Buggy Boy

by Dented Designs: Maz H. Spork, Paul D. Walker, Mark Cooksey
Elite Systems Ltd
Crash Issue 53, June 1988   (1988-05-26)   page(s) 89

Producer: Elite
Retail Price: £7.99 cassette, £11.99 disk
Author: Maz Spork from a Taito coin-op

Buggy Boy, a great success on the Commodore 64, has finally made it to the Spectrum. Leap into your race-tuned, customised Baja Bug and get ready to hurtle over five of the toughest, roughest, meanest and hardest race tracks ever devised. Select your course from the title screen, fasten your seat belt and get ready to race against the clock!

Each track is divided into four individual stages. The difficult cross-country terrain is punctured by black tunnels, narrow bridges and a forbidding array of obstacles. Successful drivers dodge, dart and swerve through complex formations of boulders, brick walls, lamp posts and trees. Particularly tough barriers are avoided by hitting one of the many logs that lie across the track: your buggy flies through the air, soars over the offending boulder or wall and lands with the greatest of ease on the other side. Driving over tree stumps and small rocks tilts the car on to two wheels, making it especially manoeuvrable when it comes to negotiating small gaps.

Falling off bridges, crashing into the edge of tunnels, or colliding with trees, boulders and walls cause the buggy to explode. A new vehicle promptly takes its place but the resulting delay may seriously impair your chances of completing a track. Driving through time gates increases the amount of time allotted to the next stage of the course by two seconds per gate.

Bonus points are scored by weaving through the score gates and collecting flags which gain extra points for every sequence of five. Status displays show current speed, score, leg, number of flags in the sequence collected and a miniature map showing your position on the overall track. Complete each course with record points and your achievement is displayed as the ultimate highscore.


Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston Sinclair
Graphics: the cluttered, but colourful, display creates strong visual problems when jumping over rocks and hills
Sound: above average 128K ditties, with restricted - but similar - tunes on the 48K
Options: choice of five tracks

To expect Buggy Boy to match up to the high standards of the coin-op is completely unrealistic. Some resemblance in terms of playability and control isn't too much to ask for, though, and Elite certainly provide you with that. It's just that 'some' doesn't turn out to be quite enough. The graphics are just about as good as they can be on the Spectrum and the programmers have managed to include a lot of the original features. Unfortunately, the buggy is slightly too slow and just too large. Unless you're going uphill you can't always see where you're going; successful manoeuvring is more a matter of luck than skill. When the vehicle tips to one side you might as well be playing with a blindfold over your head. Mind you, judging from the success of Out Run this isn't going to put anyone off. A lot of people are going to have a wild and wicked time speeding around the tracks - with a bit more effort they could have had a super-sensational ride.
KATI [71%]

Buggy Boy, that fantastic three-screen arcade game has at last arrived on the Spectrum, with all the graphics, colour and sound of the coin-op machine... Well not quite! The graphics look good from afar, but up close they're just a mess of chunky blocks! Some levels are fun to play, especially the sections where you go over bridges and through tunnels. The courses don't seem to be all that different on the Spectrum, though: no footballs or slopes (as there are on all other versions), just a differently coloured background. I must say that I was disappointed with Buggy Boy, it just can't be happy on the 8-bit Spectrum.
NICK [71%]

Elite's latest arcade tie-in suffers from all the problems of the infamous Out Run - and, like the US Gold top-seller, you'll either love it or hate it. For those that want something that looks like the arcade machine there'll be plenty to be happy about. Visually the game is very similar to Super Hang-On, using lots of blocky colour on the main buggy - which is very large, often hiding most of the scenery - but leaving the rest of the objects colourless. However, due to the vast array of gates, trees, rocks and stones on the track, the game suffers terribly from locking up when too much appears on the screen - thus making it quite unplayable. If only the programmers had concentrated on making the game playable and addictive while ignoring the impressive visual aspects they'd have had an Out Run challenger on their hands. Sadly it suffers from all the same flaws as US Gold's product.
PAUL [72%]

Presentation: 62%
Graphics: 66%
Playability: 72%
Addictive Qualities: 68%
Overall: 71%

Summary: General Rating: Visually a good conversion, but lacking playability and addictiveness to make it a real winner.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 74, March 1990   (1990-02-22)   page(s) 48

£2.99 (rerelease)

Buggy Boy is a classic arcade machine. I always remember the first time I ever played it. It was on a five screen hydraulic machine and it blew my mind! The Spectrum version isn't as good as that but comes pretty close. The 128K game is, of course, the best because it doesn't use the annoying multi-load the 48K game needs.

The object is to complete each of the courses (North, South, East, West and Off Road) in the time limit. To do this you must dodge rocks and gates, collect flags and extra time, cross rivers and go bouncing through the air over logs. You're guaranteed a bumpy ride from start to finish. You can also collect special bonuses by collecting the flags in the right order and hitting the footballs that have been placed around the courses.

The graphics in Buggy Boy all look brilliant from a distance, but as you get closer and closer to things like rocks they expand to give a feeling of 3-D - and get really chunky and just look daft. The 128K game has the catchy jingles that attracted people to the arcade machine and plenty of sound effects, the 48K game is just a bit less impressive with the odd beep!

