Speed Buggy (Second Review)


Title		Speed Buggy (Buggy Boy in the UK) (Second Review)
Game Type	Driving
Publisher	Taito/Elite
Players		1
Compatibility	All Amigas
HD Installable  Available (not Buggy Boy)
Submission	Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer

Review
Speed Buggy, or Buggy Boy as it is known in these parts, is quite a
significant game as far as I am concerned, because it was the first racing
game I saw on the Amiga which actually gave a reasonable sensation of
speed. I think Space Harrier may have come out earlier and offered a
similarly impressive effect, but it wasn't a racing game, although it was
also a coin-op conversion produced by Elite, and the two Amiga games may
even have shared some code. Anyway, I tried Buggy Boy out, and while  I
wasn't hugely impressed by it, at the time, I was glad to see that
somebody had bundled some impressive coding routines together with some
good, honest gameplay, and had in so doing, effectively moved the
boundaries of the Amiga hardware forward. It was, remember, back in mid
'88, when the A500 had barely been out for a year, and many releases still
carried their 8-bit ancestry draped over themselves like unfashionable
anoraks.

So, how is the game actually presented? Buggy boy is a third person
perspective racing game, using sprites like Super Hang On, rather than
Stunt Car Racer's polygon approach. As I've indicated above, the scenery
dashes past you as you race along, avoiding (or trying to avoid) boulders,
trees, cacti, and the like which cause your buggy to tumble or just slow
you down. As in Outrun, you must pass checkpoints within a certain time or
the race is over. Of the five tracks, four are a series of checkpoints
with a start and a finish, while one (Off Road) is a circuit where you can
complete lap after lap. The tracks have many different coloured flags that
you can drive through for point bonuses, or extra time. There are also
smaller flags that start to flash under certain conditions, presumably
giving you extra bonus points.

There are some additional touches like tunnels and bridges as well as
angled walls which you can drive up, like a banked corner. Logs provide a
means of jumping over subsequent obstacles, and footballs appear as yet
another bonus feature.

While there's nothing particuarly impressive about Buggy Boy when compared
to later offerings of this genre it still manages to provide a highly
enjoyable arcade racing experience. Although sometimes a little
frustrating, especially regarding the bridges you use to cross rivers,
the handling is very good, and the sheer speed of movement provides plenty
of fun and thrills. The colours are bright and cheerful, which with the
classic Japanese coin-op style musical jingles, perfectly create the
atmosphere of playing the game, fresh from Taito, in those smoky arcades
all those years ago.

I was also impressed to note that the floppy worked with my AGA 060 Amiga
with no tweaking at all. Although there is a WHDLoad/JST patch for the
American version of the game (Speed Buggy) it doesn't seem to work with
the UK version of Buggy Boy. Still, with no compatibility problems and the
fact that the game fully loads without the need for further disk
accessing, who can complain.




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