Codemasters remained loyal to the 8-bit cassette formats right up until the market diminished almost entirely. They were so heavily devoted, in fact, that technology had way surpassed humble cassette tapes – they were even able to release a ‘greatest hits collection’ for the Spectrum and Commodore on CD, simply requiring an everyday CD player and a cable to run.
The 30-strong collection failed to sell however, on the grounds that those who were able to afford a CD player in the early ’90s, had almost certainly already ‘upgraded’ to a PC, Amiga or one of the flasher cartridge-based consoles.
It was time to jump ship, and soon Codemasters struck a deal with Camerica. The US publisher produced the Aladdin Deck Enhancer – a gizmo that allowed unlicensed games to be played on the NES. Micro Machines, Big Nose the Caveman, Cosmic Spacehead, The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy and more were released on unofficial cartridges that could only be used in conjunction with the peripheral, and as such not a single dime ended up in Nintendo’s pocket. Nintendo sued on grounds of copyright law, but every time the courts ruled in Camerica’s favour.
Even with steady support from Codemasters, the Aladdin Deck Enhancer failed to sell. The likes of Dizzy, Cosmic Spacehead and Big Nose the Caveman may have been relatively well-known in Europe, but over in the US those characters did perhaps come across as a little too peculiar. By 1992/1993 the NES was also starting to so its age, and SEGA’s aggressive Mega Drive marketing – mostly focusing on a certain hedgehog – only attributed to this.
Codemasters went on to find themselves with three unreleased NES titles – Dreamworld Pogie, Go! Dizzy Go! and Wonderland Dizzy. Pogie was, for the uninformed, Dizzy’s fluffy purple pet. Footage on the Oliver Twin’s website suggests that it was going to have more in common with Mario than Dizzy.
Plans were afoot to release the trio on Master System and Game Gear, but the publisher felt that the titles weren’t strong enough to be released at full price. A Dizzy compilation cartridge was then considered, which resulted in Dreamworld Pogie getting the chop.
Another problem then occurred – Codemasters didn’t want the collection to contain two adventure games, and so Wonderland Dizzy also ended up on the digital scrapheap. The loss isn’t quite as bad as it sounds – it was merely a revamp of Magicland Dizzy, with alternative puzzles and a few new rooms.
Eventually it was decided that Dizzy the Adventurer, Panic Dizzy and Go! Dizzy Go! would form The Excellent Dizzy Collection.
Just like the axed Wonderland Dizzy, these weren’t entirely new games. Dizzy the Adventurer was an enhanced version of Dizzy Prince of the Yolkfolk, the game that came bundled with the Aladdin Deck Enhancer. Panic Dizzy meanwhile was known as Dizzy Panic on the Spectrum, C64 and Amstrad. This leaves us with Go! Dizzy Go! which was first found the four-strong Quattro Arcade NES collection cart, alongside CJ Elephant Antics, Stunt Buggies and F16 Renegade.