Those of you who loved the arcade machine will love this version. It may not have all the speed and slickness of the original but it makes a good substitute and saves on the cash.

Overall: 75%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 31, July 1988   page(s) 62

If bouncing up and down at a cool 150 mph with boulders, trees and hedges whistling towards you at neck-breaking speed sounds like your idea of a good day out, then go away! We don't want your sort around here!

Picture if you will, a sort of Enduro Racer clone, but instead of sitting on a bike you're squatting precariously in a four-wheeled buggy, with very little in the way of mod-cons, (Judging by the size of its tyres, your Ronco battery-powered pump could do with a bit of adjusting). Ahead of you is a terrifying off-road course strewn thoughtlessly with unthinkable hazards. To make things worse the clock is ticking down and you've got to make it to the end of the course before the time runs out.

Okay, so there's nothing new there. Buggy Boy does little to further the cause of original thinking , but it takes some beating in the playability department. And there are a few surprises lurking among the obstacles too.

Rocks, trees and lamp-posts, a few tunnels and bridges all appear to test your skill. The road is also lined with millions of flags which, if collected in a certain order, will give you billions of points. There are also trillions of bonus gates, and a few time gates too which will add to the time you're allotted for the next stage of the course.

Huh? Stage? Course? Yup. The game is split into five courses, (which multi-load on the 48K of course - borrrinnggg!), the first of which is a sort of practice one, which gives you a taste of things to come. as for the rest of 'em, well the nomenclature (look it up - it's a good 'un!), leaves a lot to be desired as they're called north, south, east and west. They're all split into a number of stages too, each with its own time limit.

The tracks more or less get harder moving down the list, although none of them are going to overwhelm you. (Even I managed to finish a couple of them!) The driving technique tends to be a case of shutting your peepers and hoping for the best most of the time. Everything rushes towards you at a nerve-wracking speed, and you'd be advised to try and aim for the logs, which cause you to Jump into the air and, hopefully. over a few boulders and fences at the same time.

Probably the main let-down point is the graphics. Rather than store loads of frames for each object as they come hurtling towards you. Elite has chosen to magnify the sprites to make them get bigger, leading to a definite chunky look. Sneaky, but messy. Colour is also a bit, well, sparse. Fortunately these things tend to go unnoticed in the heat of the moment.

This leaves you only to query the total lack of any detectable sound whatsoever on the version for weedy standard Speccies. For 128K owners though, you get some good tunes and a fairly reasonable flatulating engine noise, but I can't help but shed a tear for the rest of you.

But who cares, eh? Buggy Boy is fun, and that's the main thing after all. Although a large amount of luck is involved in negotiating the courses, the collision detection is pretty gullible, so you don't wrap yourself around as many rocks as you might imagine. It's a case of trying to manipulate it in your favour, really.

Although it could easily be scoffed at as just another racing game, Buggy Boy more or less manages to hold its own (Oo-er), against the rest of them. There's not much variation between tracks, and it's a bit scruffy in appearance, but what it lacks in refinement it makes up for with speed and action-packed-ness. Potential "Super Champs" contestants may well be impressed.

Graphics: 6/10
Playability: 8/10
Value For Money: 7/10
Addictiveness: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Summary: Fast, rough but nothing startlingly new. Don't play it after a heavy meal!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 51, March 1990   page(s) 42

Ambitious racing game from a year or two back that doesn't quite work, Your buggy - for once brightly coloured and readily distinguishable from the background - has five course to negotiate, all of which can be loaded in without you having to qualify first. on all of these courses the going's tough - not only for your buggy, which bumps up and down like a good 'un, but also for you, as there are a number of rocks and other hazards which need to be avoided if you're to stay in one piece. The rocks and things look well drawn from afar, but become increasingly indistinct as the get nearer - mainly because the same number of pixels is used in both drawings, and these are simply magnified as they get closer. This looks quite clever to start off with but soon becomes irritating, especially as the collision detection is none to good. What's most unforgivable, though, is the game's deadly slowness, which might just be bearable if not for the speedometer, which tell you you are going at 227 mph when it's clearly nearer 2.27. The ingredients are there, but frustratingly Buggy Boy doesn't quite cut it. For race freaks only, I'm afraid.

Overall: 42%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 75, June 1988   page(s) 27

Pedal to the metal, it's race time again as the latest road burning game hits the shops. Buggy Boy contains some prodigious feats of programming, though as you'll see, you may not fin it more enjoyable than existing titles such as Outrun or Crazy Cars.

As usual your car appears in the lower centre of the screen, and the course swerves from left to right around you. In this game, though, hitting obstacles such as logs causes you to leap into the air. This can be handy if it helps you to avoid more solid objects such as boulders, but it can also cause you a bit of a head ache on landing - in fact, you can end up as a (beautifully animated) fireball.

There are five courses to race, the first an off-road trail and the others progressively harder racetracks. All are littered with obstacles including trees, boulders, logs, flags and gates, tunnels, bridges and fences. Steering is straightforward, but if you're in a tight corner you can press the fire button as you turn to execute a particularly sharp curve. By pulling the stick up and down you can also change gear, since there are only two gears, this doesn't add all that much to the game.

