Jet Bike Simulator

by David Whittaker, James Wilson, Mervin James, The Oliver Twins, Gavin Macleod
Code Masters Plus
Crash Issue 50, Mar 1988   page(s) 101

Producer: Code Masters Plus
Retail Price: £4.99
Author: The Oliver Twins

Skis and BMX bikes are things of the past for Code Masters - now the kings of low-rent simulations are zooming into a new label on jet bikes, personal skimmers of the future.

The rider stands on a jet bike's back as it slips across the water's surface. And Jet Bike Simulator offers 24 courses, with settings that range from lakes and coasts to docklands. In each the jet bike must be steered around numbered floating buoys, taking them in sequence, to complete a lap.

There's a strict time limit, so luckily control of the jet bike is simple. But forward thinking is required for successful steering: the jet bike can, under thrust, overshoot a corner and head in an entirely inappropriate direction.

The courses aren't always simple, and a skilled jet biker can navigate around bridges, leap over aquajumps and avoid great clogging banks of weed.

After the completion of a course, a performance table gives the lap times of the player(s) and the computer-controlled drone racers, the best recorded lap times, and scores and time bonuses.


Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: small and indistinguished; there's lots of colour but the bikes get lost in the white dots (spray) they create
Sound: crackly speech on the title screen, acceptable title tune, poorly-used spot effects
Options: standard and expert (more difficult) versions - the Plus aspect of Code Masters Plus; one or two players; action-replay option

Jet Bike Simulator is a very fast, all-action colourful creation. Manoeuvring the jet bikes is difficult at first - they tend to slide about all over the place - but getting the speed and skilful swerves right is all part of the fun. I loved Jet Bike Simulator, though I didn't win a race!
NATHAN [75%]

Behind the self-congratulatory inlay, the excessive hype and the amateurish poster of the bestubbled yuppies lurk a very good game. The presentation is excellent, with a wide range of options, speedy loading of new courses and a large, informative and colourful display. And there's a wealth of circuits and graded difficulty levels which are genuinely different and challenging. But graphically Jet Bike Simulator is inconsistent. Using arrows to represent jet bikes just isn't good enough, though the trails they leave in the water are effective, and the backgrounds range from abysmally indistinct to very pretty. The control method is the standard Code Masters inertial sprite-guidance given a couple of tweaks; it's very frustrating to begin with, but addictive once you can start anticipating obstacles and speeding around them. There are two major criticisms, however. The drones always take the same route, so there's no real racing; and the £4.99 Code Masters Plus price is too high for this kind of essentially simple game, add-ones and difficulty levels not withstanding.
GORDON [76%]

Presentation: 80%
Graphics: 67%
Playability: 72%
Addictive Qualities: 78%
Overall: 75%

Summary: General Rating: This is a good treatment of the jet-bike theme smothered with presentation, but the basic game is too much like BMX Simulator and Grand Prix Simulator.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 27, Mar 1988   page(s) 72

Code Masters
Reviewer: Tony Worrall

Yet another Simulator from budget king Code Masters, but this time packaged in a novel and rather more expensive way. Jet Bike Sim is the first of the new 'Plus' Series, offering two versions for the same game on two cassettes, together with extra course backgrounds.

Jet bikes are those trendy mini-motor boat thingies that look like motor boats without wheels - the sort of thing that James Bond can construct out of his cigarette case and yuppies are buying in droves (darling warling!). In JBS you have the chance to drive one of these around a water course and try to beat a set time limit, as well as outspeeding three other competitors. Trouble is, everything looks so small and tacky! The bikes are just UDGs and the backgrounds feel very messy.

On top of that, some dodgy controls make the game extremely frustrating to play. Later levels get very tricky indeed and you'll find you have to be skillo.

It's not bad, but JBS fails to capture the style and playability of BMX Simulator. The extra course makes it rather better value, but then of course it does cost two and a hall times as much!

Jet Bike Simulator is more fun with a friend, but then again isn't everything? A definite try-before-you-buy.

Graphics: 4/10
Playability: 6/10
Value For Money: 5/10
Addictiveness: 5/10
Overall: 5/10

Summary: A new concept in budget game packaging from Code Masters. (Pity the game's not up to much, though!)

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 71, Feb 1988   page(s) 36,37

Label: Codemasters
Author: The Oliver Twins
Price: £4.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Racing cars. BMX bikes. Go-karts. Skateboards, What is there left to write a circuit-racing game around?

Just transfer the same scenario to the water, and the solution's obvious. Yachts. Speedboats. Rowing boats. Pedalos. Oh, I know - those zippy how-long-can-you-manage-to-stay-on jet bikes. Bash out the backgrounds, change the speech samples and there you are.

JBS comes as the first offering on the new Codemasters+ label and we know what '+' means don't we? More money. JBS costs £4.99. There are 24 courses spread across two tapes. Perceived value for money? More on that later.

If anything, Jet Bike Simulator features even more detailed backgrounds, and as a result even tinier and less detailed sprites, than the Oliver Twins' previous hit Grand Prix Simulator.

The only real difference is that when you're steering a jetbike, you can't use the forces of friction to keep you on the course as you scream around a corner - try it here, and you'll end up banging into a schooner. No brakes, of course - thrust, left and right. There are two versions of the game on the tapes. The difficult Expert version allows you to see all the courses before you play. On the easier version, each one comes as an unpleasant surprise.

