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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Buggy Boy

After the joy of Arkanoid 2, we continue our trip through Super Pack land with Beyond the Ice Palace and Black Lamp. However, both are already featured right here on AtariCrypt [click their links] so let's move onwards to another ST favourite of mine, Buggy Boy!! Now, those with a keen memory for all the junk I post on this website will remember that I've already covered this racer. Well, yes and no... Yes, it's featured but no, it was just a silly post because I was enjoying the dizzy speeds of my 16Mhz Mega STe!! Still, it's worth viewing!! Well, maybe...

Buggy Boy is an arcade classic and something 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.

Who doesn't love two-wheel stunts or abandoned logs that help us leap high into the air!

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!!

Hit that soccer ball like Pele and climb sloping walls to avoid obstacles like these annoying rocks.

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 so 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 you to lose 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.

There was plenty of room but I still chose to leap over that rock. Watch out, tunnel ahead!

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 so 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!!

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.

Bumping into some obstacles slows you down whereas others cause the buggy to realistically tumble. Ahem.

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 prefered course is a huge bonus. It's authentic and brilliantly entertaining so 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 download!!

1 comment:

  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.