The Great Giana Sisters is a 1987 platform game developed by German studio Time Warp Productions and published by Rainbow Arts. The scroll screen melody of the game was composed by Chris Huelsbeck and is a popular Commodore 64 soundtrack. The player takes the role of Giana (referred to as 'Gianna' in the scrolling intro and also the intended name before a typo was made on the cover art and the developers just went with that rather than having the cover remade), a girl who suffers from a nightmare, in which she travels through 33 stages full of monsters, while collecting ominous diamonds and looking for her sister Maria. If the player wins the final battle, Giana will be awakened by her sister.
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 the 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 power-ups. The enemies include 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 and hitting them from below. The 'lightning bolt' awards Giana 'dream bubbles', a single projectile shot. 'Double lightning' gives her the ability to shoot recoiling projectiles. 'Strawberries' give her 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 affect the entire screen, such as the 'clock', which freezes all enemies on-screen, and the 'magic bombs', which 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 an '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 a total of 33 stages in the game. Hidden 'warp blocks' can be found to jump through portions of the game.
The Great Giana Sisters was programmed by Armin Gessert, with graphics by Manfred Trenz and a soundtrack composed by Chris Huelsbeck under the label of Time Warp Production Inc. The first original game version was released in 1987 on Commodore 64. Shortly after, it was released on Amiga, Amstrad CPC and Atari ST. The license is held by Black Forest Games, who have developed the sequel Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams.
According to several urban legends, Nintendo initiated a copyright infringement lawsuit against Time Warp Productions and Rainbow Arts because of similarities to its new game Super Mario Bros., but there has never been such a lawsuit. Rather, Nintendo directly influenced The Great Giana Sisters being withdrawn from sale, as the company had already done with other games.
Several factors influenced the withdrawal of the game, including conspicuous similarities: the general gameplay and the first level of The Great Giana Sisters are nearly identical in layout to the first stage found in Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. 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 urged the makers of The Great Giana Sisters to withdraw the game from sale, arguing that it was obvious copyright infringement. Time Warp Productions and Rainbow Arts immediately stopped production and, at the same time, the game began vanishing from stores. The rarity of the game has led to copies of it becoming collector's items.
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 publisher Sunrise released a version for the MSX2, programmed by Jan van Valburg. Unofficially, the game has been cloned on Windows, DOS, Linux, Mac OS X, AmigaOS 4, NetBSD, AROS, MorphOS, and Symbian OS. An unofficial clone of the Commodore 64 version was also made for the Nintendo DS.
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5 different online emulators are available for The Great Giana Sisters. These emulators differ not only in the technology they use to emulate old games, but also in support of various game controllers, multiplayer mode, mobile phone touchscreen, emulation speed, absence or presence of embedded ads and in many other parameters. For
maximum gaming enjoyment, it's important to choose the right emulator, because on each PC and in different Internet browsers, the individual emulators behave differently. The basic
features of each emulator available for this game The Great Giana Sisters are summarized in the following table: