The Great Giana Sisters
|The Great Giana Sisters|
Cover art of The Great Giana Sisters on Commodore 64
|Developer(s)||Time Warp Productions|
Manfred Trenz (Graphics)
Development and release 
The Great Giana Sisters was released on Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, MSX2, and Commodore 64. The Commodore 64 version was programmed by Armin Gessert, with graphics by Manfred Trenz and a soundtrack composed by Chris Hülsbeck. A ZX Spectrum version was planned and even reviewed by gaming magazines prior to its planned release, but was cancelled due to the legal pressures the game suffered.
The player takes the role of Giana, a girl who falls asleep and finds herself in a dream world populated by monsters. She must travel through the strange world in which she finds herself in search of a diamond which will rouse her from sleep and return her to her waking life.
The Great Giana Sisters is a 2D side-scrolling arcade game in which the player controls either Giana or her sister Maria. The game supports alternating 2 players, with second player taking control of Maria.
Each level contains a number of dream crystals which gives points when collected in order to make the game's high score. An extra life can be gained by collecting 100 dream crystals. Extra lives can also be found in the form of hidden "Lollipop" items.
Enemies can be defeated by jumping on them or shooting them after obtaining the relevant powerups. The enemies range from owls, rolling eyeballs, flesh eating fish and deadly insects. The "Fire Wheel" transforms Giana into a punk with the ability to crush rocks by jumping beneath them. "Lightning Bolt" will award Giana "Dream Bubbles", a single projectile shot. "Double Lightning" gives her ability to shot recoiling projectiles. "Strawberries" gives the ability to shoot homing projectiles. There is one defensive item in the game, the "Water-Drop", which protects Giana against fire. A number of special items can also be triggered that affects the entire screen, such as the "Clock" which will freeze all enemies on-screen, and the "Magic Bombs" will kill all enemies. These items are found in the item blocks scattered around the stages.
There are two types of stages in the game, an "Overworld" and "Underground" stage. The "Overworld stages" feature green scenery and pipe shaped objects, along with bottomless pits for Giana to avoid. The "Underground" stages feature additional hazards such as water and fire, as well as bosses.
There are in total 31 stages in the game. Hidden "Warp-Blocks" can be found to jump through portions of the game.
Legal issues with Nintendo 
The first level of The Great Giana Sisters is nearly identical in layout to the first stage found in Nintendo's Super Mario Bros., and the game plays almost identically. The immediate similarity to Super Mario Bros. ensured that The Great Giana Sisters was quickly noticed by both the public and the video game industry itself. Nintendo pressured the makers of The Great Giana Sisters with warning of legal action should they not take appropriate action, and the game was voluntarily withdrawn from sale. The difficulty in obtaining copies of the game has led to them being sought out as collector's items.
Upon its release, The Great Giana Sisters received strong critical praise and acclaim from the gaming magazines across Europe. Zzap!64 described the game as "amazing" and concluded with the overall opinion that Great Giana Sisters was "a fabulous, compelling and constantly rewarding arcade adventure." Powerplay's review stated that they felt the game did not live up to the standards set by Super Mario Bros., but "still achieves being an entertaining pleasure."
Despite never seeing a release, the ZX Spectrum version gained favorable reviews from Spectrum based magazines. CRASH noted that the game was "highly addictive and great fun to play. Plenty of hidden passages and surprise features should keep you hooked for weeks".
Great Giana Sisters has gained a strong cult following over the years, citing its strong soundtrack and unique charm. On the online web resource Lemon64, staff member Jan Egil Romestrand remarked that the game is "must-have" for any serious C64 games collector." As of 2012, it ranks 6th place on the Top 10 Games List on Gamebase 64.
Chris Hülsbeck's soundtrack for the game has become one of the most popular video game soundtracks of all time. It has received over 50 remixes on the popular music arrangement resource Remix64. The music of Great Giana Sisters was featured in the live orchestra concert Symphonic Shades held in Colgone, Germany on August 23, 2008. The arrangement was made by Jonne Valtonen, and performed by the WDR Radio Orchestra. The concert was the first video game orchestra concert to be broadcasted live on radio. The concert recording received an album release in 2009.
The game has been ported to numerous systems since its release. A planned port for the ZX Spectrum was reviewed in magazines, though eventually cancelled due to legal pressures. In 1993, Dutch developer Sunrise released a version for the MSX, programmed by Jan Van Valburg. Unofficially, the game has been ported to Windows, DOS, Linux, Mac OSX, AmigaOS 4, NetBSD, AROS, MorphOS, and Symbian OS. An unofficial port of the Commodore 64 version was also made for the Nintendo DS.
