Stunt Car Racer
Copyright/Publisher: Microprose Software, Program Concept, Design & Programming By:
With the Assistance of: Norah Crammond, Additional Graphics By:
John Cummins, Quality Control By:
Peter Moreland, Manual Design By: Julie Burness,
Manual Design and Graphics By: Artistix UK, Manual By:
Martin Moth, Peter Jones & Geoff Crammond,
Release Year: 1989, Genre: Racing Sports,
Number Of Players: 1 to 8
The rollercoaster ride of a lifetime!
The world's first official motor races were held in France in 1895, and the
speed-blurred trip from there to 1989 is well covered in the manual. But it's the
future that holds most excitement. The 1990s see all sorts of chemicals fill the
petrol tanks of racing cars.
New, super-efficient engines, nitrous injection, and 'sticky' tyres mean 1998
races can accelerate at over 1G, or 0-60 mph in two seconds! With such incredible
car performance, attention turns to the racing tracks. In 2006, 500ft elevated 'stunt
tracks' with massive ski-jumps are introduced.
By 2008 the tracks have become unbelievably dangerous, but you're not scared,
are you? After all, a fair proportion of your body ys synthetic, and dropping down
to Division Four should make for a really easy first couple of races, shouldn't it?
Control of your supercar is relatively simple. Pushing forward on the joystick
gives acceleration, pulling back brakes or - if you're at 0 mph - reverse (useful
if you're dropped back on the track just before a big jump).
Once the joystick has been psuhed forward the car will continue to accelerate
unless you brake. Pressing fire shoots nitrous into the engine, making flames come
out of the exhausts for super-acceleration, but you've only got a limited amount.
Your car will automatically follow the road, unless it's airborne - as is often
the case - but that doesn't make it easy! The dashboard has all the usual dials:
speed, laptime and distance from your competitor, plus a chassic crack!
This is at the top of the screen, and lengthens during hard landings and tight
corners - if it reaches the right-hand side, the car's wrecked and you retire (giving
extra points to your opponent). There's also structural damage, shown by holes, which
stays with you throughout the season (unless you're in 'easy' Division Four).
Your objective is to win Division One. There are four divisions, each with three
drivers and two tracks. There's also a Super League for Division One Champions.
This League takes you right back to the bottom of Div Four, but both you and your
opponents can now accelerate much more quickly, with higher top speeds.
A racing season involves six racers - at the end, the driver at the top of
the division is promoted. You get two points for a win, one for the fastest lap
Any of the tracks can be practised, although there is no opponent to race against.
Your game position can also be saved, as well as a Hall of Fame with the fastest
laptimes. If a season is going badly you can choose to 'replay', going back to
your last save position.
There is also a multi-player mode. Up to eight players can participate, racing
against computer opponents for the highest position. If you load in a single-player
game position in the Super League, then you have access to all eight tracks and the
superraces! The whole thing can, of course, be saved.
This is one of the most ehilarating racing games I've ever played. The solid 3-D
tracks move amazingly fast: akin to riding on a rollercoaster. But even better,
you literally fly over jumps and come crashing down with a thump, the car wheels
bobbing up realistically, only to bounce up into the air again.
And when you crash, it's really spectacular as the whole world seems to spin
around before you hit the ground in a cloud of dust. I lost count of the times I
wrecked my car, but the game is so much fun to play that it never got all all frustrating.
And with eight tortuous tracks and a whole host of different computer drivers
- who all have their own driving styles - you should be kept playing for months.
Despite all those imminent, mega-hyped coin-op conversions of race games, it's
unsurprising that the most imaginative is an original game. Racing on a nausea-inducing,
rollercoaster race track is the sort of lunact you might expect of a Britisg programmer.
But could anyone but Geoff Revs Crammond make it this believable? The race track
and competitor car move perfectly - at last a C64 game with solid 3-D vector graphics
to boast about!
But beyond the first race, there's a big range of competitors and tracks all
crammed - unbelievably - into a single load. Quite simple awesome. And while the
Amiga isn't so technically amazing, it's just as playable and compulsive.
I've always looked to Geoff Crammond to deliver the goods - who can forget Revs
and the classic The Sentinel. Geoff hasn't been around the scene of late, but now
he's really surprised us all with what must be one of the best racer games this
year (looks like that's going to be a common phrase this year), and all this with
next to no hype.
The C64 game is obviously the most remarkable program with speed easily comparable
to the Amiga game and a highly effective illusion of speed. I'd have liked more
than one opponent to race against in the races to give it that much more of a race
But as it stands Stunt Car Race provides immense fun as you leap over obstacles,
jump gaps and burn round corners with no thought for safety or margins of error
- great stuff!