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Kikstart 2

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Released: 1987

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Mastertronic

Developer: Icon Design LTD

Submitted by: matt clarke

If you’re familiar with Trials HD on X360 Arcade, Motocross Maniacs on Game Boy or even Excitebike on NES (which pre dates this game by 3 years!)  then you can instantly understand the style and skills required for this rather brilliant game.

The one huge thing that set this game above other racers at the time of release was the awesome level editor.  This feature is proudly displayed on the front of the cassette cover and with good reason. This is best explained by example, so lets go back to a grey afternoon in 1988….in my living room…

When i brought the game back from the shop and  Load”” it up, for the first couple of days it was just a fun and very playable racing/platform hybrid game(which it’s very faithful to the BBC Junior Kikstart TV show it recreates). The graphics and animation were nice and smooth and it was definitely most fun in the cool split screen 2 player mode. However in one fateful moment, as i jumped a large ramp over shooting flames (yep sounds pretty good doesn’t it!) i had an ‘Evel Knievel’ urge to extend the ramp and fire shooters out for maximum thrills! So i approached the level editor, created with ease and speed my new super ramp of doom. It was amazing to play my own design so quickly. So much so I then spent many times over the next 4 years developing various weird and wonderful courses to play. 

The reason for its importance here is simple: what is usually a dodgy bolt-on feature of a game is in kikstart possibly the ‘main feature’ that you use as much as the pre-defined parts of the game. Its like Little Big Planet and the ever growing mod community explosion that developed Half Life spin-offs like Counterstrike. Games within the game that you create the rules yourself.

I totally recommend you try this absorbing game out and see if you get sucked in to all the course making possibilities and experimentation that I enjoyed so much.