Spindizzy Worlds logo Amiga Format Gold

ACTIVISION £24.99 * Joystick

Plots only serve to justify the rules of computer games. Yet occasionally the plot is so ludicrous that only an explanation of the rules makes any real sense. Spindizzy Worlds is one such game, suffering from the same tortured games' logic that puts shops in shoot-em-ups, but is beautifully playable because of it. So here are the rules (in full):

1. You control a probe called GERALD by remote.
2. GERALD looks and behaves like a spinning top.
3. The worlds of Spindizzy must be explored using GERALD.
4. While it explores, GERALD uses fuel continuously.
5.The game is over if GERALD runs out of fuel.
6. GERALD extracts fuel from diamonds by standing on them.
7. The worlds of Spindizzy are littered with diamonds.
8. GERALD can be destroyed by touching aliens, or by falling either too far or into space.
9. A destroyed GERALD is replaced at the cost of surplus fuel.
10. Spindizzy consists of 32 different planets.
11. The worlds of Spindizzy are full of mazes, ramps and puzzles.
12. Each Spindizzy planet has many different levels.
13. GERALD travels between worlds and levels via teleports.
14. The teleports are only accessible if GERALD has completed a number of tasks or solved a puzzle.
15. The game is won when all the worlds have been visited.
16. GERALD stands for: Geographical Environmental Reconnaissance And Land Mapping Device.

Controlling GERALD is tough. The surface of Spindizzy is shown form an isometric-3D perspective, so joystick commands must mentally be shifted through 45 degrees. To make the probe go in one direction turn the stick that way, to accelerate press fire. To stop, either reverse power or use the instant brake (spacebar).

On a level surface with solid edges control would be easy, but the worlds are packed with ramps, pyramids, bridges, moving platforms and gaping gulfs that have to be negotiated.

After selecting which world in the Spindizzy cluster you are going to start on, the probe is then beamed down. When you land there will be one of two tasks awaiting there for you: firstly, the puzzle of finding the correct series of triggers that open a teleport, and secondly a speed challenge to reach teleport before a time limit expires. Either way using the map feature pauses the game and gives you a chance to work out a successful strategy.

Worlds Apart
The timed runs are dangerous. Each world hangs in space, just the way bricks don't, and one slip can take GERALD over the edge. This destroys the probe and gallons of fuel is used to build another. Puzzle levels usually require that multiple tasks are completed, all in the right sequence. Finding the triggers and the order in which to active them, though, is down to trial and error.

Luckily GERALD does give clues. If he stands next to an object that has to be manipulated, then the activating factor is shown in his clue window. This tells you what has to be triggered, but not where it is or what has to be done to it. Then, once more you're off following the elimination trail.

The puzzles combine with the control of GERALD to make Spindizzy so playable. It's often all too obvious what has to be done, but it's the doing that proves difficult. Other worlds will have you roaming totally baffled as to what happens next. Solving these problems rewards you with another completed level for the saves disk and yet another even more fiendish poser staring you in the face.

Spindizzy Worlds has more strings to its bow than the straightforward game. Without points there is no obvious drive to play a world again after you've cleared it, so Paul Shirley - the games designer - has crammed the place with secret levels and bonus worlds. Then, there is the completion chart which shows just how thorough you've been in collecting all the fuel from certain levels and worlds.

To make matters worse many of the worlds are accessible only after you've cleared planets on the periphery of the system. And you wouldn't want to go starting a new world with a badly damaged GERALD from a world that you can reach all ready.

Bigger Than a Very Big Thing
The whole game exudes bigness. The number of worlds in itself is almost daunting, but when the number of levels within each of them is considered then the brownie points start to roll in. A sense of the games size and complexity is felt when the first of the harder worlds is attempted. The map for a single level scrolls to four or five screens and they are all tied together by the puzzles. A switch in one corner activating a lift on the far side allows you to jump on to a trampoline over some lava in the centre...

The success of this puzzle-control game is dependent on how visible all the elements required to solve it are. The graphics, while all on a theme related to the worlds' name: Lavalite, Sandy Island, Waterworks, always allow alternative views of where GERALD is sitting with rotate keys. So while yo may think you're stuck, at least you can look at the problem four different ways.

The worlds stress the complexity of the apparently simple design. All sculpted out of similar blocks, every new world seems to have a surprise up its sleeve. The variety of surfaces, inclines, aliens, trampolines, lifts and other hazards, make control peculiar to each world. The worlds grow harder as you get nearer the heart of the Spindizzy system.

Fiendish puzzles, curious worlds and heaps of gameplay have been crammed inot the project. The result is a challenge that is both frustrating and addictive. Players growing skill in control of GERALD has been well judged in the increasing difficulty of worlds. The chance to replay levels is also refreshing, in these long-dark days when restart points seem to be getting further under the guise of gameplay.

Features have been added since the original made its mark on the Speccies, which enhance the game and use the Amiga to the full. It was a good concept then, but it had to wait for the Amiga before its potential could be fully exploited (the ST had flick screens not a scroll). Now GERALD's time has come, and it is time to really explore those Spindizzy Worlds.

Spindizzy Worlds Buxton Cat World - a daft name for a nasty world. It is mostly a test of close control, because the pathways are all slopes and skidways that have the single aim of landing GERALD in the deadly water-like liquid.

Spindizzy Worlds The map - once landed on a world, GERALD can create a rough miniature map of the level. This is particularly useful on Pyramidea where the steps of the pyramid each constitute a different level, all of which interact.

Spindizzy Worlds The fuel crystals are all easily visible, but it's controlling the spinning GERALD that proves the test. He has a rather natural tendency to slip all the way down slopes and into peril. The rotate keys are essential here.

