Buggy Boy
By Encore
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #59

Buggy Boy

Splashed around Buggy Boy's inlay is the proud boast "Zzap! Gold Medal Winner" and, fortunately, time has done little to diminish the appeal of this fun road racer. What helps make it so enjoyable are more flags than even the UN could dream of. Practically a forest of the things cover the road, which is more than welcome since driving over them wins points. Collect the ones shown on the top right of the screen and you get a big bonus, as you do if you run into a football!

But there's also plenty of obstacles, including boulders, trees, narrow bridges, steep banks, and tunnels. Some obstacles leave gaps so narrow you'll need to go onto two wheels to get through!

For the long straights, press fire to go into high gear; use low gear when you're dropped back onto the track after a nasty crash. As in the original Tatsumi coin-op, the five courses can be attempted in any order and should you finish one then all you get is a high score for that track - your score isn't carried over to the next course. Background graphics range from desert to arctic, and while there isn't any difference in handling, there's no multi-load either. Course layout varies considerably, with an on-screen map showing your progress along suitably twisted roads. All the tracks - except Offroad, where you must do laps - are divided into sections, with a time limit for each. Extra time gates give a little help in beating the clock, but the only way to finish a course is by sheer driving ability.

While game variety is a little lacking by comparison by modern software, this is still a first class game. The temptation to go after all the point bonuses adds a great deal to the standard racing action, while the overall presentation of the game is great. The road graphics move quickly and smoothly, the buggy is beautifully drawn and animated, while plenty of coin-op jingles create a great arcade feel. If you didn't get this the first time around, or on one of the compilations it's appeared on, you've got to get it now. Buggy Boy is an all-time classic C64 coin-op conversion which shouldn't be missed.