>> Monday, April 9, 2007
During my visit at Lemon Amiga I crossed upon a Dimo's Quest cover simply named "Dimo's Quest" which looks exactly the same as the original SPC Vision game. However, I was charmed again by the colourful visuals of this game, the fun I had exploring all the candybars and solving all the puzzles, the cheesy music and the smooth graphics it offered on CD-i. All SPC Vision games are classics on CD-i, and for some reason Dimo's Quest never got a lot of attention. If you've played Chip's Challenge on the Atari Lynx, you know exactly what to expect, because Dimo's Quest has everything and even more compared to Chip's Challenge. It's been said of popular art that "beginners borrow, and experts steal"; In that case, the folks at the Vision Factory are world-class.
Developer: The Vision Factory (SPC Vision)
Publisher: Philips Media (benelux)
Review date: April 2007
Extra: no multiplayer, age rating: >7
Dimo's Quest is a series of levels, seen from the top view, filled with candies to be collected. Once you've collected them all, you find the exit to move on to the next level. Impeding your progress are lethal bad guys, cannons, trains, lava pits, water, fire, etc. You can avoid some hazards by finding spiked shoes (which allow you to walk on ice rather than slide on it), life-savers (allow you to wade through water without drowning), and fire extinguishers (for walking through fire). You can push rocks to various ends, from bashing bad guys to buliding bridges. Finding colored keys allows you to open doors of the corresponding color. If you die, you restart the level. You have an infinite number of lives, but you have to finish a level to move forward in the game.
After the first few levels, which introduce you to the various elements of the game, most of the levels consist of puzzles to be solved, such as "how do I build this bridge with only this many rocks" or "how do I get to the exit without being whisked right past it by the one-way floor?" As in Chip's Challenge and Lemmings, the best levels are those that encourage you to think of your tools in non-intuitive ways. The game has good music throughout, and the shifting backgrounds of the pause screen and between-level screens show surprisingly rich animation for a base-case CD-i title.
A few minor gripes about the game: first off, the game has a serious problem with its general "feel". At first, the twinkley theme music and the fixation with candy would make you think it has a child-like theme, but then Dimo starts talking and he sounds like a 20something waste-oid from Laguna Beach! Yet his dialogue is childish: "Hi! I'm Dimo! Do you like candy as much as I do?" It almost seems like the designers were trying to get two contrasting styles to work in the same game, and it doesn't come off. Fortunately, it doesn't affect game-play at all. Second gripe: the on-screen characters are TINY. While this gives you a better view of large areas of the level, it can be difficult to focus on your character when he's so small. Don't try to play this while sitting across the room.
Third: the game continues the trend of making stupid use of the player memory. It uses about 6% of a Magnavox 450's memory to store the name of the high scorer for each level, a feature I suspect few players really care about, yet the game requires players to type in an eight-character password (overkill for a game with only 51 levels) to resume the game where you left off. It would have been a far better use of memory to keep a database of what levels each player has gotten through, so you could just punch in your name and go back to the last level you were working on.
Fourth: Only 51 levels?! Lemmings has 120 and Chip's had 148! At 5-20 minutes a level, this game is far too easy to finish, and the prospects for repeat play value aren't great with level-based puzzle games like this. The problem is partially alleviated by making the levels larger and more intricate, offering several challenges in succession. But that means when you die three-fourths of the way through the level, you have lots of ground to retrace the next time through.
Minor gripes aside, Dimo's Quest is a catchy, addictive game. If you like Lemmings, and especially if you like Chip's Challenge, you should grab this disc. It's one of those CD-i games that will get you addicted to puzzling again and let you spend hours on the CD-i player.
I could use the same description as in other SPC Vision games: The graphics are very colourful, and they create an absolute feel-good in the game. Nice character animations as well, and clever lay-out of the levels ans candy. These guys were good.
Classic SPC Vision tunes but in my opinion the worst of all SPC games. In my opinion a little cheesy and childish. As stated above, it's like they wanted to use two totally different styles in the game, because the game itself is not aimed at the same audience as the music would suggest you.
Excellent response times of the CD-i, absolutely no slowdown or low framerates. It's all smooth. The only little problem is that you have to sit right in front of the television because everything is pretty small. Although, with these big HD Flat TV's nowadays, playing Dimo's Quest is a totally new experience ;)
Once you've solved all the puzzles, I think it's pretty much over. You won't easily return to do them all over again. Even now, after 10 years before I initially solved the whole game, I remember a lot of it. It's a must-see on CD-i, but not many times over again.
Overall: 8 (not an average)
Similar games on CD-i:
Mega Maze, Lemmings
Credits: Chris Adamson, Erik, Bas.