Microshpere - 1983
Machine: ZX Spectrum
Genre: Platformer, Driving
Manic Miner on a motorbike? It's certainly got the same weird atmosphere. It's nice to see the hedgehogs squashing you as opposed to the other way around. Impossibly hard, yes; when my brother and I used to play this as kids we never realised that there was more than one level! But when we finally met the Ghostrider words cannot explain the sense of achievement.
Wheelie seems simple at first glance, it's basically a scrolling platformer but the motorbike adds a whole new aspect to the genre. Not only do you have to find your way through the maze avoiding the baddies, you have to do it all at exactly the right speed and with just the right amount of revs. That's not as complex as it sounds but it is a fantastic challenge judging your speed just right to make the jump over a bus. It's not just about going fast either (although it does get really fast), go too fast down a slope, on the ice or over a jump and you're a goner. On top of avoiding hedgehogs and making jumps you also have to be constantly on the lookout for gas, run out and you're ride is over.
If you can adjust to the level of difficulty Wheelie is a really special game. It demands constant thought and fast reactions, there's no space for a breather (or a pause button) like today's games. It's for these reasons alone that old games can give you such reward and sense of achievement in a small space of time, it's also what keeps you coming back for more. If that isn't reason enough to play just bear in mind that Wheelie is totally original and totally unique, it's one of a kind.
Jakey 13 Jan '03
World of Spectrum's Wheelie page - An incredible resource, all the detail you could need and the game to download or play online to boot!
Tipshop's Wheelie page - Tips, cheats and pokes.