts etc.. a little better. You'll get a feel for the controls. So, overal I think given enough time by the tenacious player, the game deserves a four. I think the most difficult thing is stopping the craft, particularly on sloping surfaces. There is a "freeze key" which nicely instantaneously halts your craft for you, but be careful to only ever use it on flat surfaces as if you use it on a slope, your time will drain at a frighteningly fast rate.

The time limit is enough to keep you on your toes, so much so that when you first start to play the game, you may only complete around 4% of the game or so due to running out of time. Apart from misuse of the freeze key, time is also lost for falling off the edge of the world. Time is regained by collecting the gems. Apart from the definable keys you can also use keys 1,2,3,4 to rotate the room viewpoint. There's also a key to show you your current score and one to show you the entire map and how much of it you have discovered. Actually, looking at the map near the beginning of the game makes you realise just how huge this game is, but can also be a little demoralising if you haven't got very far.

One peculiarity of the game is the need to press "Extended Mode" i.e. CAPS-SHIFT and SYM-SHIFT together to exit the score menu and to end the game. So far, I've not seen that in any other speccy game that I can think of!

Overall, the game features very smooth sprite animation, realistic physics, a vast world to explore and ultra-responsive gameplay. Yes it is too hard, but back in the day if you'd gone out and bought it, you'd probably spend more time on it than just a quick look amongst 20,000 games on your HDD. This popular game spawned a 16-bit sequel "Spindizzy Worlds".

Verdict: Well implemented game for patient players who like an insanely tough test of aptitude, with a steep learning curve.

The game is denied at the time of writing.