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A.P.I Review: BUGGY
Developer: Gremlin OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Gremlin 1-2 Player
Game Type: Racing Memory Card
Review Date: October 1998 Analog Compatible

Setting the Scene

If you're fed up with the same old racing games that seem to appear 
in a different box every six weeks or so, then Buggy from Gremlin 
Interactive, will be just the thing to rekindle your love of all 
things fast and furious.

Buggy gives you the chance to take control of one of sixteen super-
compact radio-controlled vehicles. Each possesses a distinctive paint-
job and its own unique handling.

These buggies are raced across fifteen exotic circuits: from Japanese 
gardens and sun-swept beaches to subterranean grottoes and sylvan 
woodlands, but there's more of a challenge to Buggy than simply 
finishing first.


If you fancy storming around insane tracks in a radio-controlled buggy 
like some kind of mentally (and vertically!) challenged, extreme sports 
'nutta' then this release on Playstation may just be the game for you.


Considering how long Buggy has been in development I was initially 
disappointed with the visuals.  I'm not saying that the game looks 
poor, far from it... just that it lacked that 'special touch' which 
I had eagerly anticipated.  I certainly didn't get the rush of 
adrenaline I experienced when first casting eye's over Micro Machines.. 
more the 'fine, let's get on with it' feeling that I felt with 
the recent Circuit Breakers. 

The polygon scenery is bright, colorful and varied with the circuits 
all tastefully rendered in 3D.  Backgrounds include street circuits, 
lush woodlands, snowy mountainsides, swampy wastelands, sandy beaches... 
in fact every environment that you would wish to race a remote controlled 
buggy over, has been catered for.

Some of the effects that the buggies give off when a power-up has been 
activated look pretty cool.  There is a nice touch of lens flare 
immediately after a speed up has been awarded while a trail of crimson 
smoke emits from all four wheels as it tears along the circuit.  
Collection of the aggressive power up turns your buggy into rock for 
the duration of the effect and a Time Stop temporarily turns the visuals 
black and white.

Each of the buggies sport their own colors and flash designs.  There is 
a small radio antenna that protrudes from the roof of the vehicle which 
wobbles from side to side and reacts with each tumble and turn.  This 
acts as a distraction to the slightly grainy overall appearance of the 

So if the circuits look fine, the effects are impressive and the buggies 
acceptable... what's up with the visuals?  

Think back to the days when you owned your own buggy.  Whether it was 
cheap and nasty and had virtually no suspension, or top of the range 
with springs separating wheels from chassis.. buggies bounced around 
an awful lot.  Now imagine a single camera positioned slightly above 
and behind the unstable vehicle programmed to follow each and every 
motion across a bumpy circuit.  Yeah, we're talking rollercoaster rides 
here.  If only Gremlin had included a couple of alternative camera views 
they may have just got away with it.        

Of course many gamers will lap this retina punishment up.  However I 
thought it only fair to warn you.

Sounds and Effects

Buggies are particularly renowned for their almost ghostly silence.  
Perhaps that's why they were popular with parents.  Of course this was 
half the fun... a dog sniffing a job lot when a soundless contraption 
whizzed between it's hind legs, an elderly couple pottering along at 
snails pace oblivious to the radio controlled buggy performing figure 
of eights at their feet.  For this reason there are virtually no sound 
effects within the game.  

The music is excellent and manages to blend together a selection of foot 
tapping tracks from many styles.  So there should be something in there 
for everyone.  


When you first begin playing Buggy there are only four vehicles to select 
from, each with individual speed, grip, acceleration and weight.  You can 
also only take part in the first two challenge races, because in order to 
advance through this game you must finish in the top two placing.  Seeming 
as there are only four vehicles in each race this shouldn't cause too many 

Race selection is made by driving your vehicle around a sizable maze which 
grows as you advance.  Win the first two races and you receive a new buggy,
 while time trial mode opens along with section two of the maze.  Triumph 
in all of the new races and a third section is unveiled, and so on...

Steering the buggy depends on the type of control pad you are using.  A 
standard joypad only uses two buttons - accelerate and reverse.  However 
when using the analog pad the two sticks work very much in the same way as 
a... you guessed it, a remote controller.  Push the left stick up and down 
to move forward and backwards.  Flick the right stick left or right to steer.  
Excellent idea!

All of these tracks are littered with obstacles which can be avoided or 
jumped. Jumps will propel the buggies high into the air, allowing them to 
perform stunts as well as providing a novel means of overtaking.  If that's 
not enough, buggy drivers face the double jeopardy of negotiating these 
obstacles, while attempting to pass through as many of the slalom gates 
along the way as they possibly can.

Although it is not essential to pass through the multi-colored gates, 
driving through them in a specific sequence will reap many rewards.  
There are seven different colors and following the on-screen suggestions 
will produce a variety of power-ups. Short sequences deliver simple bonuses, 
such as passing through a yellow then red gate gives a short speed bursts, 
while more complicated sequences deliver extra abilities, like time-stops 
and mega-grips, as well as a few special moves such as changing your buggy 
into a helicopter.  Certain combinations allow you to access parts of the 
track that were originally not available.

The inclusion of the colored gates adds depth to the gameplay and will offer 
players the incentive to replay already conquered tracks.  There are four 
modes of play.  Complete all of the races in the first challenge and a new 
game mode will be revealed.  There's also the two player split screen mode 
and single player time trial.  The two player mode allows the option to 
fight it out against a mate with two other CPU controlled vehicles.

Value for Money

Had it not been for the lack of camera options I would probably have given 
Buggy a definite thumbs up.  As it stands... hmmm, best check it out first.
GRAPHICS: 15/20 I thought the idea of including colored slalom gates into the equation saved Buggy from becoming incredibly dull. Without them the races would simply be too easy to win.

I suppose you have to say that the buggies handle very much like remote control vehicles actually do. Whether this was a good idea or not is for me to speculate and you to decide.

At the end of the day if it came down to a choice of buying this game or using the cash for a real remote controlled buggy then I would probably opt for the game. After all it doesn't need batteries.
SOUND: 7/10
VALUE: 14/20


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