C64 Review of Kikstart II from Issue 29

ZzapTest Logo by Biggest Jim


Rev that thottle, pull a wheelie and burn across the dirt track - Kickstart is back with a vengeance. This enhanced version of the classic motorcycling simulation boasts 24 new courses, improved graphics, tweaked gameplay, a couple of new hazards and a course designer.

Either one or two players can tackle a combination of any five courses at one time. The screen is split horizontally, with each motorcyclist viewed side-on. There are five separate timers above each display (one for each course), a total time elapsed meter and a speedometer.

The start of a race is announced by a klaxon, and both cyclists zoom off over the scrolling courses. The bikes accelerate, decelerate, wheelie or jump, depending on the way the joystick is moved.

Hazards litter the courses. Steps and Picnic Tables are jumped over, and Tyres, Hedges and Barrels have to be crossed quickly - however, the opposite is the case for Ramps, Sand Pits, Brick Walls, Screen Walls and Gates. Mud patches slow the bike down and spikes and flame shooters completely wreck it!

If an obstacle is attempted incorrectly, the rider is toppled and the landscap scrolls swiftly to the next convenient position where the rider can be put back on the course. When the screen is scrolling the timer counts twice as fast as a penalty for the mistake.

When you get bored of riding the preset courses, the editor can be accessed from the title screen to create new routes. When a course, or series of courses have been created or modified they can be raced over and saved to tape or disk for later use. Now you can build the most horrifically difficult courses and challenge you friends over them - he he!

This review was typed in/OCRed by Jianso

ZzapBack Logo by Biggest Jim
In the spirit of ZzapBack, you can have your say about how the game reviewed above, stands up in the cold light of today. Has it aged badly or is it still worth a few plays? Read other peoples thoughts and post your own.

The current ZzapBack rating is : 87%

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Emperor Roscoe - 8 Oct 2008
Many an afternoon was whiled away playing this awesome little game. Played the original on a friends C64, then bought the sequel when I got my own computer. I'm almost too scared to play this again, in case it's a million times worse than I remember it.

Rating : 90%
alessio - 4 May 2005
Basic graphics, basic sound but thats the way to my gaming heart! kikstart start is a simple and pleasing game dont miss this as i would say this is the best of this genre!.

Rating : 85%
neilb - 17 May 2004
Great fun and very addictive. Far better than the first Kickstart.

Graphics and sound are awful but the gameplay is superb.

Rating : 82%
Iain - 4 Dec 2003
Agreed, this game was a classic and one which I played a lot. When you consider it was a budget game it makes it all the more amazing.

The construction kit was a nice extra but I didn't use it all that much since the game itself came with so many courses anyway.

The graphics are nice and clear and the playability is top notch. It was definitely an underrated classic.

Rating : 92%
CraigGrannell - 4 Dec 2003
I have no idea how this missed out on a Sizzler! at the time, but I suspect that was down to Steve's misgivings. The graphics have aged badly (although the scrolling is smooth and the objects easy to tell apart, which are the main things) and the sound is just as bad as it always was, but the gameplay still shines. In fact, this is a game that would probably sell fairly well on the Gameboy Advance today, although it would most likely cost a tad more than two quid. The construction kit was merely the icing on a very tasty cake.

Kikstart II really is a true classic, in my opinion. It may not look or sound like much, but the gameplay proves to be utterly compelling, even all these years later.

Rating : 89%
Paul Sumner
If you've got little patience and are easily annoyed, then Kikstart II could drive you hopping mad. If you're like me and love the Kikstart series you'll love every minute of it. Controlling the bike is frustratingly hard to master, but the game's great addictiveness keeps you playing and playing. When you get bored of the 24 programmed courses, you can design your own with the built-in screen editor. At two quid Kikstart combines great value for money, variety, addiction and long-lasting appeal.
Steve Jarratt
After being none-too impressed with the first Kikstart (and the subsequent 128 version), I am slightly less disenchanted with this latest offering. To say the graphics have been improved is something of an understatement - they're now very smart indeed and give the game a much-needed shot in the arm. Unfortunately, however, the gameplay remains very similar to the first, and I find it rather frustrating and tiresome to play. The course designer is, without doubt, the real star of the show, and for fans of the original it should more than justify the purchase price of this new version. After all, it's what they've been after for the last two years.
Julian Rignall
This is it! Exactly what us Kikstart fans have been waiting for. The graphics are vastly improved, with far, far, better motorbikes and backdrops. The addition of a speedometer and slightly tweaked controls make riding the bike slightly easier and more precise - you can now attain the right speeds for negotiating obstacles without the need to guess. The screen editor takes a couple of hours of getting used to, but courses are assembled easily enough once the designer is familiar. The best thing though, is that the editor and game are both loaded at once - there's no clumsy loader involving several loads and reloads. Kikstart II is extremely well thought out, offering two player simultaneous action, a brilliant computer opponent and an excellent screen designer for only two pounds. How can you resist?
Presentation 91%
Very polished and user friendly, with one or two player option and a well thought out designer.

Graphics 79%
Much improved over the original, with lovely use of colour.

Sound 42%
Reasonable sound effects and a bland title ditty.

Hookability 82%
Initially frustrating, but improving course times is thoroughly enjoyable and maddeningly addictive.

Lastability 90%
Twenty-four courses and a screen designer to keep you scrambling for months.

Overall 86%
Just what Kikstart fans are waiting for - virtually unlimited dirt bike riding.