Saturday, September 21, 2019

Buggy Boy

Silly & Screwy Racing

After the joy of Arkanoid 2, we continue our trip through Atari's Super Pack with Beyond the Ice Palace and Black Lamp. However, both are already featured here on AtariCrypt [click the links] so let's move onwards for a favourite of mine, Buggy Boy. Those with a keen memory will remember that I've already covered this?

Well, yes and no... Yes, it's featured but no, it was just a silly post showing Buggy Boy running at dizzy speeds on my 16Mhz Mega STe!! Still, it's worth viewing... Honest.

Buggy Boy is an arcade classic and one that doesn't take itself seriously whatsoever. Forget the crucial stuff like road surface, tyres, suspension, handling, pitstops or even the paint job. Nope, just choose which of the five tracks you fancy and then jump into your buggy and race through checkpoints - all against the clock.

But let's not forget the belting cartoon-like visuals for a chance to view a couple of screenshots...

Who doesn't love two-wheel stunts? If Michael Knight can do it, so can I.

Abandoned logs help our cute buggy to leap high into the air!

Fun, Fun, Fun!!

Everything you see is completely unrealistic thanks to roads cluttered with obstacles and whacky physics. The first track is an offroad loop whereas the others are segmented by their checkpoints as you progress. This racer was always meant to be fun so provides silly leaps and two-wheel driving, Knight Rider style :-)

Points can be earned by collecting flags in the order shown at the top of your screen. Once completed, they begin to flash - so now is a good idea to collect more before that stops... Also, slalom-style gates are scattered throughout for tons of points and some even offer time bonuses. Heck, you might even see a soccer ball... Go on, kick it!!

Football, in a driving game? Yep, check out the screenshots that follow...

Hit that soccer ball like Pele and see what happens to eagle-eyed drivers.

Why not climb those sloping walls to avoid obstacles like annoying rocks.

Forget sim, this is pure arcade joy!

Some tracks have banked curves and can be used like you're racing at Bristol Motor Speedway which was an unexpected surprise that certainly adds to the overall excitement. However, not all is good, look out for rocks, bushes or barriers which slow you down or take you for a tumble. Driving head-on into a wall will cause you to explode and water has never been good for any vehicle. Each bad event forces the loss of precious time!

The joystick controls are brilliant albeit limited by the ST. Of course, an analogue wheel was always going to be missed, but the weirdest aspect is pushing upwards to accelerate rather than using the button. That's because tapping this switches between your two gears... it's odd but you'll get used to it after a race or two.

Arcade fun on your Atari ST? Whatever next? I'll tell you, some more screenshots...

There was plenty of room but I still chose to leap over that rock. Why not!

Watch out, tunnel ahead! Enter without hitting slap-bang in the wall if you can?


Graphically, Buggy Boy hasn't aged too badly and certainly brought back all my old arcade memories. The sprites are nice, the colours are gorgeously vivid, and the overall appearance is cartoon-like. Okay, the framerate isn't exactly Vroom but it looks cute and performs smooth enough not to hurt my eyes, ala Cisco Heat and OutRun!!

The audio is darn cool and captures the arcade experience with its beautiful chiptunes - all produced by the talented Jason C. Brooke. Sound effects are almost as good with jazzy jingles and funny "boings" as we leap.

So, it looks and sounds great? Do you know what that means? Yep, some more screenshots to gawk at...

Bumping into some obstacles slows you down...

...whereas others cause the buggy to realistically tumble. Ahem.

The CryptO'pinion?

It's difficult to find something negative to say about this racer. But, if I was to be picky, then the framerate could be a tad smoother and I miss the audio touches like skids or driving through tunnels. But I really am being picky!!

Overall, this is an outstanding conversion of the arcade original. It looks, sounds and plays absolutely great plus the ability to instantly select your preferred course is a huge bonus. It's authentic and brilliantly entertaining, so it will always keep on dragging you back for more. Buggy Boy is an Atari ST gem and I love it. Simple as that really.

The floppies can be sourced using Old Games Finder but, if you have the necessary hardware, I would advice you to download the cool hack by D-Bug. This not only comes with a fantastic intro but also supports faster Atari computers, like my own Mega STe. This, is a superb feature that I love to bits!! (can you tell? lol)


  1. Nice review mate. Such pleasant game to play. Yes it's not realistic at all but on the whole the mixture of 2d and 3d is just excellent. Later vroom will use this "recipe" too. You can really do crazy thing in this game like driving on a slope, jump and kick ball.

    1. thanks man, although this reply took me two years! (gotta be a record, right?)