Buggy Boy

by Mark Cooksey, Maz H. Spork, Paul D. Walker
Elite Systems Ltd
Sinclair User Issue 75, Jun 1988   page(s) 27

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

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 bit disappointing.

Overall: 8/10

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

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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

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

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 into 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!

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

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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