There are three groups of eight courses - docks, lakes and coastline. The complexity of the courses, the of obstacles and the tightness of the turns obviously increase as you move on.

On each course, the aim is to complete it within a set time limit, racing against two drone bikes and one which is controlled by another player, or the computer. Each course features several sets of buoys (unfair to gurls) which you have to steer between in the correct order. As you zoom along, a trail of bubbles spreads behind you. If you get stuck behind all three opponents you'll practically lose sight of your bike.

At the end of each level there's a score table which gives your lap time, those of your competitors, and your position.

The sound effects are of the plip-plip-plip variety, and the collision detection is a bit dodgy. Try to shave past a buoy, and you'll more than likely bounce off invisible underwater obstruction.

Jet Bike Simulator in a two-cassette pack with a poster and a sticker at £4.99. It's a price level for the software industry, and it will be interesting see whether Codemasters can establish it.

Is Jet Bike Simulator the money? Well, it's basically a "remix" of the ideas conatined in Grand Prix Simulator. If you're the type buys extended, remixed, disco dance versions of chart records, then you might be the type who'll buy Jet Bike. I'm a great remix merchant myself, but then I'm stupid.

Overall: 7/10

Summary: Difficult to decide whether this self-derivative game deserves a look at this price point. A lot of it, but it's a new 'budget' price.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Issue 7, Apr 1988   page(s) 42

Watersports Codemasters style.

Not content with releasing a string of high quality budget games, Codemasters have now introduced their Plus range.

For just a couple of extra pounds, the player gets two versions of the same game. One version is standard, the other is a version for expert players. You can of course forget about the standard version and just play the expert version, if you so desire.

Jet Bike Simulator is one such Plus game and the player has a choice of three settings - lakes, coastline and dockland. On the standard version one or two players compete to finish the course (weaving in and out of the buoys in the correct order) within the time limit For the expert levels you have the same courses but you have to finish the race in at least third place (there are either two or three computer controlled drones, depending on whether you're playing solo or with a friend) to qualify for the next course.

The game plays extremely well and is very addictive, falling somewhere between BMX and Grand Prix Simulator in style. The standard version of the game is a shade on the easy side, but the addition of extra courses and the expert level means you'll be playing this for a long time to come.

Reviewer: Andy Smith

Spec, £4.99cs, Out Now
Ams, £4.99cs, Out Now

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 75/100
1 hour: 80/100
1 day: 85/100
1 week: 65/100
1 month: 50/100
1 year: 20/100

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Graphics: 7/10
Audio: 3/10
IQ Factor: 2/10
Fun Factor: 8/10
Ace Rating: 819/1000

Summary: The extra features make for long-lasting fun.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Issue 8, May 1988   page(s) 72

Spectrum, £4.99cs
Amstrad, £4.99cs

This is one of Codemasters "plus" range, which means that for just a couple of pounds more than the usual £1.99 that Codemasters charge for 8-bit games, you get two versions of the game - normal and expert. In Jet Bike Simulator you and a friend can charge around several water courses on your jet bike competing against two computer drones. Simple but addictive fun.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 77, Mar 1988   page(s) 64,65

MACHINES: Spectrum/Amstrad
SUPPLIER: Code Masters
PRICE: £4.99
VERSIONS TESTED: Spectrum/Amstrad

This latest Code Masters' simulation package promises so much. But, for me, the promise, is not delivered.

For the very reasonable sum of £4.99 you get two cassettes containing the standard game, the expert game, extra courses based on coastlines and extra courses based on docks, making 24 circuits in all. Not only that. There's also a colour poster and a Code Masters sticker.

All this is flawed by the fact that the game is not good. In fact, it's boring.

The courses are viewed from above. There are four jetbikes in each race and up to two people can play. You race against the clock, completing two circuits in the time, and must steer between the numbered buoys in the correct sequence. If you qualify you go onto the next course. In all there are five courses to be beaten in each championship.

Both the Spectrum and Amstrad versions make an attempt at speech. I had to listen to the Spectrum version several times before I could make out what it was. The Amstrad speech is a little better.

The jetbikes themselves appear as little more than small arrow shaped creations with a stream of what seems like bubbles coming from the back.

So it's down to an actual race. On the Spectrum version I first elected to use the keyboard. "Get read," croaked the Speccue. I got ready. Tension didn't mount. Then we were off.

The computer-controlled bikes rocketed away. Well, perhaps not quite, but they moved a lot faster than me. I shot off in an erratic manner, bouncing off islands, moored boats, disappearing under walk ways, missing the bouys and eventually being run over by my fellow competitors. All that and I still didn't sink.

A few more attempts failed to see any significant improvement in my race technique or desire to continue playing the game.

However, I switched to joystick control in the hope of gaining some control over the bike. Things became a little better but I still appeared to be out of control most of the time. In a last ditch attempt, I switched to the Amstrad with the same lack of effect.

The sound effects on the Amstrad was a series of bings and bongs, the significance of which I couldn't quite make out. On the Spectrum it was clicks.

I'm sure jetbike racing is probably one of the most exciting water sports. Jetbike Simulator is not one of the most exciting of computer games.

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Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 6/10
Value: 6/10
Playability: 4/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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