Buggy Boy logo Amiga Computing Excellence Award

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 cannot 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 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 graphics 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 is 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.

Buggy Boy logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Price: £24.95

A full seven months after the release of the totally groovy 64 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 pace, 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 'Off-road' 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 colour 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 your 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 if 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!

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 had 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 believe it. In fact, even though it's a relatively simple game, I can't see interest waning for a long 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.

Elite's brilliant 16-bit conversion of the classic race game

Buggy Boy logo Zzap! Sizzler

Elite, £24.95 disk

Tatsumi's most famous racing game, Buggy Boy, has now reached the Amiga in the wake of Elite's acclaimed Commodore 64 conversion. In the standard tradition of the genre, stages have to be completed within the allotted time limit, whilst avoiding obstacles which lie in the path of your Baja Bug.

At the beginning of the game, one of the five available courses is chosen - Offroad, North, South, East and West. Each of these is split into five stages, and it is these which have to be completed in a set amount of time.

With course selection made, you are presented with a view of the track from behind and slightly above the buggy. In the upper left of the screen a map shows the path of the selected course, with circular stage markers spread along its distance. As progress along the track is made, this map changes colour to mark your current position, and stage marker flags in the upper right of the screen are highlighted as they are completed. Other displays show time remaining, speed in kilometres per hour, score, and lo/hi gear selection.

Standard steering and acceleration/deceleration joystick conventions are used, and gear is toggled using the fire button. As the buggy follows the twisting course, obstacles such as walls, rocks, water, trees and lamp posts must be avoided at all costs, ore a sore head and a red bottom could be your lot. Collision with any of the hazards stalls the buggy to a crawl, and precious time is lost as speed is regained.

However, not all the objects scattered along the race tracks are to the detriment of the Baja Bug. Running over al log causes it to jump into the air, avoiding any speed-stealing hazards below. Hitting a stone or tree stump sets the buggy running along on two wheels, which allows the vehicle to get through otherwise impassable gaps.

Points are awarded for collecting the flags and steering through the point gates which lie along the way, and total point and time bonuses are awarded on completion of each stage. Time remaining is carried over into the next stage, and additional time is also given for any bonus gates passed through during stage.

As courses are negotiated, stages become more difficult, with more nasty obstacles to test buggy driver's skill. Luckily, a football which appears occasionally can be hit to give bonus points and light relief to the harried speed king!

Gordon Houghton I must say I think the 64 version is the best racing game around, so I was holding my breath (don't try this at home, kids!) in anticipation of the Amiga conversion. I am not disappointed! Amiga Buggy Boy retains all of the 8-bit's playability and, if anything gains a lot due to its fantastic authenticity to the arcade original. The only graphical differences to Tatsumi's coin-op are the small reduction in buggy size and a marginally slower screen update. These differences, already minor, aren't noticed when involved in the totally absorbing races, and - short of a steering wheel, gear stick and accelerator pedal - it's just like playing the arcade game, as sound, too, is faithful to the original. I was actually swaying in my seat when trying to coax the buggy around curves - it's that good! £25 isn't really an amount of money to spend lightly, but you can buy Buggy Boy safe in the knowledge of dosh well spent.
Maff Evans Elite's fine 64 conversion of Buggy Boy has received an equally good treatment on the Amiga. This incarnation fully exploits the power of the machine to produce arguably the best driving game on any home computer. The graphics and sound fully captivate the atmosphere of the coin-op original, the buggy itself is very well defined - looking like something you'd expect to see in a cartoon - and the shifting vanishing-point of the road makes the speedy 3D effect thoroughly convincing. Surprisingly, using a joystick to steer the buggy doesn't feel unwieldy, in fact the control is extremely comfortable and you don't miss having a steering wheel to whip around at all. The presentation is very arcade-like and reminds me of the games Atari were releasing a couple of years ago, mainly due to the bright colours and Atari-esque music. If you haven't got an Amiga, think about getting one to play Buggy Boy!

Paul Glancey In these days of Out Run et al, Buggy Boy would seem to be too outdated for today's 16-bit owners - nothing could be further from the truth! Short of the varied scenery and variety of vehicles, Buggy Boy is every bit as fun as the race games of today. The conversion's accuracy to the coin-op is amazing, and is every bit as addictive as it was when it hit the arcades. The perspective is very effective, particularly the tunnel and bank sequences, and sharp joystick response gives you a great feeling of control. Buggy Boy is a fast paced game that will have you wrenching the joystick from side to side to avoid walls and fences to collect flags. The bouncing, dodging, collecting, game of Buggy Boy will be a big hit with all types of arcade game fans - buy it!
Zzap's Rockford: Aaarrrgghh!