Buggy Boy: Commodore Amiga

Buggy Boy: Commodore Amiga
Buggy Boy: Commodore Amiga

Insert Disk collects Buggy Boy for the Commodore Amiga.

Today’s retro game review is Buggy Boy for the Commodore Amiga. This retro gaming classic is an arcade to home computer success story. Buggy Boy manages to retain the fast and fun driving action of the arcade and delivers it straight to your Commodore Amiga. Well worth a play for the retro enthusiast.

Greetings collectors and welcome to today’s retro game review. I thought that I would take us all the way back to 1985 today to take a fond look back at an arcade classic that became a much beloved Commodore 64 and Amiga port. Today’s game is of course Buggy boy.

The original arcade edition of Buggy Boy was a sight to behold, boasting a fully functioning steering wheel, shift stick and three monitors for engrossing game play. This was the arcade after all and games were able to deliver an experience beyond just simple button pushing. A smaller revised upright cabinet was also released for convenience, sometimes known as Buggy Junior. The cabinet retained the steering wheel and shift mechanism but fit more neatly on to a single monitor cabinet. The arcade editions by Tatsumi were prime for a journey in to the home with Taito picking up the international publishing rights to the game and Data East doing the honours in North America.

I have here the Commodore Amiga edition of the game included in the legendary Ten Star Pack. There’s no steering wheel or cabinet here but there is a lot of fun to be had. Side by side you can clearly see that some concessions were made in bringing this one back on to the home computers of the day. The arcade edition goes for a much chunkier aesthetic, as well as a wider range of colours and overall enhancements such as the level of detail in the surroundings. Although both editions play in a very similar way by far the largest difference here was the skidding mechanic of the arcade. Venture too far off of the main track and experience some basic skid physics to absorb you in to the game. This is sadly missing in the home editions.

Graphically speaking the arcade edition uses a form of sprite scaling to create the illusion of moving forward. This is also true of the home releases although the lower frame rate and intervals of scaled sprite sometimes don’t quite sell the story as the superior arcade edition. Never you mind tough as the Commodore Amiga edition of Buggy Boy is packed with game play goodness and does feel very much like the original game in many ways. The game retains all of the original courses of the arcade and feel very faithful to the original concept. Selecting the off-road map will see you complete laps of the course as opposed to the point to point nature of the other four tracks. I would highly recommend starting here whilst you get to grips with the game mechanics. What looks like quite a basic game actually has quite a bit of depth to it. First of all, the timer. This will be your greatest enemy as the timer will deplete. You’ll have to make it to the next check point to get another hit of time extension.

However, this alone won’t be enough. You’ll also need to drive through at least some of the time gates to top up your play time. Often this will require a bit of skill as the game likes to place them behind or very near to other obstacles. The other major mechanic is the points scoring system which is somewhat unique to Buggy Boy. As you drive around the track you’ll encounter numerous coloured flags in your path. The aim here is to collect them in the colour sequence indicated in the top right of the screen. Activate all five and you’ll be treated to a rather jingly tune and all flags become universal meaning that this is now a prime time to collect more and trigger the next rainbow wave if you can. It’s an utterly simple concept yet really adds variety in to the game play. Do you risk the harder manoeuvres for a shot at higher points scores or play it safe and concentrate on time. It’s a fine balancing act.

Of course Buggy Boy also throws in bonus items such as kicking footballs, minor road stones that will put your buggy on to two wheels and of course logs to jump. Add in to this the low/high shift stick and you’re going to want to replay this one a few times to get the best out of it. Despite the downgrade in graphics Buggy Boy really sells that quick-fire arcade racing action of the arcade to this day. Sprite scaling on elements such as walls are handled rather well and although the game looks very dated even when compared to other games of the time it retains a playability that still keeps me coming back for more.

Buggy Boy will certainly appeal to the nostalgic crowd that played it back in the day but I dare say it will also appeal to a younger generation just looking for a bit of good honest fun. Until next time, happy gaming.

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