Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Dizzy Series - Part 6

Kiwk Snax (1990)
By: Oliver Twins / Code Masters Genre: Maze Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: ZX Spectrum First Day Score: 9,262
Also Available For: Amiga, Atari ST, PC, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC


Another Dizzy game, another great loading screen...
My good friend Luke and I used to regularly enjoy playing Fast Food all those many moons ago, despite its simple and repetitive nature. Maybe that was its appeal in those days, but little did I (we?) know that it actually got a sequel a few years later too, in the form of the slightly-annoyingly-named Kwik Snax. It's not one of those pesky 'data disc' sequels either - the basic mazey game style is similar but there are definitely a lots of differences between the two. I don't think Fast Food even had a backstory really, but Kwik Snax is apparently set in the 'Land of Personality' where Dizzy and the Yolkfolk are finishing their tour of Yolkland. Unfortunately they had an argument which woke Zaks the evil wizard, and his resultant spells sent all but Dizzy to the furthest reaches of the world! Luckily, this leaves Dizzy free to rescue their sorry arses and bitchslap Zaks while he's at it. If he feels like it.

The first stage and things are nice and simple...
The game-world is divided into four areas - The Land of Ice, The Land of Clouds, Cuckoo Island, and Zak's Own Island - which are each divided into five stages. Each of the stages is a single-screen in size and features various items of foodstuffs (one type per stage), two types of block (moveable and non-moveable), and of course a good helping of terrifying enemies. As before, the object is to collect all foods from each stage. This time they aren't moving but one of them will be flashing. Collect this first and, in true Bombjack style, another starts flashing. Collect all foods in flashing order and you'll receive a bonus, although lazy/unmotivated players can just collect them normally too. Either way, the area-themed enemies (e.g. penguins on the ice stage, bugs on the cloud stage, etc) will try to stop you, but you can turn the tables by shoving blocks into them and squashing them.

Yes, I believe those white 'blocks' are meant to be clouds...
Of course, the bloody things soon respawn elsewhere but it's handy for getting out of tight spots! The blocks move simply by walking into them, and not just single blocks either - you can move whole rows. Given the often cramped feel of some of the stages, it's pretty easy to move blocks around by accident too, so it's a good idea to move around carefully. There are a few pick-ups to look out for but these can hinder just as often as help - you might get a temporary shield one minute, then a controls-scrambler the next! One helpful feature is the 'screen wrap' which allows Dizzy to walk off one side of the screen and appear on the other. Even more splendidly, the enemies do not share this ability, so it's not only easier to collect stuff, but it also offers an easy escape when you're being pursued. Just make sure you don't walk straight into another enemy on the other side of the screen though - eeek!

The third stage appears to be a toy world...
You can use the 'pause' feature to plan your next move or two though, without worrying about losing a life unnecessarily, but even with all this help, this is a far tougher game than Fast Food, due mainly to the smaller stages and more unpredictable enemies. This isn't a bad thing either as FF was rather easy, and a game that lacks challenge soon gets boring. Kwik Snax is quite a bit more involving than its forebear as well. This, in additional to its lovely colourful graphics, unsurprisingly makes it a superb little game. There are a few niggly little faults like the occasionally-flickery sprites, and the collision-detection sometimes seems a tad harsh, but there's nothing major considering this was a budget release. There's even a very lively in-game tune on the 128k machines! I'm glad Dizzy soon returned to his traditional platformy adventures but this was a pretty awesome detour if you fancy a change.

RKS Score: 8/10

Gameplay Video: here's a video of the whole game being played by one of the talented fellows at World of Longplays (check out their great channel here). Oh, and don't watch if you want to avoid spoilers!


 

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