Stunt Car Racer

by Geoff Crammond, Pete Cooke
Micro Style
Crash Issue 72, January 1990   (1989-12-14)   page(s) 54

Micro Style/Geoff Crammond & Pete Cooke
£9.99 cass, £14.99 disk

Formula 1 motor racing was a popular sport back in the late 20th Century, but people are clamouring for more excitement and thus in the 21st Century Stunt Car racing is introduced. And now the track is a large aerial structure rather like an old time roller coaster. Not for those of faint heart.

Choose single player or multiplayer option, practise one of the eight tracks then start the racing season. The aim of this 3D game is simple, rise from the bottom of division four to the top of division one. There are two tracks in each division, Hump Back and Little Ramp in four, Big Ramp and Stepping Stones in three, Roller Coaster and High jump in two and finally Draw Bridge and Ski jump in one.

Practise is advised, but when you feel confident enough to tackle a race your car is winched up to the starting line and the race is on. You are presented with a driver's eye view of the course, so the track along with the huge V8 engine that powers your vehicle is visible through the windscreen. There are eleven other racers all as keen as you to win the title of top racer, and like you they will stop at nothing to win. Your car is a speedy little devil capable of over three hundred turbo charged MPH.

Don't think you can race around without risk: watch the top of the screen - if you continually abuse the car large cracks appear. This is your damage meter, and if you prang the car too much it will be termed a wreck.

Win or lose, I enjoyed playing Stunt Car greatly - a hair raising Speccy game. The graphics are very sparse with the front of the car and the track the only features, but at over three hundred big ones you probably won't have time to see much of a background. One slight niggle is that when you prang the car it takes so damn long for the winch to get you back onto the track. That said though, Stunt Car is a great way to get the old adrenalin pumping.

MARK [89%]

What's the sudden attraction of 3-D car games? This is the second I've had to review this month. You've got to admit that they're pretty damn good fun though. Stunt Car Racer is not as varied as Hard Drivin', but it's still addictive and boasts amazing graphics. The only trouble with this game is that only having set courses to zoom along you feel quite restricted. Each course is made up of line graphics that all whizz by and twist and turn to give a great feeling of movement. The car takes some controlling to begin with, and you usually end up falling off the edge of the track. Before you start each course you get an overall view of it to see exactly what you're up against which is a nice touch. Stunt Car Racer is a fun game which you can play for hours without getting fed up. Bring the nearest thing to being on a roller coaster onto your computer now.
NICK [84%]

Presentation: 85%
Graphics: 85%
Sound: 74%
Playability: 86%
Addictivity: 85%
Overall: 87%

Summary: A stomach churning ride: fun, playable and a great original idea.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 98, April 1992   (1992-03-19)   page(s) 78

£3.99 cassette

It's the future (well it isn't really, but let's pretend - let's pretend, can you play at... ahem) and a new breed of motor sport is very popular. Stunt car racing takes you to a massive, roller coaster-style track only the certifiably insane (or CRASH reviewers) would attempt. And three guesses who one of the drivers is (you mad, impetuous fool, you!)?

But first comes the prerequisite options screen. Choose single or multi-player and whether to practice or enter the race proper (first-time players are advised to practice). The ultimate aim of the game is simple: to rise through the ranks from the bottom of the fourth division to the top of the first.

There are two tracks in each division. In four there's Hump Back and Little Ramp, three has Big Ramp and Stepping Stones, Roller Coaster and High jump in two and the first division features Draw Bridge and Ski Yoghurt. Err, jump.

However many human players there are, each race is against a computer-controlled car. You're presented with a driver's eye view of the course so the track and huge V8 engine that powers the vehicle are visible.

To move up the drivers' chart you have to win as many races as possible, so toe the gas pedal and drive like a bat out of hell (and be gone when the morning comes... or something like that). The car's capable of a skull-mangling 300mph, but driving like a lunatic damages the car - as does pranging it into the ground at warp speeds (surprised?).

