Fun as it doubtless is to drive a full-sized racing car around a full-sized race track, it’s not the only form of motorsport known to man. Now that Michael Schumacher’s got a few months off, perhaps he’ll relax with a radio-controlled car, thrashing it around his garden and laughing in delight at its robustness and speed.
Then again, perhaps not. But while there are plenty of serious racing simulations available, Buggy represents the lighter side of driving life. First, you choose a four-wheel drive off-road buggy. There are several available, each with different acceleration, performance and handling characteristics, and you get the choice of more vehicles as you progress through the game. They, of course, are bigger, better and faster, giving you an even better chance to thrash the competition (or your best friend/least-hated colleague).
16 tracks are included in the game, each one doing a good job of being different from the rest. Some are set in cities, some on beaches, some in weird fantasy worlds and others in forests. There are hidden locations and passageways, too, often leading to performance improvements for your buggy. Initially, just a couple of tracks are accessible: you have to complete these in first place before going on to the rest, and that pattern is repeated throughout the game, so there’s always a challenge.
There are no rules and regulations here. If you choose to play in ‘power up’ mode, driving through different combinations of coloured gates (like a downhill skier) will result in changes to your mode of transport (not at all like a downhill skier). You may get a sudden speed boost, a ‘meanie’ to enable you to bash other drivers off the track, or you might even take off into the air. It’s all fairly frantic and, because there’s no concept of car damage, you can get away with some ludicrous stunts.