Shortly after the release of Great Giana Sisters, Time Warp began developing a sequel which was announced as Giana 2: Arther and Martha in Future World, a new game with a futuristic setting. However due to the trouble caused by the legal pressure coming from Nintendo, it was deemed too risky for the small developer to once again produce a game associated with the Giana Sisters brand. Time Warp renamed the game Hard'n'Heavy, and changed the game's protagonists into robots rather than the Giana sisters. Hard'n'Heavy was released on the Commodore 64 in 1989.
In April 2009, publisher DTP Entertainment and developer Spellbound Interactive, then owner of the game's IP, released a new Giana Sisters game in Europe with an extensive graphical update for the Nintendo DS, titled Giana Sisters DS. It has since been released in Australia. The game features all-new levels and more gameplay elements, and a recreation of the original game's levels can be unlocked. Giana Sisters DS was released in North America in February 2011 by publisher Destineer, though their official website does not have it listed, and is only available through several retailers such as Walmart and Newegg.com.
In July 2012, Black Forest Games started a Kickstarter campaign for a new installment of The Great Giana Sisters, originally titled Project Giana and later retitled Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, describing the project as "the grandchild of The Great Giana Sisters." The Kickstarter was funded successfully, netting $186,158 with a goal of $150,000. The game, which is described as a direct sequel to Giana Sisters DS, features music from The Great Giana Sisters' original composer Chris Hülsbeck (in cooperation with Fabian Del Priore) and the Swedish "SID metal" band Machinae Supremacy. Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams was released on October 23, 2012 for PC with later releases on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, Nintendo eShop, and possibly Ouya.
Giana Sisters II, an unofficial sequel, was released in 2005 on the Commodore 64. It is based on a hacked version of Great Giana Sisters. It was created by the team "7A3" in 1993, originally with commercial purpose plans though later released for free on the Internet. It fixes some of the original game bugs, removed some sprite issues, added better collision detection, and added 40 new levels. Some of the enemies were changed, and the hack also features new abilities such as swimming and flying. The level design remains very faithful to the original game.
In 2008, Rodolphe "Thor" Boixel released an unofficial sequel titled Giana's Return. In the game, Evil Swampy and his followers have stolen the magic ruby which once made it possible for Giana and Maria to return from their dream. Giana's Return took direct inspiration from the 1987 title and features very similar gameplay mechanics and looks. The soundtrack was handled by Alexander Oldemeier and David Wuttke. Giana's Return was met favorably with fans of the old games, and also garnered attention from official gaming outlets and print magazines, such as Retro Magazine. The game is available on Windows, Linux, Mac OSX, GP32, Wiz, Dreamcast, Pandora, MorphOS and SymbianOS.
Several unofficial covers have been made of the Giana Sister's theme song.
- World of Spectrum: Great Giana Sisters
- Project Giana
- The Great Giana Sisters at Giant Bomb
- Andreas Lober, ed. (2011). Die Clone-Kriege. Spiele-Plagiate im juristischen Licht. p. 170.
- Eli Neiburger, ed. (2011). Gamers-- in the library?!. Amer Library Assn Editions. p. 53,174. ISBN 978-0838909447.
- Karen Collins, ed. (2008). Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory, and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design. The MIT Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-0262033787.
- "The Great Giana Sisters - Overview - allgame". Allgame. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- "The Great Giana Sisters". ZZap64 (Newsfield Publications Ltd) (39): 19. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
- Powerplay (6/88) http://www.kultpower.de/powerplay_testbericht_extern.php3?im=greatgianasisters.jpg
|url=missing title (help). Retrieved September 5, 2012.
- Aktueller Software Markt (2/88) http://www.kultpower.de/external_frameset.php3?site=asm_testbericht.php3%3Fim%3Dgianasisters.jpg%26backurl%3Dindex_main2.php3
|url=missing title (help). Retrieved September 5, 2012.
- "The Great Giana Sisters". Lemon64. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- "The Great Giana Sisters". CRASH. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- "Gamebase64". Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- Giana Sisters DS
- Giana Sisters at the Google Play market
- Frank Gasking. "Giana 2 - Arthur and Martha in Future World - Games That Weren't".
- "Hard 'n Heavy 1989, reLINE Software".
- Spellbound Entertainment AG
- Project Giana
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- The Great Giana Sisters at MobyGames
- Giana Sisters Wikia
- Original C64 version playable on webpage with Java
- The Great Giana Sisters in C64-Wiki
- Giana Sisters DS - Official remake of the Commodore 64 game for the Nintendo DS
- Giana Sisters iPod Touch/ iPhone - Official remake of the Commodore 64 game for the Apple iPod Touch / iPhone (link to iTunes: iTunes-link )
- Review of The Great Giana Sisters in Your Sinclair
- Review of The Great Giana Sisters in Crash!
- The Great Giana Sisters at AmigaMemo.com - AmigaMuseum
- The Great Giana Sisters at World of Spectrum
- The Great Giana Sisters theme remixes at remix.kwed.org
- Great Giana Sisters for Commodore 64 altered to use Super Mario Bros. sprites