It's not every day that you find a completely non-violent game that manages to combine speed, skills, and excitement with simplicity, but Buggy Boy has managed to deliver the goods in fine style. Coin-op conversions too often fail to reach the standards of the originals. The same can not be said of Buggy Boy. All the qualities that made this Taito machine so popular in the arcades have been skilfully ported across to the Amiga. Elite is to be congratulated on a first rate job.
The scenario is simple. You are in charge of a cute four-wheeled Baja buggy and must drive it around a number of courses, earning points as you go. Controls are equally simple -using the joystick, push forward to accelerate, back to brake, left and right to steer and the fire button to toggle between low and high gears. Five selectable courses run through differently stylised landscapes. Every course is broken down into five legs - you must complete each one within a given time limit before you'll be allowed to continue to the next. The view of the action is from high above and just behind your buggy, mud spurting from its wheels as it picks up speed. Your progress around the course is charted on a map at the top of the screen where other information, such as time remaining, score, gear selected and speed is also displayed.
The roads are mainly split into three driving lanes - you can drive outside these but your buggy slows up considerably. Drive through wide, bunting-capped gates and past short coloured flags to earn points. Extra points are gained by hitting the flags in the prescribed order shown at the top of the screen. Gates labelled "Time" will add a further two seconds to the limit allowed to complete the next leg - if you make it that far. The biggest problem to fast and unimpeded progress is the sheer quantity and type of obstacles - some of them so cunningly placed that you'll need quick wits and fast reflexes to avoid them. Boulders, heaped tyres, trees, fences, timber stacks, cacti, and street lamps will flip your buggy over if hit, causing it to spin and come to a swift stop.
Valuable time is lost when you drive off the highway into the sea or a lake - your buggy disappears with a splash, floats up and repositions itself back on the road. Smacking straight into a solid wall results in your buggy being replaced by a short burst of flame - the only disappointing graphic effect - then reappearing in mint condition at a point beside the impact.
Adding enormously to the fun are dark and winding tunnels, sloping embankments which you can gleefully drive your buggy up - like a wall-of-death rider, footballs which take off like scalded cats when struck, puddles of gunge which momentarily slow you down, and logs which when hit, surprisingly send you soaring through the air -handy for leaping obstacles. And most fun of all are the molehills and tree stumps which, when struck, tip your buggy on its side allowing you to zip along on two wheels for as long as you can keep it in that position. This technique is essential for dodging round some of the more Fiendishly placed obstacles. Assuming you make it through one leg of the course in time, there's no rest - you race straight on to the next stage. A pause facility on the left hand mouse button useful. The joystick hand begins to wilt after five punishing, non-stop legs.
Nifty sound effects, jolly jingles, bright colours, clean and cute graphics, fast and smooth action and a well varied content makes Buggy Boy a joy to play. The challenge of completing all the courses and then trying again and again to better your score ensures that this is a game that will not soon be consigned to the attic. A lively and lovely, non-violent game. Nice one, Elite.
A lot of people consider Buggy Boy (or Speed Buggy as it's known in the US) a rather influental game. It is considered to be the first true racing game with a good feel for speed. Others have tried before but all have failed.
Buggy boy is a third person perspective racing game, using sprite graphics. The scenery dashes past you as you race along, avoiding boulders, trees and alike which cause your buggy to tumble or just slow you down. As in Outrun, you must pass checkpoints within a certain time or the race is over. Of the five tracks, four are a series of checkpoints with a start and a finish, while one (Off Road) is a circuit where you can complete lap after lap. The tracks have many different coloured flags that you can drive through for point bonuses, or extra time. There are also smaller flags that start to flash under certain conditions, presumably giving you extra bonus points.
This is one "small" yet enjoyable game.
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