All the excitement of hurtling round on a BMX bike is brought into your living room by this latest offering from cone MASTERS, the new budget specialists. This is a conversion of the Commodore game written by one of the company's founders, Richard Darling.
A maze of oil cans, tyres and planks is viewed from above as two bikes hurtle around its tortuous twists and turns. Each race consists of three laps of the course, which must be completed within a time limit. There are three controls, left, right and pedal. There are seven different courses in total, though you may choose to only play over some of them.
Hitting obstacles sends the hapless cyclist hurtling over the handlebars. The poor chap then wastes precious time mounting up and pedalling off. If the two bikes collide, then the slower rider is thrown off.
The contest takes place against the computer or another player. In two-player mode if both players get round within the qualifying time, they progress together to the next race. If only one rider makes it, he takes on a computer opponent for the remaining rounds. Some corners are banked, and the riders can use these to help get round the bends. Turning becomes more difficult as speed increases.
Score depends on the time remaining at the end of a race. This accumulates from round to round to give the final score. If there is a closely contested finish, a replay option can be selected and the race seen again in all its glory - even running the really exciting bits in slow motion!
Control keys: definable - left, right, accelerate
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Use of colour: drab and uninspiring
Graphics: good courses, shame about the cycles
Sound: neat tune, but sparse and inappropriate effects
Skill levels: one
'Sorry, but I don't really see the point in this. It's a boring game about a sport that went underground years ago. The only pleasure that I derived from this was watching the players fall off their bikes - they fly and bounce quite well. Other than this BMX Simulator was a bit of a dead loss for me. There is a large amount of luck involved, and I never really left like I was in control. There are plenty of good budget games around at the moment: I'd fork out for one of those and stay away from this if I was you.'
'MASTERTRONIC continue on their road to success. BMX Simulator is a very polished bit of software, with many options and superb presentation. Even though the graphics are mainly two-colour, they give an excellent impression of 3D. The title tune contains some good noises, but they lack any co-ordination. Keyboard controls are kept very simple and very responsive. This is great fun to play, and perfectly priced at £1.99.'
'The screen shots on the back of the package aren't particularly inspiring, and the tune on the title screen has neat beats and things, but in completely the wrong places! Nevertheless, urged on by the cries of fellow reviewers I went on, and WOW! - I was stunned. The idea is very simple, but the game is really quite playable. The screen shots on the inlay don't do any justice to the detail of the graphics. CODE MASTERS have made quite a good job of this one - recommended.'
Do people still ride BMX bikes? I can't recall the last time I saw one... odd really, 'cos at one point you couldn't take a step without tripping over a ramp, or having your toes run over by some eager Darth Vader lookalike on a fat tyred bike. Still, someone must remember them, 'cos here's the simulation.
Steering with the joystick, and peddling with the fire button held down (I'm so glad you don't have to wibble the stick Daley Thompson style!) you play the computer, or a mate, racing around one of seven circuits. The trick is, naturally enough, to race around the track without falling off, in less than the time allotted. I know it sounds easy, but of course it isn't. You bump into the tyres and old car seats with depressing regularity, and spend so much time flying through the air you feel like a British Airways commercial.
I'm not so sure I like the plan view you get of the track either. The BMX bikes and their riders look like that old Mexican on a bicycle joke, but you soon get used to that. It plays really fast, so you'd better be a bit clever with the old handlebars if you want to get round the track.
An impressive game, especially for the price. I recommended it.
63% Issue 37
MIKE: Take to the saddle of you BMX in BMX Simulator, the creation of well-known programmer and software publisher Richard Darling. It's a simple game, not requiring any real thought on the player's part - you just have to get around the course without hitting an assortment of planks, tyres and oil cans. But it's not the most mentally stimulating game ever, or especially addictive either!
DOMINIC: The graphics may be fairly attractive, but there's no hiding the lack of actual gameplay. Simple stuff at a simple price.
Pedal power is all you've got to beat the burms, bumps and ramps of Code Master's BMX Simulator - a budget game that recently reached the top of the Commodore top ten chart.
If you're not into the jargon of this biking cult the BMX is a racing machine with lightweight frames, thick rubber wheels and powerful suspension.
Each course looks like a bomb shelter, scattered bits of old tyre, ramps, large or deep puddles and - on the most complex courses - arrows raked into the dirt which point directions. Hills around the course slow speeding bikes down and allow riders to change direction quickly.
At the start of each race you can alter the number of course tracks you go around and the number of players. It's a true two-player game - so you and a friend can whizz around the course simultaneously - but you can't change the control configuration.
The bikes glide off the ramps and each accelerates just as long as you hold down the Fire buttons. Left and right on the joysticks turn the bikes anti- clockwise and clockwise. The best course of action is to stay on the narrow but less straight path.
When you're a beginner avoid the hills. They'll slow you up and cause the bike to wobble off in all sorts of directions. Equally, avoid the tyres in the centre of most courses. They'll send your biker flying in the air.
Anything goes as far as you and your opponent are concerned - after all, this is a simulation. You can force your friend's bike into trouble or knock him off with your front or back wheels - more likely you'll be the one that comes unstuck.
Talking of front and back wheels, you can't tell which is which. When you're starting off after a crash the bike is likely to be facing in the wrong direction. If you accelerate you'll crash again. So, make sure you turn 360 degrees before making a move.
The winner of each course is first past the post (surprise). You can, however, clock up a time even if you lose, as long as you pass the finishing line within the qualifying limit.
In the tradition of all the great simulators BMX allows you to learn by your mistakes. There's an action replay available if you came within a wheel's breadth of winning. It's in real time but you can slow the action down by pressing 'S'.
Richard Darling has done it again. This simulator is a full priced game in budget clothing and a classy conversion of the Commodore original.
Label: Code Masters
Author: Richard Darling
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
Atari ST, £14.99dk
This marvellous simultaneous two player bike-em-up has very recently made it onto the 16-bit machines, and how! You have to compete against a friend (or the computer) over a maximum of seven courses. The bumps and berms etc all affect your bike realistically and help to make the game incredibly addictive and tough. Watch out too for Codemasters Professional BMX Simulator which provides an even tougher challenge.
Atari ST, £14.99dk
This simultaneous two-player bike-em-up has recently made it onto the larger machines after a very successful debut on the 8- bit machines. You have to compete against a friend (or the computer) over a maximum of seven courses The bumps and berms etc all affect your bike realistically and help to make the game incredibly addictive and tough. Watch out too for Codemasters' Professional BMX Simulator which provides an even tougher challenge.
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