Buggy Boy

by Paul Morrison


I've always loved a good racing game. There's just something about flinging a vehicle around a track at high speed that really appeals. Maybe it's because there's no way I could do it in real life without ending up in traction at the very least, but I do really enjoy my high speed racing thrills.

They were a little hard to come by on the Commodore 64 at times, at least in terms of real quality. There were those that I had a good time with, but getting that illusion of speed right was a bit of a problem. And then Buggy Boy came along.

I can't see any way that this will end well...

I can't see any way that this will end well...

It was a bit of an obscure game to convert... it wasn't a big name as such, there was no hype around it and its biggest selling point was the giant car character you controlled on screen, which there was no chance of reproducing on the Commodore 64. The game itself merely involved trailing around one of a choice of five courses, collecting flags along the way and hoping to get to the end before time ran out.

Sometimes, though, the simplest ideas are the best. Taking that basic premise and working it into shape as the best Commodore 64 game possible, Buggy Boy captured the flavour of the arcade game and featured a great sense of speed but best of all, incredible playability.

These ramps work much better than they look.

These ramps work much better than they look.

At first you'd just flog the car, hoping to get to the end before the time ran out. But as you became more proficient and started to learn the layout of the tracks, you introduced an element of risk/reward as you decided which flags you could risk going for in an attempt to keep the score booster going.

Despite the relative simplicity and lack of courses, Buggy Boy was so much fun that I think it was the most replayable arcade racer I owned. The challenge of a higher score was always there, but even if you didn't beat your best it felt so good to throw your buggy around the track that you couldn't resist another go. And that's a quality essential in all the best games.