To squeeze between obstacles you can tilt your Baja Buggy on to two wheels b running over a small rock. More bizarrely, though, some of the obstacles just seen to disappear if you drive straight at them - there are a couple of dissolving trees, for instance.

Picking up flags and driving through flagged gates scores you extra points, and if you can get between TIME flags you score a time bonus. The aim, of course, is to complete each course before the timer runs out; subsequent tracks are loaded from tape in the 48K version, though they're all loaded at once in 128K.

Buggy Boy's good points include the huge, well animated graphics. The car is particularly good, swerving and bumping better than those of any other racing game - it's all three times the size of its rivals. Some objects are a bit of a let down; the boulders, for instance, look like the piles of icing found on Midget Gems (remember them?) The music's good too. It has to be said, though, that while it looks wonderful, Bugg Boy lacks something.

It's partly because the road layout is vague, also because some of the objects are a bit ephemeral but mostly to do with the fact that you never really get a sense of speed or excitement. Ultimately a it disappointing.

Label: Elite
Author: In-house
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Overall: 8/10

Summary: Graphically excellent roadrace, slightly let down by gameplay which lacks excitement.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 96, March 1990   page(s) 75

Yeah, you remember this one! Vroom, vroom! Bump boink! This was one of the rather better offerings from 1988's rash of tire-squealin', rubber-burnin", car-smashing drivin' games, and it's nice to see it making it onto budget.

Converted faithfully from the Tatsumi coin-op, Buggy Boy is a driver's-eye view racing game featuring remarkably good scrolling and up-down movement of the background. To add even more to the action, your dune buggy has an un-nerving tendency to leave the ground, and though you only have two gears and an accelerator to worry about, keeping control is a real challenge.

You don't have a straightforward course to contend with either. The five courses are littered with boulders, trees, brick walls and fences, all jigging about with nicely judged perspective animation. You have to dodge or jump over the obstacles, keeping your speed as high as possible to complete the courses in time without spinning off the track.

You can collect bonus points by passing between gates or picking up flags, and these points are converted in to much-needed bonus time on the next leg. There's also a mysterious football, bouncing through the desert as if it's escaped from another game, and this gives you bonus time too.

With a route map showing you the amount of the course you've completed, tempting you to take dangerous risks as you battle to defeat the time, Buggy Boy is one of the most exciting racing games of the lot; big chunky colourful graphics and appropriately poot-poot sound add to the overall impression of polish.

It's greet, mun!

Label: Zeppelin
Author: Dented Designs
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Graphics: 56%
Sound: 57%
Playability: 45%
Lastability: 35%
Overall: 45%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 100, March 1990   page(s) 65

Spectrum, C64, Amstrad £1.99

Three! Two! One! Yer off! The second Encore release this month is the conversion of the classic Tatsumi off-road racing game. Jump into a dune buggy and tackle any of the five available tracks, each one split into a number of stages, the object being to complete the course within the limited time given.

Buggy Boy is still one of the best drivers available on computer, certainly a lot better than the Out Runs of this world, and now it's a damn sight less expensive too. The Spectrum version is a bit of let-down, but even this is a bundle of fun and, at the price, there's no reason for anyone not to buy this classic.

Overall: 72%

Summary: Monochrome graphics, although detailed, tend to blend into each other making it difficult to follow the action. Apart from that, Space Harrier offers enjoyable play in the short-term.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 7, June 1988   page(s) 38

Atari ST Diskette: £19.95
Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £7.99, Diskette: £11.99

BUGGY BOY is Elite's second release for the Atari ST. On the Commodore 64, Buggy Boy received a massive 92% in TGM033 - a tough act to follow.

The game is a road-race against time through five fiendishly tortuous circuit s. Trees, barricades, rocks and other obstacles bar the way as the buggy bounces over logs, drives along the side of hills, through tunnels and over bridges, while collecting flags and passing through gates for bonus points and extra time.

Of the two versions here, the Atari game fares the better, with smart, neatly detailed graphics and very smooth scrolling. The buggy is a deceptively agile vehicle, nipping through gaps between obstacles with remarkable ease. The game is let down in places by average graphic effects - the explosion when a tunnel wall is hit and the weak attempt at mud spurting from the rear wheels of the buggy. However, much is made up for with its superb playability.

In an attempt to copy the coin-op, the Spectrum buggy takes up a third of the screen in height, an interesting feature which inevitably restricts its freedom of movement and obscures oncoming hazards, particularly when going over the crest of hills.

Graphically, the program works well, colour is used cleverly and it all moves along at a fair pace. But where on the ST the buggy merely rolls and loses a little speed if it has a rock, the Spectrum buggy explodes, which is unfair. It lacks sound too, with none at all on the 48K and limited to spot FX on the 128K, though there is an adequate sound track at the start. The 128K version also loads all five tracks at the start, while only the Offroad track is resident in 48K memory. Due to these differences the two Spectrum versions have been rated separately.

Overall: 74%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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