Stunt Car Racer
Copyright/Publisher: Microprose Software, Program Concept, Design & Programming By:
Geoff Crammond, 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: Tony Middlehurst,
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 time.

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.

Phil
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.

Stu
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.

Robin
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 feeling.

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!


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 98%
Thick manual with good racing history and hints, plus an amazing amount of options (see review).
GRAPHICS 95%
Solid 3-D track graphics may not look amazing, but they move incredibly fast. The flaming engine and bouncing wheels are great too.
SOUND 85%
Effective engine revving stuff.
HOOKABILITY 94%
Very simple to get into...
LASTABILITY 95%
...but winning a race is tough, making winning the league a substantial challenge.
OVERALL 94%
The C64's technical boundaries get pushed back even further by a brill new game.


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