Buggy Boy is a simple, but nevertheless captivating car racing game released in 1988. In spite of racing solely against the clock. And supporting just one single player. Nothing of which seriously damages the game's fun factor.
Before you can start, you have to select one of five courses. Offroad is the easiest one. Then there are North, East, West and South, the hardest course. After selecting one, you can hear a short jingle confirming the selection. On the following screen, you see your buggy, ready to go. You'll now hear two short and one long tone. After that, you should jerk your joystick forward immediately in order to use every split second.
This is where it really begins. You race your cranked-up beach buggy along the straight track and this is where things start to count. It is all about time and points (but the latter not on your licence). A quick look at the speedo reveals that 160 km/h seems to be the limit. But pressing the fire button – surprise – moves the lever left of the clock downwards. You've just shifted gears. This procedure is mandatory after each crash in order to finish a round. Otherwise, you will lose precious seconds.
You get into a crash if you don't manage to avoid boulders and stacks of wood lying on the street in time or if you get too close to things like lanterns or trees standing on the side of the track. Depending on the kind of crash, it takes more or less time until your buggy is ready to go again. The aforementioned ones are still relatively harmless. Things get really nasty, eating away your time account if you drive into a wall or, for whatever reason, end up in water. From time to time, gates which have 'time' written on them will appear. These are always very valuable. Especially for beginners, they are essential. As I said: Every second counts...
To collect points, the game plants gates and flags in different colours along the road. The gates have the amount of points which they bring written right on them. The flags, on the other hand, don't seem to have any point at all at first glance. However, once you notice that the small list of flags in the upper right corner of the screen defines the order in which you should collect the flags, this changes. Sure, you can't always collect everything. However, if you manage to complete the series, the flags begins blinking. For a certain amount of time, you can now collect flags in arbitrary order and if you manage to get six, you can continue right away. Until the time to collect has run out, that is.
Talking about running out; a piece of advice. On the Offroad course in particular, it often happens to beginners that time is running out in the very last moments. If there is a log lying on the road, you can try using your last bits of velocity to reach it. If you manage to do so, you will jump right into the next level in spite of the timeout.
Obviously, the vehicle's driver knows how to control it very well. He even manages to drive on just two tires when he drives over small rocks lying on the road. This is even required in some situations in order to avoid a few obstacles. The buggy can even jump, but only it you drive over a log lying on the road. That, too, can be used to your advantage to avoid obstacles. In some situations there is even no other way if you want to avoid a crash. Another way of avoiding obstacles are steep slopes. Just drive upwards. Just not too early...
From time to time, you will also encounter a large boulder which you can ram into without losing time. Inside, you will find a football which will get you a nice amount of points. This ball can at times even be found lying visibly on the street. Then, you should kick it so that it flies through a gate.
To prevent the game from becoming boring too quickly, the landscape is changing all the time. Offroad still stays relatively unchanging, but the harder the courses get, the more different backgrounds you have to drive through. From Offroad (standard) to desert, night and mountains. And when the game is over, you can enter your name into the high score list. :-)
Conclusion: The game offers a lasting pastime in spite of modest graphics and hardly astonishing sound. The controls are simple and the gameplay will not overstrain anybody. Having said this: enjoy! :-)
Translated by Mr Creosote