B.C. 's Quest for Tires
James V. Trunzo
My three-year-old daughter, in her innocence, looked at the screen and asked, "What cartoon are you watching, Daddy?" My six-year-old daughter, with her newfound first grade sophistication, said, "Great graphics, huh Dad!" My wife said, "Maybe I can beat this one."
The subject of all this admiration and anticipation is a new arcade-style game released by Sierra On-Line entitled Quest for Tires. Each of the statements is accurate.
B.C.'s Quest for Tires is an eleven-screen visual delight based upon the cartoon script B.C. The cast of Thor, Fat Broad, Dooky Bird, the dinosaur, and Sweet Chick combine to make Quest for Tires a standard for future graphic arcade games. The program is available for Apple, Atari, Commodore 64, and Coleco computers.
The theme of Quest for Tires is as old as, well, prehistoric times. Thor, tooling around on his ancient, stone-made unicycle, must overcome a host of obstacles to rescue Sweet Chick from the dinosaur. Some of the obstacles are logs and low-hanging branches that threaten to unseat Thor unless he leaps or ducks in time to avoid disaster, lava pits that must be crossed with the aid of Dooky Bird, and an erupting volcano that spews boulders.
Pushing the joystick forward makes Thor jump, while pulling the stick towards you makes him duck. Moving the stick to the right moves Thor forward at increasing speed, while moving it to the left decreases Thor's forward speed, though it does not stop him.
A Different Speed Level
Those are the basics and they are accomplished with the fire button released. Depressing the fire button adds two more factors to the game play. With the fire button depressed, the results of right and left joystick movement are enhanced. Thor's speed will increase at a much greater rate and he will slow up much quicker too.
However, while the basic play procedures are very simple, after several plays one begins to realize that things aren't as simple as they seem. By moving the joystick towards the upper right diagonal, for example, you can make Thor jump longer distances rather than straight up and down. Mastering this tactic quickly becomes a necessity if you wish to conquer all the screens, especially at the more advanced levels of play.
For Beginners And Experts
How difficult is Quest for Tires? My wife's initial reaction was correct with respect to the game's easiest level. The game can be enjoyed by the casual gamer who really isn't interested in totally mastering games. At level one, it is also a game that younger children can play without becoming frustrated by its difficulty and complexity.
This isn't to say, however, that the game is unchallenging to true arcade addicts who have mastered the intricacies of those games requiring four hands. At its more advanced levels, Quest for Tires requires a refined sense of timing and quick reactions if one hopes to rescue Sweet Chick before losing all five wheels with which the player begins the game (each wheel equivalent to one "life," of course).
The game has well-planned variety in its levels of difficulty. It's versatile. But the highlight isn't the play of the game itself. It's the great graphics that make the program something special.
Simply put, Quest for Tires has graphics and animation which approach cartoon standards. The scrolling of the different screens is done so smoothly that the illusion of movement is complete, and the colors and high-lighting of each scene are sharp and vivid.
The game's creators used small details to good effect, such as the way Thor's hair waves in the wind as he pedals his wheel and builds up speed; the look on his face when he fails to jump a pit; and the way Sweet Chick blows Thor a kiss that turns into a heart and floats to Thor when he successfully completes a level.
Quest for Tires has the usual features found in all first-rate arcade programs. It offers four levels of play, one or two player option, and a pause feature. It also provides a vanity board which allows the player to record his initials for posterity upon achieving one of the ten top scores to date. Scoring, incidentally, is based upon avoiding obstacles; the more difficult the obstacle the more points earned by overcoming it. More variation in the scoring is achieved by awarding greater point values to obstacles when they are cleared at higher speeds.
B.C.'s Quest for Tires
Sierra On-Line, Inc.
Sierra On-Line Building
Coarsegold, CA 93614
Apple, Atari, or Commodore 64 disk, $34.95
Atari, Commodore 64, or Coleco