he 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 is the future that holds most excitement. The1990s see all sorts of
chemicals fill the petrol tanks of racing cars. New, super-efficient
engines, nitrous injection and ‘sticky’ tyres mean 1996 racers 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 2006 the tracks have become unbelievably dangerous, but you are not
scared, are you? After all, a fair proportion of your body is 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 are at 0 mph –
reverse (useful if you are dropped back on the track just before a big
jump). Once the joystick has been pushed 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 have
only got a limited amount.
Your car will automatically follow the road, unless it is airborne – as
is often the case – but that does not make it easy! The dashboard has all
the usual dials: speed, laptime and distance from your competitor, plus a
chassis 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 is
wrecked and you retire (giving extra points to your opponent). There is also
structural damage, shown by holes, which stays with you throughout the
season (unless you are in ‘easy’ division four).
Your objective is to win Division One. There are four divisions, each
with three drivers and two tracks. There is 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 races – 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.
Zzap Christmas Special, Issue 56, December 1989, p.p.74-75
This is one of the most exhilarating racing games I have 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 in the air
again. And when you crash, it is 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 at 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 is unsurprising that the most imaginative is an original game.
Racing on a nausea-inducing, rollercoaster race track is the sort of lunacy
you might expect of a British 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 is a big range of competitors
and tracks all crammed – and unbelievably – into a single load. Quite simply
awesome. And while the Amiga is not so technically amazing, it is just as
playable and compulsive.
I have always looked to Geoff Crammond to deliver the goods – who can
forget Revs and the classic The Sentinel. Geoff has not been
around the scene of late, but now he has really surprised us all with what
must be one of the best racer games this year (looks like that is 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 would have
like 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 Racer 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!
Thick manual with good racing history and hints, plus an amazing
amount f options (see review).
Solid 3-D track graphics may not look amazing, but they move
incredibly fast. The flaming engine and bouncing wheels are great too.
Effective engine revving stuff.
Very simple to get into...
…but winning a race is tough, making winning the league a substantial
The C64’s technical
boundaries get pushed back even further by a brill new game.
Same as the C64, plus simultaneous two-player mode if you have got a
friend with an ST or Amiga and the right cables.
Good, solid 3-D graphics move as fast as could be desired. Interlevel
screens only okay.
Good engines roar, plus lots of nice touches like a useful creaking
chasis crack. No tunes though.
Harder than the C64, but incredible playability still draws you
…and the league keeps you playing.
A highly original and
very playable race game.