Friday, May 15, 2009
Buggy Boy (C64, 1987)
This is a great game. No surprises there since this is generally considered one of the flagship C64 titles. Sadly, it's one of the classics that I missed back in the day. There were only so many games you could have, even if you were buying pirate copies. But having recently played it extensively thanks to the monthly Lemon-64 gaming compo, I can say that it fully deserves it's reputation.
On the surface, this is just another arcade racer. Usually, in arcade racers (especially the retro variety) you somehow run much faster than your on-screen opponents, so the focus is into avoiding other vehicles, all the while you try to stay in the circuit managing those nasty corners effectively. Buggy Boy takes a different approach, whereas you only encounter few and far between enemy-vehicles. Instead, you slalom your way across the circuit, ski-style, in-between poles that contain bonuses. In the meantime, the circuits are littered with obstacles: walls, rocks, bends etc. Some of them can "interact" with your vehicle. There is this certain type of rock for example that makes your buggy run on two wheels, or this mud-like thing which makes it jump. Others simply make you crash.
What basically happens is that the game tempts you into chasing bonuses (some of them quite surreal, like the football which you can kick with your buggy), before throwing a hazardous number of obstacles at you. It's a good idea to memorize the trickier parts of each circuit then, especially since some circuits require you to perform faultlessly and pick those time-bonuses in full. In that sense, the best strategy is to deal with one circuit at a time.
Now, I've heard some complaints about this game, that it's not fast enough. I think this is poppycock. The speed is just perfect for what the game offers. Any more fast and it would've been unplayable with so many obstacles scattered around. Besides, the thrill is there. And also, since when is speed all there is to an arcade racer? In my opinion, too much speed can make a game frustrating as hell, as in the case of, say, Outrun Europa. Instead, the reasonable speed, great action and grippy controls make Buggy Boy a winner.