It's C64 month - Buggy Boy

by Paul Morrison


The second game I've played for C64 month is not a C64 exclusive.  In fact, it was probably released on every format that was available at the time.  But the Commodore 64 version was arguably the best, most playable version, was one of the best racing games on the system and probably one of its best games, full stop.  That fact is made even more interesting when you consider that Buggy Boy is a racing game where you don't actually race!

Looks chilly!  Better get finished quickly, then!

Looks chilly!  Better get finished quickly, then!

OK, strictly speaking that isn't true.  It is an unconventional arcade racer, though, in that you have no actual opponents to beat.  It's just you against the clock, trying to get round one of five increasingly tortuous courses.  In the wrong game, that could be deathly dull, but Buggy Boy is never, ever boring.

There were two things that a lot of racing games found difficult to get right on the Commodore 64: the screen update, and the car handling.  Buggy Boy got both gloriously, joyously right.

Get away from the edge!

Get away from the edge!

The sheer thrill of playing the game was enough to keep you coming back for more, but it was also a brilliant high score game.  The idea of collecting flags might have seemed silly in every other racing game outside of Rally X, but it seemed perfect in Buggy Boy.  On all five tracks the layout of the flags was devious, meaning the player could make choices between picking up lower-scoring flags in the correct order or higher-scoring gates.

This'll liven things up a bit!

This'll liven things up a bit!

This element of risk/reward was enough to ensure addictiveness.  With five increasingly difficult courses, it was almost impossible to get bored with Buggy Boy.  In fact, I can say the same about it today.  It's stood the test of time very well and remains one of the C64's finest hours.