Buggy Boy

by Mark Cooksey, Maz H. Spork, Paul D. Walker
Elite Systems Ltd
Crash Issue 53, Jun 1988   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, Mar 1990   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

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