BC Kid logo

Larson cartoons... that's where I've seen the small blue dinosaurs that crop up in BC Kid. These are the type of dinosaurs which stand in circles wondering what the comet is about to do to them. This is the kind of strangely cute humour that pervades what at first looks like a badly drawn and very average platform game.

BC Kid has been ported from the consoles (actually from the PC Engine). It is also an oldish game. Bot of these factors account for the rather simplistic nature of the graphics - OK, they're childish. Everything is rather on the blocky side with simple backgrounds; the odd scrolly cloud comes into view but that's it.

On the far side
Aside from the Larson-influenced dinosaurs, the figures are drawn with the kind of style given to the Saturday morning Beetlejuice cartoon or to very simple drawn characters drawn by people with very simple skills taught by a very simple teacher.

This hits you in one of two ways: either you are charmed by the economy of line and shade and the ethnic chunkiness of background as an allegory of the problems of crocodile jumping and intestinal swimming inherent in the modern cave-baby's life, or... you wonder why they are trying to get away with such basic graphics.

But, but, but! You do get a choice of music. This ranges from a kind of upbeat South-American flavoured syntho-dip up to a funkier blast. The only problem here is that the music has no relevance to the game at all.

But is the gameplay any good? Well here is a game where you jump on things: caves, stomachs, dinosaurs, crocs, end-of-level bosses, even trees in order to get from one end of a level to another. Great! You ge to kill things by headbutting them or by jumping into mid-air and landing head-down on the enemy.

You also interact with the background scenery in such a way as to liven up the action. In the early levels this entails bopping palm trees and then jumping into them to avoid the attentions of the enemy. The lack of level codes (and that it needs your intense attention before progressing past level two) means I can't tell you whether later levels see you interacting with the mountains, rocks, or comets. I would hope it does because it is only when you hit this level of gameplay that it becomes enjoyable.

Kid's play
One frustrating aspect is the jumpy-jumpy plants that give out either bonuses or bad nastiness. You troll along until you stumble upon one of these stumpy growths. Sleepy alarm clocks sit there waiting for you to bounce on them in order to draw out delicious meats, fruits, energy points, lives or hideously bouncy things that spong you horribly.

The thing is... you can't tell which is which. On the one hand this adds to the tension (oh yeah really) that has been built up as you try to master the control system - room for a two-button joystick. On the other hand it forces you to negate springing cave-manishly on to what could be a power-up or naked, bone crushing death. Ahh, choices, choices.

Despite all the above, there are one or two elements of BC Kid that have mighty appeal. The first is the way the wee-fella moves up levels. When you are met by an unjumpable looking hill, you simply fling yourself at it and hit fire, this sees BC grabbing hold of the sheer face with his teeth. Pushing up and forward on the joystick should see him attaining a higher plane. Neat stuff.

The other touch is the fact that you are not supposed to be killing the end-of-the-level bosses, you are supposed to be freeing them. Despite the fact that they are also attempting to kill you. Once freed, they will give you clues to help you complete levels.

A reasonable conversion, plenty of playability is marred by blockiness and no level codes, no sound effects and poor tied in music. A slocking filler for platform fans.

Ein Hammerkopf lässt's krachen!

BC Kid logo Amiga Joker Hit

Wer hat behauptet, die Jungs voN Factory 5 würden den Amiga komplett links liegen lassen?! Nix da, jetzt melden sich die Macher von Superhits wie "Turrican" und "Denaris" mit einer astreinen Konvertierung des PC-Engine-Plattform-Klassikers "Bonk" zurück!

Unter Konsolenfreaks wird der Name "Bonk" seit jeher in ienem Atemzug mit "Mario" oder "Sonic" genannt, nun soll Hudson's Steinzeit-Junior auch am Amiga sämtliche Beliebtheits-Rekorde sprengen. Die Chancen stehen gut, denn außer dem namen hat sich gegenüber der Originalfassung praktisch nichts geändert - im Gegenteil, die Spielbarkeit hat sogar noch einen Steinwurf zugelegt!

Wie eigentlich alle Plattformhelden kann B.C. Kid laufen und springen, seine Spezialität ist aber der extra-große Schädel. Durch gezielte Stöße mit dem Kopf räumt er seinen Gegner locker zur Seite, außerdem beißt sich der Kleine dank seiner imposanten Zahnreihe problemlos die Steilsten Wände empor.

