ATV Simulator

by Tim Miller, James Wilson, David Whittaker
Code Masters Ltd
Crash Issue 46, November 1987   (1987-10-29)   page(s) 130,131

Producer: Code Masters
Retail Price: £1.99
Author: Tim Miller

Put on that crash hat, squeeze into those squeaky leathers and buckle on your boots - it's time to scramble aboard your chubby-wheeled All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and head for the roughest, toughest, meanest scenery you can find.

You can take runs against the clock on obstacle-littered courses that spread themselves over sand dunes, grassy land, snowscapes and dirt tracks.

Many obstacles require careful negotiation - if your ATV gets stuck you lose valuable time attempting to free its wheels. Speed is crucial, not only in your race against the clock but also in determining your success at negotiating hazards. Fastest is not always best, Tackling even the most innocuous obstacle, such as a small rock, at the wrong velocity or in the wrong manner can rip your grip and buttocks from handlebar and seat and propel you in an elegant swallow dive through the air.

And there are some strange obstacles which you have to drive into to believe...

The ATV can do wheelies, which help it climb steep surfaces, and jump, which provides you with extra lift as you tackle a ramp.

But sometimes not even such skilful manoeuvres can save you from a tumble. If this is your fate, recover quickly, run back to your vehicle and remount it with all the daredevil panache you can muster after a bone-jarring fall.

If you manage to complete a course within the time allowed, and with sufficient fuel remaining, you move on to the next visceravibrating track.


Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: well-defined and reasonably colourful, but a bit jerky on the scrolling
Sound: good David Whittaker tune with neat FX
Options: definable keys

Surely the programmer intended this as a mickey-take of all the other racing games? Perhaps not, but I haven't had such a good time trying to complete six laps of lunacy in ages. There are some novel uses of hard surfaces which make life hell - ever tried to get a four-wheeled bike off a beach ball that's being bounced on the nose of a seal? My only real niggle is that ATV Simulator is much too easy; there should be a lot more levels to give it that extra bit of lasting appeal. I wouldn't pay two quid for a game that would only keep me occupied for a couple of hours.
BEN [59%]

Wow! It's Kikstart on an ATV. Control is a bit hard at first but once you've got the hang of it the game's great fun. The graphics are adequately defined and colour is used well but the sound isn't very good there's a nice tune on the title screen and between levels, but only gritty spot FX for the motor sound. There's also a gameplay problem with the time limit: climbing back onto your vehicle is very time-consuming. ATV Simulator is a thoroughly addictive game and a favourite of mine because I'm the only reviewer that can get to the water level. HA!
NICK [88%]

Well, it's about time someone had a go at Kikstart on the Spectrum - and though this isn't as playable as the Commodore classic it certainly has all the humour. Where ATV Simulator fails is in the number of 'impossible' situations and the frequency with which they appear - many times I lost control of my bike, or the ATV just reappeared on the screen out of my reach. The animation of the driver and his vehicle is brilliant and realistic, especially when you're trying to pull the bike out of a hole. There's no doubt that lots of time has been spent making ATV Simulator aurally and visually appealing, but you've got to have more to a game than slick presentation.
PAUL [50%]

Presentation: 78%
Graphics: 69%
Playability: 65%
Addictive Qualities: 59%
Overall: 66%

Summary: General Rating: An amusingly entertaining and playable biking game of dubious lastability.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 24, December 1987   page(s) 50

Yee-double-hah! From the hit hot author of BMX Simulator comes Codemasters' chart challenger ATV Simulator. ATV is a quad racing (ie dune buggy) re-enaction of the quality we've come to expect from the budget champs.

From the first upbeat notes of Dave Whittaker's music you know this is going to be high rev, high speed action. In true Le Mans style you have to run and jump your buggy and roar into the first of your trails. This is the sand dunes, and relatively easy; you have to scale, leap and generally crash your way round lumps and hillocks within sixty seconds. But later screen trails are harder (and imaginatively daft - just how do you get the buggy off the seal's nose in the iceberg section?). And you have to finish in the time limit, or back to screen 1 you go.

There's an excellent split screen two up facility, which allows simultaneous game play, giving you real eyeball to eyeball keyboard conflict, (ATV is joystick compatible). Each obstacle surmounted gains you points, so a result is possible even if you don't clear all the screens. On screen info includes your time and fuel status, but most of the graphics are given over to the racing.

Control is not as easy as first appears - sheer speed and aggression will not bring the laurels of victory. Up/down control lets you wheelie (the 180' wheelie spins are a gas if not always useful!), the fire button jumps the ATV, (or the driver when he has to board the brute). Left/right controls speed. For steep slopes, wheelie slowly and jump simultaneously - it's a knack you'll need to master.

If you come off (the crashes are sensational, but not fatal), run back to the ATV, face the right way and re-mount to start your race with danger.

Graphics: 7/10
Playability: 9/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Summary: Bone jarring simulation of the cunning stunts of quad (dune buggy) racing. High action, low cost thrills and plenty of spills.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair - Article Re-review Issue 59, November 1990   page(s) 81

Hurrah! One of the best bargs ever. ATV Sim see you and a chum sitting astride a four-wheel bike thing, lurching over a set of courses. The trick is to drive flat out all the way, but pull wheelies and do jumps when necessary so you don't come a cropper at the obstacles. It's intensely competitive but gets frustratingly difficult on higher levels (when you start getting attacked by birds and things). A must.

Drive: 90%
Visibility: 79%
Road Holding: 91%
Overall: 90%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 68, November 1987   page(s) 38

Not easy, riding one of these All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) bikes with big overfilled tires - but I think I'm just about getting the hang of iiiitttttt (crash! tinkle!!). ATV is a decent little budget title. The graphics are utility model - they work, but they're not particularly pretty - and the gameplay likewise. Fans of BMX Simulators may find this to easy but I quite enjoyed myself. The controls are a bit difficult too get the hang of at first, but perseverance pays off. You'll take a lot of spills before you manage to get through the first couple of courses, but you should enjoy yourself while doing so. The title music by David Whittaker ain't too bad either.

Label: Codemasters
Author: Tim Miller
Price: £1.99
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Gary Rook

Overall: 6/10

Summary: Cheap and friendly little simulator that lets you drive one of those ATV dune bike things. Not brill, but OK.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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