Super Cycle

Graphics: 4
Sound: 2
Control: 4
Depth: 3
Overall: 4

Super Cycle

By: Stephen Landrum
Published By: Epyx
Released: 1986

Super Cycle is essentially a Pole Position clone with motorcycles, but considering how 'clunky' Pole Position is on the C64, that's not a bad thing!

Gameplay is straightforward, but very polished. You start racing after choosing the colors of your bike and racing jacket, then selecting your difficulty. The action happens on the top of the screen, while your bike’s speedometer, tachometer and current gear are displayed below. Each course is a race against the timer, so the other bikes are not really opponents to beat, but obstacles to be avoided. You have two jobs: drive very fast, and navigate the corners without losing control of your bike. Some courses add road hazards and closed off lanes to mix it up.

The Scaling of objects is very smooth, and certain stages have fun little details in the background, like Mt. Rushmore or Cape Canaveral. (If you make it to the last course, try to figure out the backdrop!) Sound is limited to the hum of your engine. Unlike comparable arcade games, there is no mini map or progress bar, so you’ll never know how close you are to the finish line until you’ve crossed it.

With a good sensation of speed, tight control, and clean graphics, it adds just enough depth to warrant repeat play. Like Enduro on the Atari 2600, it wisely played to the system's strengths and has aged gracefully. Super Cycle is not exactly a hard game, at least on difficulty one, and once you’ve beaten the game on any difficult, you’ve seen all the game has to offer except for more challenge. That said, I had a great time playing through it again. How many games from 1986 hold up to childhood memories?

-Ben Langberg