Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Wheelie'

Rating:5 User: winston

Released in 1983, this game by Microsphere has the player as a motorcyclist. You must ride your powerful sports bike with precision and often much speed - avoiding various dangers - inexplicably large wildlife out to crush you or knock you off your bike, patches of ice, and bits of Evel Knevel's outfit - jumps over buses and cars. Additionally, the player must not run out of fuel. There are various places in the map where fuel is provided. Once you reach the end of the level, you must race the Ghostrider back. Rather unfairly, the Ghostrider gets to avoid all the nasties, after all - he is a ghost and can ride through walls, buses, and overgrown hedgehogs.

The game is presented as a multi level side scroller. Hills slow and speed the bike, and riding fast uses up fuel much more quickly than riding slow. Take a jump at the wrong speed, and you can crash on landing, or not make it across the obstacles. A quick burst of acceleration will make your bike wheelie, so you can get across some of the bumps in the map, that pitch you off the bike if your front tyre hits it.

The action is fast, and the controls are responsive - Wheelie was definitely one of the best 1983 releases for the Spectrum - not just graphically appealing but with great replayability. It's also a challenging game - it takes quite a bit of practise before you can get through the first level the first time - ensuring that for seasoned players, the first level isn't just a boring milk run which you must pass.

Wheelie was also notable for appearing in Skool Daze - apparently Boy Wonder enjoyed the game greatly, often writing "I LOVE WHEELIE" on the blackboards...