Format reviewed: Commodore 64
When Codemasters set up its company in late 1985 it knew it needed a suitable calling card to wow gamers with. The Darling brothers were no strangers to success, because they had already been creating numerous games for Mastertronic, but now the brothers wanted to go it along and they soon game up with a suitable debut.
Released in 1986 for the Commodore 64, BMX Simulator laid down many of the trademarks that would define early Codemasters games. It was extremely arcadey in nature, having a fast pace to it that instantly helped it stand apart from the slower adventure games of the time. It was also one of the first of many Codemasters games that would tap into popular sports. BMX racing was a big deal in the mid Eighties, and BMX Simulator captured the atmosphere perfectly, delivering many of the thrills-and-spills you’d expect to see on an actual BMX course.
Visually it takes its inspiration from Super Sprint, but replaces the formula one cars with BMXs. It also has more interesting track layouts, adding jumps and ramps, but limits the multiplayer to just two players. It can sometimes be a little hard to work out where you are on some stages, but overall the visuals are extremely polished and do a great job of capturing the atmosphere of an actual BMX track.
BMX Simulator was eventually ported to other home micros of the time and received two sequels, BMX Simulator 2 and Professional BMX Simulator. The original is where Codemasters perfected the formulae however and it still holds up absolutely brilliantly today. And yes, we’re well aware of what we did there.