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Buggy Boy

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Released: 1987

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: Commodore 64

Publisher: Elite

Developer: Elite

Isn’t it amazing what you can do with technology? When Buggy Boy was first announced for the 8-bit systems few could have guessed that Elite’s coders would be able to successfully capture the spirit of the original arcade game so perfectly.

Capture it they did though, and while there were plenty of solid conversions of the Tatsumi coin-op (we’ve fond memories of the Amiga outing), Dave Thomas’s Commodore 64 conversion was arguably the best. Sticking two fat fingers up at its peers, C64 Buggy Boy was quite simply brilliant and an amazing time waster for a wet and miserable day.

Spread across five courses, with each consisting of several lengthy checkpoints, you were required to do little more than race to the finish line as quickly as possible.

Here’s the catch though – you only had a limited amount of time to complete each checkpoint, and considering the number of hazards on each track, this was far from easy. Tree logs, boulders and water hazards were just a few of the obstacles to get in your buggy’s way, and it took real skill and ingenuity to complete some of the later courses.

Fortunately, by passing through certain gates it was possible to increase your time by a small increment, while other gates awarded you with extra points. The devilishly designed tracks, however, meant that only the most skilled (or bravest) players would attempt to collect everything, while the balanced difficulty curve meant you were always returning for one more go.

It may not have been able to replicate the panoramic three-screen view of the arcade original, but there was no denying that the C64 port was a delight on the eyes. Bold, bright and chunky, and running at the sort of speed that had Spectrum and CPC owners looking on in envy, C64 Buggy Boy was an impressive beast that proved there was plenty of life in Commodore’s beige box.

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