Mit diesen Gaben der Natur ausgestattet, gilt es, fünf (in Abschnitte unterteilte) Welten zu durchqueren, wobei sich jede in komplett neuer Grafik präsentiert. Den Anfang macht eine bunte Vulkanlandschaft, es folgen ein düsterer Schwimmabschnitt, eine Kletterpartie durch urzeitliche Dschungelwälder und so weiter. Unterwegs trifft man die verschiedensten Gegner und verliert bei Berührung Lebenssaft, aber man trifft auch auf allerlei Nützlichkeiten.

So helfen etwa Lianen über Schluchten hinweg, und dicke Saurier befördern den Kopfarbeiter per Wasserstrahl in luftige Höhen, wo es Bonusgegenstände abzustauben gibt. Als nicht minder hilfreich erweisen sich Blumen, die nach einem "Headbonk" allerlei Extras freigeben - Herzen füllen die Lebensenergie wieder auf, und Fleischstücke bringen für begrenzte Zeit mehr Kraft, mehr Speed oder gar Unverwundbarkeit.

Wohin man auch hüpft bzw. Läuft, überall warten witzige Gags, originelle Einfälle und tolle Extras, aber der Abschuß ist der Schluß: ein "Bonus"-Level voller Endgegner! Bis dahin wird man mit niedlicher Comic-Grafik förmlich überschüttet, sowohl Hintergründe als auch Sprites präsentieren sich am Amiga etwas schöner und farbenfroher als bei der ursprünglichen PC Engine-Version.

Die Prähistorik ist hübsch animiert und scrollt sauber in allen Richtungen, für den guten Ton sorgt die unauffällige Musikbegleitung nebst passenden Soundeffekten. Für perfekte Spielbarkeit ist wiederum die gelungene Steuerung zuständig, und das Optionsmenü überzeugt durch Einstell-Vielfalt: Die Anzahl der Leben ist variabel, man darf zwischen herkömmlichen Joystick oder Zwei-Button-Belegung (z.B. Sega-Joypad) wählen, und an ein Soundmenü wurde ebenfalls gedacht.

Würde es rein um die Präsentation gehen, hätten jüngere Plattform-Hüpfer wie "Zool" zwar die Nase einen Deut weiter im Wind als der mittlerweile doch schon etwas betagte Steinzeit-Knabe, aber in Sachen Gameplay kann es der Oldy im neuen Amiga-Kleid halt um das entscheidende Quentchen besser - B.C. Kid ist und bleibt eben ein zeitloser Klassiker! (rl)

BC Kid logo

We should all just be thankful it's not still called Bonk!

Playing BC Kid it's easy to see where the inspiration came from for Chuck Rock. The prehistoric theme, the large dinosaurs, the interaction with the scenery... and more besides. You see, BC Kid is new to the Amiga but the run 'n' jump romp itself has been around for years on the PC Engine console. Just like Dyna Blaster.

BC Kid comes from the same stable as Dyna Blaster (and that old favourite Stop The Express on the Spectrum, come to think of it). It was known as PC Kid in Japan and Bonk (!) in the US.

It seems that BC Kid's dinosaur chums have all gone mad. This best mates have turned into the boss characters encountered at the end of a level. Only BC Kid can free them from the spell and defeat the true enemy etc etc.

BC Kid's a right tasty run 'n' jump romp in the traditional Japanese style, i.e. it's slick and playable and doesn't have stupid negative features like joystick control reversal and dangerous things to avoid picking up.

There are a great many reasons for liking BC Kid so much. It's immensely playable for a start, especially with a two-button joystick. (The Amiga can do it, so why not have an option for it when necessary?) It's also funny. It's funny to watch ugly bespectacled blue things trying to leap after BC Kid on a higher platform, and funny to see BC Kid wince when he's hit. It's funny to see cacti performing the rumba(!) and funny to see BC Kid look right hacked off with a pout or stunned after head butting a rubber plant.

BC Kid's a right tasty run 'n' jump romp

I laughed rather a lot and I didn't cry with frustration when I died because it always feels as though it's your own fault and nothing to do with the programmers being such smug and inconsiderate so-and-sos.

