C64 Review of Kik Start from Issue 3

ZzapTest Logo by Biggest Jim


This overlooked and underrated game, originally put out by Mr Chip software, has been a personal favourite of mine for some time. Now that it's been re-released by Mastertronic at a ridiculously low price, it'll hopefully prove the same for a lot of other people.

It's a motorcycling stunt game, complete with simultaneous two-player action (or just one player against the clock), and a high frustration and addiction element.

There are eight obstacle courses to choose from and you must guide your rider as quickly and carefully as possible over any combination of three of them. Your bike is controlled through your joystick or keyboard, and can accelerate, decelerate, wheelie and jump.

Two people can race simultaneously, thanks to the split screen display which independently shows one player's progress on the top, the other's on the bottom. Each course is roughly eight or so screen-widths long, so the picture scrolls smoothly from right to left to show the various obstacles and hazards to be crossed as they come.

There are a variety of hazards, and the skill lies in selecting the right form of control for each combination of hazards. Some need to be taken slowly, others quickly, and you have to learn the right timing for your jumps and wheelies.

If you get it wrong your rider will be ejected from his bike, complete with a WEEEOOW! noise, and lay comatose for a frustrating couple of seconds.

You will then be moved along the bottom of the course until a suitable re-entry point (determined by the computer) is reached. However, sometimes the computer restarts you at a point where it's impossible to complete the next stunt. This is extremely annoying, but it's the price you pay for falling off. The thrill of having a fast, clean run more than makes up for it.

The time for the each individual course is displayed at the top of each player's screen along with the combined time for all three courses. If your combined course time is fast enough, then you can type in your name for the high score table. This displays the top five players' names along with the three individual course times and the total time achieved.

As well as playing a simultaneous two-player game, you can play a one-player or alternating two-player game. The option also exists to have an uninspiring one-voice rendition of the television program's theme tune played during the game. There's a better piece (the Can Can) played on the title screen, and there are fairly realistic motorbike drones throughout the game.

Apart from some unrealistic clouds, the graphics are excellent. The definition of bike, rider and course hazards is good, with a great use of colour all round. GP.

The different obstacles

HEDGES, PILES of TYRES and BARRELS. All of these must be either driven over very quickly, or jumped where possible, so as not to get stuck.

ROUGH GROUND, GATES, BRICK WALLS and SCREEN WALLS. Must be driven over fairly slowly to clear them. Rough ground can usually be jumped, as can some of the gates and screen walls -- brick walls, unfortunately, cannot.

LORRIES and BUSES. These can be either simply driven over at any speed, or jumped, whereas . . . .

CARS, VANS, TELEPHONE BOXES, WATER and DIPS along the courses, must all be jumped.

OTHER FEATURES of the courses include steps (to go down at, at high speeds) and ramps (as an aid to jumping).

The eight courses

1. MOTOR MADNESS. After a fast start over some tyres, plenty of cars, vans, buses and lorries to jump. At the end of the course a nasty set of barrels lead up to a particularly tricky set of jumps over a bus, van and car (length ways!).

2. RIDE IT ROUGH. Some rough ground at the start is followed by a load of tyres and barrels, five continuous pot-holes to jump over and a further, final bumpy ride.

3. BITS 'N' PIECES. A slow ride over a brick wall starts the course, followed by some hefty jumps over screen walls and six telephone boxes. Four sawtooth-style ramps lead up to a treacherous water jump and the finish line.

4. JUMPS GALORE. As the title suggests, plenty of things to jump in this one. Water, vans, buses, and a lorry are all there for the jumping, plus the added bonus of a great ski jump at the end of the course.

5. UP 'N' DOWNER. Plenty of difficult jumps throughout the course -- over water, rough ground, tyres, and more water.

6. STRETCH OF WATER. It starts with a water jump . . . and it carries on with more along the way. Highspot of the course (and source of much annoyance) is the long set of water jumps near the beginning.

7. PICK 'N' MIX. Water jumps, gates, pot-holes, steps . . . nearly everything nasty there is, is thrown in this one.

8. SOUT'S SELECTION. Named after the programmer, Shaun Southern, there's a great selection of nasty buts throughout. Starts with a 'just about possible to jump' gate, and ends with a jump over some telephone boxes and a quick spurt down some steps to cross the line.

The text of this review was taken with Dimitris Kiminas' permission from the Gamebase64 site, where a fully htmlized version of it exists.

This review was typed in/OCRed by Dimitris

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 : 61%

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Your rating 1% to 100% :

John Robson - 5 Nov 2009
Decent, fun, could be annoying.

Quite unique and the two player opinion was good at the time.

Rating : 83%
LeeT - 6 May 2005
Okay its not as good as the sequel, but Kikstart still offers a playable game.

One of the first quality budget titles, and still quite fun today.

Rating : 76%
CraigGrannell - 27 Feb 2004
The problem with this game was always having to guess the speed - something rectified in the sequel, with the addition of a speedometer. In other areas, the game is inferior to its sequel in just about every way, too, and I agree with Iain that it's not stood the test of time particularly well.

Rating : 40%
Iain - 25 Feb 2004
Oh dear, this game has not aged well, especially since Kikstart II came out.

The graphics look terrible, they could make you colour blind!.

The sound is even worse, the pain!

Forget this game and get the excellent Kikstart II instead.

Gfx 35% Sfx 15%

Rating : 45%
Julian Rignall
The best way to play this game is with two players simultaneously. Even without a friend to challenge you, this provides an incredibly addictive and frustrating game as you zoom, leap and bound over all the obstacles. Going for those low, low times will keep you coming back to this game for months. The most incredible thing about it is its price: 1.99. Go get it NOW.
Gary Penn
Even though it may prove a frustrating game to play initially, Kik Start is certainly worth sticking with. The simultaneous two-player option gives the game an excellent competitive and compulsive element. Even if you play on your own, once you start to crack the courses and the urge to improve times sets in, you won't want to stop.
Bob Wade
This game is incredible value for only 1.99, and I would thoroughly recommend it. I found there was great skill needed to improve at the game, and with eight different courses there was no lack of variety. The fact that you can have two-player races was also a major plus point for me, with terrific excitement as you battle it out neck and neck.
Simple, but concise, instructions and excellent in-game options.

A new type of stunt game.

Nice bike and scenery and a good use of colours.

Despite being frustrating it still proves addictive.

Vrrooomy bike noises, wheeooy sounds and reasonable music.

Eight difficult courses plus the constant challenge of improving times.

The most impressive cheapo game we've ever seen.