Initially, I thought Spindizzy to be something to do with the Dizzy franchise of video games, and so expected to see some sort of egg man roaming about the place, doing whatever it is he does. That's not what I got, because Spindizzy has nothing to do with Dizzy, and there's not a whole lot of spinning going on to make you dizzy.
Not that I could play it to find out. I could emulate the ZX Spectrum version, but had problems getting any inputs to register, to the point where I managed to get into some kind of menu - presumably a pause menu - only to not know how to get out of it again.
But I've seen three whole screens worth of Spindizzy, so I feel like I'm able to give a thorough revie-who am I kidding, I went to YouTube to watch it under any sort of control.
The Commodore 64 version, seen above, really shows off what Spindizzy is all about. Take one part Marble Madness, mix it with one part Knight Lore, throw in a barmy excuse for what you're seeing and doing and you've got yourself Spindizzy.
You control a probe called GERALD with the intent to map whatever kind of puzzle hell you've found yourself dropped into. You have three different configurations with which to use GERALD in: that of a ball, like Marble Madness, a spinning top, kind of like Apple's Spinning Beach Ball of Death, and a pyramid, like a pyramid. Each handles a little differently, giving you a choice of how to navigate each screens' challenges.
There are 386 separate screens that you need to map. Thankfully, 'mapping' a screen requires you to simply view it, but to map all of the screens you'll need to navigate narrow ledges, uneven terrain, jumps and more, including trying to remember where you are in the bigger picture.
Some screens contain multiple levels, meaning you must either find and use a lift, or work out which of the surrounding stages has a ramp or jump or even a string of bounce pads that you can use to get to that upper level, and then use that route without falling off and losing any progress,
All of this is done against the clock, which ticks down faster if you fall off a stage, for example, but can be topped up by collecting gems that are scattered throughout the map.
If Marble Madness is small and daunting, Spindizzy is massive and daunting, but by the looks of it is more about the puzzle of navigation and control, than the necessity to have skill and quick reactions. Sure, they're needed to succeed, but Spindizzy still seems like a slightly different game than Marble Madness, despite the similarities.
I don't think I'd get far through it at all, but I certainly can't fault the game for not having enough to do. If you're able to play it, see how far you can get.
FILLING YOU IN
Hold the presses! I was just about to finish up this post when I found an online emulator of the ZX Spectrum port that worked for me, even with customizable inputs. Here's the updated impression, now that I've played it:
Holy moley, it's like sliding on all of the ice! How the devil do you ever manage to get skilled enough to navigate 386 stages, let alone 3.86 of them? Patience, probably. It's not for me, I know that much. This kind of gameplay is ok in bursts, but to get anywhere close to finishing Spindizzy seems like a monumental task right now.
If that's what you're looking for, then please, give it a shot. I'll be right over here, falling off the first stage of Marble Madness.
Designer Paul Shirley didn't even known Spindizzy had been ported to the Apple II until the mid 1990s.
Spindizzy, developed by Electric Dreams Software, first released in 1986.
Version played: ZX Spectrum, 1986, via emulation.
Version watched: Commodore 64, 1986 (DerSchmu)