Commodore User


Author: Gary Whitta
Publisher: Elite
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Commodore User #58

Buggy Boy

A full seven months after the release of the totally groovy C64 version, Buggy Boy has finally arrived on the Amiga. If you're already yawning at the prospect of another race game and are just about to turn the page, don't. Buggy Boy is a race game with a difference. There are no 30 squillion horsepower Mansellmobiles or Playboy sports cars to drive here, instead you take the wheel of a huge customised beach buggy. Sounds like fun? It is.

There are four courses to race over, North, South, East and West, as well as an 'Offroad' practice track where you can develop your driving skills. It's not just a case of getting from start to finish within the time limit, however. Ooooh, no. There are all sorts of objects and features littering the road to help or hinder your progress. Flags, for instance, crop up in the road frequently and give a small score bonus for each one run over, and if you're def enough to collect five in the correct order of control as indicated at the top of the screen, you are awarded a juicy megabonus. In addition, banner gates appear from time to time and award bonuses up to 500 points if you drive through them. But by far the most useful features in the road are the logs which send you bouncing into the air, and over any obstacles in the road.

Okay, so what fiendish nasties are out to get you? Well, there are sections of fencing in the road that send your buggy spinning should you hit one, large boulders that have the same effect and small rocks that throw your buggy over onto two wheels, French lorry driver style. There are also some sections of the race that require particularly nifty steering, such as the tunnels, where you can't see a thing and the narrow bridges, where any loss of control will send you plunging into the drink. As it that wasn't bad enough, there are parts of the road that are so badly congested with rocks that you are forced to drive sideways up a cliff face in order to pass!

Buggy Boy

Something else I noticed was a blue loglike thing that appears in the road from time to time. I'm sure it's supposed to be a rock, but if Messrs' Dillon and Patterson are to be believed, it's a drunken wino who has collapsed in the road. At least that would explain why it squeals when you drive over it!

All the courses are split into five legs, and after the completion of each leg, the timer is replenished and any time you had left over is added on. To give you an idea of exactly where you are, a course map is presented at the top of the screen, with a creeping red line to show your progress. Each leg has a different set of scenery, for example, leg one may start off in a city at night, but going through to the second leg reveals a rustic country setting.

It's not different to work out why Buggy Boy is so appealing. The graphics are lovely and large, just as they should be, with very fluid animation all round, and colour put to very good use. The sound is nice, and matches the 'cute' nature of the game, with lots of bells and little jingles. Unfortunately, there isn't much in the way of a soundtrack. I'm sure that if Elite has put a summery Out Run style tune on the title screen, it would have spruced up the game no end. Presentation is good too, with a neat demo mode, easy to use menu, and a separate hi-score table for each course. But what really stunned me, more than any of this, was the totally awesome gameplay. The buggy is soooo responsive, and is such a joy to drive, I found myself loving every minute of my time with it. Even though I hate to use the word, it's incredibly addictive. You have to play it to believe it. In fact, even though it's a relatively simple game. I can't see interest waning for a good time to come. It really is that good.

Having played Buggy Boy, many a time in the arcade, I can say that Elite have done a marvellous job on the conversion, capturing not just the look, but the feel too, and this bodes well for their future Amiga conversions, Ikari Warriors and Space Harrier.

Gary Whitta