BC Kid's packed to bursting point with neat playability touches (these aren't just frills) - far too many to cover in these pages, which is a great pity, but you should at least get the idea from the pictures shown.

BC Kid is visually most appealing, even though the scenery's a little rough and ready or chunky at times. It's all so colourful and vivid and happy, I couldn't care less.

There are days and days of solid fun to be had

The use of sound is noteworthy, too. The music's brilliant - lots of jolly jungle juice, corky kettle drums and Casio VL Tone glockenspiel noises. All the tunes have nice names too, like Sunbath, Coconut Attack, Wet Walls, and Happy Hour, and you can hear all those and more form the options screen (spot that user-friendly console influence).

Everything has an associated sound effect, which is a Good Thing. Take the mellow music combined with the sound of rushing water on The Falls level, and the crunching sound as Kid bites his way up the edge of a platform.

BC Kid's not so tough tat it will tax inexperienced players to the point of ving up (actually, from level three onwards it's often a triffle tricky but everything has an apparent way through and nothing seems impossible), and hard men shouldn't find it a complete walkover.

There are days and days of solid fun to be had at the very least. BC Kid is cheery, chucklesome, chipper. It's a slice of Japanese jolity sadly seldom seen on the European home computer systems, and one of the best run 'n' jump romps available for the Amiga. Fact.

What makes the BC Kid such a strong character is his range of silly expressions.

BC Kid looks concerned and his tongue pokes out as he falls.

BC Kid butts the thin air of leaps into it to perform a flying head butt.

He misses his target and hits the ground with a bump. When he's angry, this manoeuvre temporarily stuns the creatures on screen.

He grips the scenery with his teeth. A vein comes up on this head, too. What's neat is the way he can swing around to the other side of a thick tree trunk and continue his ascent.

A small piece of meat beefs up Kid's powers once - and he blos his top. Afterwards, he looks mean. If he's hit, he doesn't lose energy - just his anger. When BC Kid eats a large piece of meat or a second small piece in succession, he goes all the way and is granted temporary invincibility. Other foodstuff he collects simply boot his energy.

BC Kid logo CU Amiga Super Star

A head-butting stone-age skinhead is the unlikely star of Ubisoft's latest platform game. Dan Slingsby gets ready for some serious dino-bashing.

Hudson Soft have done it again. Not content with giving us one of the most addictive bomb 'n' run maze games ever in the form of Dynablaster, they've now gone and developed a gob-smacking platform game that's destined to become something of a classic on the Amiga.

The star of BC Kid is a prehistoric Charlie Brown-lookalike with plenty of attitude. Not for him any club-wielding antics, this guy actually head-butts the opposition or, even better, performs a flying leap through the air and nuts them when he's falling back to Earth. If any nasties should get caught in this way, they are immediately flattened and dispatched off the screen.

So why is our nappy-wearing primordial skinhead such a violent headcase? Well, his girly, the beautiful Moon Princess, has been kidnapped by the evil king Drool and to find her, our cave-dwelling hero must first roam the game's five levels and numerous sub- stages in an attempt to track her down. Unfortunately, this being the Prehistoric Age and everything, there are an awful lot of improbable-looking dinosaurs littering each level as well as other obstacles such as erupting volcanoes, quick sand, lava pits and huge end-of-level bad guys.

The first level begins with our rotund little friend setting off on his head butting quest. Early on things are a bit tame with few dinos to nut and even fewer obstacles to overcome. It's a bit like an appetiser and merely serves to familiarise the player with the style of play. The green smiling crocodiles are dispatched with just one kiss of the forelock while the axe-wielding dinos can be put out of action with a double header.

As mentioned, it's also possible to flatten approaching nasties with a flying head-butt. This is done by pushing up on the joystick and then pressing the fire button while the kid is in mid-leap. This turns him upside down so that he returns to Earth with a diving header. The advantage of this move is that all nasties can be taken out with just one hit.

Further on in the level things start to get a bit more difficult as you're suddenly eaten by a huge brontosaurus. From here, you're transported into the dinosaur's murky bowels complete with saliva pits and the murky remains of previously eaten beasties. Once you've battled your way through that lot, you're suddenly dumped into an underground cavern where you have to do battle with an end-of-level dino. To defeat him, the Kid has to bounce up and down on his head, nutting him continuously until the egg shell that's stuck on his head is shattered.