I loved Stunt Car Racer when we reviewed it back in Issue 72, and it's just as good today. There's a real feeling of movement but the background's sparse - though one doubts you'd see a lot at these speeds anyway.

Stick a large saucepan on yer bonce and buy Stunt Car Racer today! (Try in vain to get the bloomin' thing off your head and go to the casualty department tomorrow!)

Presentation: 80%
Graphics: 78%
Sound: 74%
Playability: 81%
Addictivity: 79%
Overall: 84%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 47, November 1989   page(s) 77

I'm an absolute sucker for car games, it has to be said. Put me behind the simulated steering wheel of anything (even a Reliant Robin) and I'm happy as a sandboy. Now. I don't know exactly how happy sandboys are capable of getting (in fact, I don't even know what a sandboy is) but I'll tell you this much - lock me in a dark room with a copy of Stunt Car Racer and I'll be happier than a sandboy.

First of all you should know that Stunt Car was conceived and programmed (on the 16 bit formats) by Geoff Crammond. He's the same bloke who wrote The Sentinel, which, as anyone who's played it will know, gave a feeling of height and depth to a computer landscape that hasn't been equalled since (erm, until now). But there was one problem with it - the speed of the thing. It didn't exactly crack along did it? Whaddya mean. "Yes. it did"? Stop arguing this instant. The Sentinel was not very fast. Stunt Car Racer, on the other hand, is very fast - well, pretty fast anyway. And because it's fast, it's also vertigo-inducing in the old "Yurks. It's A Long Way Down" department. Much more so than The Sentinel.

Like football, the Stunt Car league is split into four divisions, but, unlike football, each division is made up of only three places. At the beginning of the game, you find yourself in the crappest position possible - bottom of division four. You have to take on the fourth division computer opponents in a series of three lap races (and win) to get promoted.

The circuits themselves are 'something else'. They're 'far out'. They're 'bad'. They're 'straight out of the fridge'. They're (Get on with it. Ed). Imagine a traditional racing circuit (Brands Hatch, Monza or somewhere), cross it with an absolutely ginormous roller coaster, add jumps, multiply it by the first number you can think of, and you'll be about there.

There are eight circuits in all, two per division, and the initial two (the little ramp and the humpback) are the easiest of the lot. Don't fall into a false sense of security at having seen the word 'easiest' though, because in this case it simply means 'not quite as impossible as the rest'. These circuits need to be practiced before you take on the computer cars because of the humps, ramps and jumps (not to mention the chicanes) that are peppered about. Coming out of a chicane at full speed might seem like a good idea - until you realise that there's a hump coming up immediately afterwards which'll sproing your car into the air and take you over the top of the next bend causing you to plummet 200 feet to your doom. In Stunt Car Racer there are no fences to keep you on the track - cock up once and you damage your car badly.

Damage to your buggy depends upon the severity of the crash. Little 'graunches' (such as landing a bit too heavily after a jump) cause a hairline crack to creep along the tubular steel framework of the car. Mega graunches cause 'impact craters' (little holes). When the crack reaches the craters, the car obviously isn't going to take much more abuse, so 'pottering about with Granny in an Austin Allegro' mode is required. Which means SLOW DOWN, or you'll lose control and lurch, sparking and grinding on to the tarmac as everything snaps.

When in practice mode there's a digital clock on screen, so you can monitor each lap time and try to beat it next time around. When your lap times are getting below one minute you should be ready to enter the 'league'. Oh, and you can save the game at any point - which means that if you make it to division three the computer can safely be reset. Just load in the league table next time you play and the Speccy will remember where it was you left off.

Stunt Car Racer is, quite simply, THE racing game to get. It's so atmospheric! And novel too. It'll leave you gasping as you take a ramp at 200 mph, and then watch helplessly as your buggy soars in a gargantuan arc through the air towards the landing bridge. Will it be a crunch or a boing?

