Amstrad Computer User

Kikstart II

Publisher: Mastertronic
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Computer User #49

Kikstart II

Fans of the now defunct Kick Start television programme will remember some very evil obstacles, including the narrow rail over the deep pit that everyone was far too skilled to fall from.

Kikstart II, the computer game, has a good selection of difficult bits - ramps, steps, tables, walls, hedges - but no rails over pits. There are also some quite surreal obstacles, like the giant springboards that propel bike and rider in the general direction of the ozone layer.

Obstacles must be tackled at the right speed. Too fast, and the front wheel gets the terminal wobblies, depositing you in the mud. Too slow, and it's guest appearance in the gunge again.

Kikstart II

Mud is a major problem - it slows the bike down, adding seconds to your time. It also gets you rather grubby, but that's just an aside.

The race is over five tracks against the clock and a computer or fellow-being controlled opponent. Bits of the game will be far too difficult, and it is here that the track editor comes into its own. All the difficult bits can be cut out, and perhaps the desperately easy bits spiced up a little. If you really want to cheat, the whole course can be made flat - dull, but certainly fast!

New levels can be created quite easily, despite the icon system, and can be saved to tape to provide torture at your leisure. All 24 levels can be redefined, but they provide a pretty humongous challenge as is.

Kikstart II

The game loads with a pretty if somewhat bent drawing of a trials bike and rider. From then on, the graphics seem to go into decline, with absolutely weeny bikes bouncing enormous heights over large plain obstacles.

The sound demands special mention - a slightly up-tempo version of John Cage's Four Minutes and Thirty Three Seconds. Alleatory music fans will realise this means there is no sound whatsoever.

Kikstart II has a nasty habit of throwing the rider over the bars for no adequately explained reason. Some small comfort can be taken from the fact that the computer-controlled opponent falls off with equal frequency.


Kikstart II

The graphics work, and the scrolling is nice, but the constant, "Oh dear, I seem to have fallen off again" syndrome is very annoying.

Kikstart II is a lucklustre conversion that elicits a hearty "Ho hum". The tracks are varied and none of them are easy, but there is definitely something missing.

The track editor on this one doesn't make up for the better gameplay of ATV Simulator.