Version tested: Retro
Every system has its recurring characters. In the Spectrum's case, one of the most memorable was a jittery, boxing-gloved egg with an uncanny ability to lose track of his girlfriend. Beloved by many, hated by a few, through the late 80s and early 90s this unassuming egg was ruling the roost in Spectrum-land.
Fantasy World was neither the first, nor last, Dizzy adventure, and while later titles such as Magicland and Spellbound would also gain critical acclaim, it was this third adventure (technically fourth - but Fast Food was a radically different spin-off) which really perfected the formula. Plus it's the only one with a gruff voiced gentleman slurring out "Fantashy World Dissshhy" on the options screen.
Typically for the series, the graphics are bold and bright - mixing cartoon-style sprites with chunky, colourful scenery, whilst the fantasy realm setting allows for an impressive array of trolls, dragons and ... err ... killer hawks to turn up and hamper our unscrambled champion's mission. This quest, in the noblest of computer gaming traditions, is to rescue fair maiden Daisy from a weirdo wizard's cloud-tower. Access to which is tricky, to say the least.
As ever, gameplay is largely puzzle-based, involving the combination of objects with various bits of scenery and characters. Hardly revolutionary - but Fantasy World shines by finely crafting this concept and correcting the errors made by earlier efforts. A troublesome inventory system is put to rights, and Dizzy's three lives keep the play nicely balanced. As well as being a superb stand-alone effort, Fantasy World can lay claim to being the most important in terms of the healthy development and continuation of the series. For this, it deserves high praise. Perhaps even ... eggstatic praise (you're fried. Er, I mean fired - Ed).
9 / 10