As well as the enemy sprites to take care of, there are also a number of special plants scattered about each stage. The first type act as trampolines and jumping on these allows you to collect energy giving bonus fruits and reach inaccessible platforms or caves. The second type of plant life release energy bonuses after they've been bounced on, but beware as some also contain a few nasty surprises such as an evil spirit which pogos along the stage sapping your energy.

Other plants and some of the bounced-upon nasties also release huge meat kebabs which, when collected, transform our hero into a rampaging maniac and really make him let off steam. These come in two sizes: the smaller donna grants the Kid a super butt capable of flattening any nasty with one nod of the head.

As an added bonus, cracking his head on the floor will also freeze any nasties who are on the screen for a few seconds. The larger kebab grants the Kid with a few seconds of invincibility, time enough to charge around and send everything you come into contact with flying off the screen. As well as going a very dark brown when he's in such a mood, a bright green Ready Break glow surrounds his body. There are a surprising number of these power-ups included in each level and they come as a welcome find when things start to get tough.

As well as the kebabs to munch on there are also a number of special smiley faces to collect on each stage. These are either released after bashing certain enemy sprites or found in some of the game's more inaccessible areas. It's important to collect as many of these as possible for at the end of each level the total is added up and if you've collected enough your energy will be topped up.

After the first 'trainer' level is out of the way, the action proper begins. Level two includes swampland, caves, woodland, quicksand, open stretches of water and a Tarzan-like section which requires the Kid to swing from vine to vine high up in the trees. Each stage adds something new to the proceedings, be it a new enemy or new skill to learn, and things get decidedly tougher the further into the game you get. This is what keeps things from getting dull and provides the 'just one more go' addictiveness that'll keep you coming back to this game until you've completed it.

In all there are more than 20 stages to complete. My only criticism is that it's a tad easy in parts. You begin the game with three hearts and two extra lives which slowly decrease after every hit and after you've exhausted all that lot there's the option to use three continues. Although these only take you back to the beginning of the current level and not a particular stage, it still means you can gallop through the initial few stages.

I doubt whether most players couldn't finish this in less than a week of constant playing. There's also an extra life granted at 10,000 and 20,000 points so the game's designers have given you every opportunity to complete the game.

That said, BC Kid is still worthy of a Superstar for the sheer inventiveness and originality of its design. Of course, the tech-heads amongst you will immediately moan that the game hardly pushes the capabilities of the Amiga, but that's not the point. BC Kid doesn't have to push back the boundaries of computing as it's already damn near perfect as it is. Any superficial tinkering, such as introducing parallax scrolling or extra colours would only serve to distract from the already brilliant gameplay.

As it stands, the graphics in BC Kid are fun and very detailed. The level of animation is superb with the kid's many facial expressions and bodily contortions adding massively to the game's humour. The sound, too, deserves special mention. There are several in-game tunes to choose from and each one is so catchy you'll find yourself humming them constantly. But you'll be able to find all this out for yourself as there is a BC Kid demo attached to this very issue. Are we good to you or what?!

Comparisons will obviously be made to Core's prehistoric platformer, Chuck Rock, which was released last year. Whereas the star of BC Kid head-butts his opponents, Chuck used his belly to bump the nasties off the screen. Another note of similarity is in the incidental humour and amazing facial contortions of all the on-screen characters as well as the lush graphics, fine in-game tunes and special effects. It's also possibly true that if you enjoyed then you'll get a kick out of BC Kid- but Ubisoft's offering is definitely the superior game, thanks to the ingenious game design which always offers something new for each stage.

What all this amounts to is one of the most enjoyable platform romps I've played in a long, long time. Forget the likes of Fire and Ice, The Addams Family or Parasol Stars - if you're into platform games, then this is the essential purchase to make. You won't be disappointed.


For those not in the know, BC Kid began life as the PC Kid on the PC Engine console. Over in Japan, the cute dino-bashing skinhead is nearly as popular as Sonic or Mario and has already starred in a couple of games as well as adorning towels, mugs, t-shirts and assorted paraphernalia.
Curiously, in the United States he's known under yet another name, that of Bonk!. Quite why this should be is unclear, but what is evident is that here we have what looks likely to become of the most famous faces on the Amiga and definitely one of the best platformers ever. Let's hope the second game gets converted, too!