Spindizzy Worlds Arrow Maze - arrowed squares try to force GERALD in a set - generally fatal - direction. You can counter this with extra thrust but you run the risk of over doing it and flying into space. Use the map to check the route.

Spindizzy Worlds Pak Attack - Just like the real thing GERALD has to roam the maze, avoiding the pak creatures until he eats a power pill. Then the boot is on the other foot, temporarily! The fuel is guarded by hordes of pacs, so plan ahead.

Spindizzy Worlds Castle Quest - one of the inner worlds of the Spindizzy Cluster. This is only available for exploration after you have cleared a path through one or two of the outer worlds and is suitably difficult for a later level. Good luck.

Spindizzy Worlds logo Amiga Joker Hit

Langsam aber sicher finden sich auch die letzten C 64-Klassiker am Amiga ein. Und das Beste: Diesmal trüben keine technischen Mängel die Wiedersehensfreude!

Spindizzy ist eines jener Spiele, die im "Marble Madness"-Fieber entstanden sind, hier dreht sich alles um einen kreisel namens Gerald.

Gerald kreiselt über eine 3D-Ebene und sammelt auf, was da so an Nützlichem herumliegt - vorwiegend Diamanten. Dabei muß er aufpassen, daß er nirgends runterfällt (neue Geralds sind teuer!) und sich nicht von Aliens piesacken läßt (Geralds sind empfindlich!).

Der eigentliche Sinn der Kreiselei besteht darin, mit Hilfe von Gerald die über 30 vorhandenen Welten zu kartografieren. Aber nicht alleine deshalb ist auch etwas Kopfarbeit gefragt, die einzelnen Gegenden haben schon so ihre Tücken: Manche Felder sind für Gerald tödlich, andere erreicht man nur durch Türen oder über Lifte, die erst mal mittels Schalter aktiviert werden wollen.

Bei der Umsetzung auf unsere "Freundin" hat man netterweise auch gleich ein paar Verbesserungen eingebaut. Beispielsweise bei der Kartenfunktion oder den verschiedenen Perspektiven, vor allem aber kann nun endlich abgespeichert werden. Ansonsten: Gute Grafik (abwechslungsreiche Welten mit teilweise bis zu 15 Ebenen, so gut wie kein Ruckeln), guter Sound (fetzige Musik, ansprechende Effekte) und eine brillante Steuerung (1:1 zum Original, präzise und leicht handhabbar).

Fazit: Spindizzy war auf dem C 64 ein Klassiker und wird garantiert auch auf dem Amiga einer werden! (mm)

Spindizzy Worlds logo

The hardest working member of this profession is GERALD, the crystalline star of one of the best 8-bit games ever, Spindizzy, and this improved Amiga version. GERALD first appeared on the Amstrad CPC series a few years back, and the game was a variant on the then popular Marble Madness theme.

Controlling GERALD, you were given the arduous task of entering each of the game's 500+ screens, and logging them whilst also keeping an eye out for the bonus diamonds which were just ripe for stealing.

However, the task was set against a strict time limit, and every time GERALD came into contact with the enemy creatures that inhabited the strange 3D landscape, he would lose valuable seconds. Likewise, should our accidentally lose his balance and slip off a precarious ledge, more time would be lost.

For its time, Spindizzy was - if you'll excuse the pun - revolutionary, and now four or more years later after its release, Paul Shirley has come up with a sequel of sorts.

Basically, these new Spindizzy worlds are tougher versions than those of the 8-bit game. First time round, for instance, GERALD had to solve tricky puzzles by rolling over floor switches in a certain order, and in this version the traps play a bigger part than before.

GERALD is once again out to collect as many diamonds as possible, and you have to guide him through the 185 stages that make up the strange isometric worlds whilst avoiding the energy-sapping hazards and pitfalls that get in the way.

Each world is based on certain themes, and you are eased into the game thanks to the addition of a few trainer screens that allow you to get used to its many new hazards. For instance, as well as the ice traps and water hazards that appeared in the original, the new worlds house squares that will take you in a set direction and others that lead into special bonus screens, so rather than being thrown in at the deep end, a clue box below the main area advises you of how to solve specific problems.

Apart from the usual directional controls, GERALD can be made to jump over ramps by giving him sufficient run up to get to the other side. Likewise, the useful brake system of the first game stops him in his tracks with the press of the space bar, only this time round it doesn't deplete his already limited energy every time it is used.

In fact, pretty much all of the original's nice touches have been retained, such as the ability to choose which angle the action is viewed from, but GERALD no longer has the ability to change his shape into a ball or gyroscope. Finally, providing you can find it, Mr Shirley has included a construction set which allows you to add a further 350 screens to the existing 185.

Anyone who still remembers the original Spindizzy will instantly feel at home with this updated sequel. Graphically, the game is reminiscent of Marble Madness, and there are a number of neat touches on the later worlds, such as Pac World (complete with pursuing ghosts!) and assorted pillars and castles. These add to what is already a good looking game, and the bright colours and detailed backdrops are complemented by some of the smoothest multi-directional scrolling the Amiga has seen.

Everything about the game is geared towards user-friendliness, from the tutorial mode to the option to scroll the lay-out slightly to see what's coming. But that said, and despite its many worlds, I do doubt whether many people could be bothered to keep on playing it to the end.

Although there is a lot of variety between each world, the tasks remain basically the same - no matter how tortuous it is to reach the elusive gems - and boredom could soon set in. It is because of this that I cannot award Spindizzy New Worlds a Screen Star, but even so it proves a pleasant diversion from the usual array of shoot-'em-ups and coin-op conversions.