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Beach Buggy Simulator

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Released: 1988

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: Amstrad CPC

Publisher: Silverbird

Developer: Sysoft

Submitted by: Darran Jones

Developer Sysoft opted to go down the stark-raving-bonkers route with its side-scrolling racer Beach Buggy Simulator, unlike Codemasters which at least tried to offer some realism to its ‘simulation’ titles.

While we appreciate that there were probably some people who were left disappointed with this purchase – expecting that it would offer a true account of driving a buggy across mountainous sand dunes in the arid desert heat – there were also those, like ourselves, who actually loved the almost platform-game zaniness of it all.

We loved the fact that the buggy was a pink open-top Beetle on the loading screen, but a red sports car with big wheels in the game. We loved the fact that it was mathematically impossible to stay alive for longer than two seconds and that you could fire saveloys from your bonnet. We also loved the fact that your car could jump in the air… particularly on Level 3 when you came up against those giant worms from Tremors. With its beach setting justifying at least one-third of its moniker, it’s fair to say that the game’s title was a complete miscarriage of title-validity, but it was great fun, nonetheless.

Beach Buggy Simulator allowed you to test the mettle of your flash buggy by driving it across the most dangerous stretch of land imaginable. Avoiding precariously placed cactuses, boulders, flames, and fire-breathing helicopters, you had to keep one eye on the hazard-strewn track and the other on your thimble-sized fuel gauge to ensure you reached the finish line before your time ran out.

Handily, to keep your fuel topped up, God would step in and throw down fuel cylinders for you to drive into. We’ve often pondered how great it would be if we could just fill up our cars by driving into petrol pumps, avoiding the rigmarole of parking up, wrestling with the hose and trying not to over-pump by a penny. Oh Sysoft, how we wish we could have lived in this economical fuel-dispensing world that you so beautifully painted with your warm yellow pixels.