"Cruuuunch!!!" Oh no! Stunt Car Racer makes the Indy 500 look like a tricycle race through Toytown. And if it ever gets 'converted up' and finds itself strapped to a moving cabinet in the arcades...

Life Expectancy: 93%
Instant Appeal: 93%
Graphics: 93%
Addictiveness: 93%
Overall: 93%

Summary: A gasp-a-minute, vertigo-inducing, solid-filled-vector-graphics road-racing game. The Speccy's processing speed has coped admirably (again) with a 'downgraded' 16 bit game.

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 93, December 1989   page(s) 108,109

Looks pretty bad, doesn't it? Wire frame graphics have never been much of a winner on the Spec, especially when they're supposed to move with amazing speed etc.

Well you shouldn't be such a Mr Mopey, should you? Stunt Car racer is a whopper feast of motor excitement. You're a futuristic cross between Nigel Mansell and Mad Max, driving for kicks on the road to oblivion. Well, on a number of assorted circuits of oblivion in fact.

Yup. In the deserted nowhereland of tomorrow motorsport has turned decidedly mental. Hod rods have been cross-bred with tractors and formula one cars and the result is more like an armour-plated rocket on wheels than anything else.

There's a wealth of options to investigate before you have to brave the rigours of a full blown race with, one of the computer controlled psychotic opponents. For a start you can take a leisurely (?) practise drive through the courses to get a feel of the curves, bumps and jumps. And if you're not barmy, you'll want to use every last second of practise time available perfecting your driving style.

Once you're in a race situation, it's goggles on and foot to the floor. A big crane lowers you - none too gently onto the track. If you're going to stand any chance in the race, you'd best hit the track with the wheels spinning. Like any decent motor, your car can be steered left and right. It's got no gears, but a stonking great turbo charger instead. Faster or faster still?

Chances are that your opponent, Road Hog, Bully Boy (ooer) or any of the other funnily named drivers will manage to edge ahead on the first straight. Now the game becomes a test of nerve.

Holding down the turbo button, you scream into the first corner and smash the front of the car on the camber. The hairline fracture along the top of your roll bar extends from left to right, indicating the amount of knocks your car has taken. If it gets all the way across, you've had it.

Gaining on the other guy, there's no sense trying to ease gently in front of him. Just stamp on the gas and barge him out of the way. The little flag at the bottom of the screen goes green to indicate you're in the lead just as you hit that little concealed bump and plunge off the track down to earth. That's the end of your race.

Unlike loads of race games, you can get yourself back on the track if you're lucky. A momentary lapse of concentration can leave you skidding along the edge of the elevated plat forms, but good luck and brave steering can sometimes save the day.

The wire frame graphics shift at a respectable pace, and though the step-size it sometimes a bit silly, there a definite feeling of high octane excitement.

Label: Micro Style
Author: Geoff Crammond
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Graphics: 60%
Sound: 80%
Playability: 80%
Lastability: 85%
Overall: 80%

Summary: Highly stylish mega road race.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 119, January 1992   page(s) 41

The one and only race game of the future has finally been released on a budget label. Reviewed as a full price game in December 1989, Stunt car has finally made it back onto the shelves.

Stunt Car Racer has you in the driver seat of a stonking great turbo charged racing car. Racing against the computer or a friend, on a track consisting of a raised bank with the race layout on top and a variety of tracks with humps, jumps and banks, you must compete to progress But be careful - the tracks will fling amateur drivers to the ground below the track.

Damage is shown by a hair line fracture which slowly creeps across the rollbar. When it reaches the other side, your car is kaput and the race, for you, is over.

Stunt car racer was one hell of a racing game at full price. Now at budget it is a game that no-one can afford to be without.

Label: Hit Squad
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter

ALAN: Stunt Car certainly is a great game with a great sense of speed!

Overall: 97%

Summary: Stunt Car Racer is without doubt the greatest ever racing game on the Spectrum and no-one should be without it. It's original, exceptionally playable and the overall effect is devastating! Nothing beats it!

Award: Sinclair User Best Budget

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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