Stunt Car Racer
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|Stunt Car Racer|
Cover art of Stunt Car Racer
The Creative Assembly (DOS)
Stunt Car Racer (also distributed under the title Stunt Track Racer) is a racing video game developed by Geoff Crammond and was published by MicroStyle in 1989. In the US it was published by MicroPlay.
The game differs from other racing games in that the races take place on an elevated race track, with nothing to stop the player from accidentally driving off the side. Most race tracks in the game have gaps in them which will cause serious problems to the driver if he or she fails to clear them. If this occurs then the player's vehicle is hoisted back onto the track (by a nearby crane) which costs valuable time. Turbo can be used to make a car go faster, but it can only be used for a limited amount of time in each race.
The game received positive reviews when it was published. The game's 3D tracks resembled a roller coaster and were something new for players. Stunt Car Racer is often described as an especially fun racing game due to its special kind of track design.
The single-player game consists of a league table which is split into four divisions of three drivers each, making a total of twelve racers including the human player. There are two racing tracks in each division making it a total of eight tracks in the game. The tracks in division four (the first division) are easy, but the tracks get progressively more difficult and dangerous with each division. The player's objective is to reach, and subsequently win, division one. There are four races in a season, and each driver will race the other two drivers in both of the tracks in the division. Each race is run over three laps. Two points are awarded to the winner of each race and one point is awarded to the racer with the fastest lap time. At the end of each season, the top racer of each division is promoted to the next higher division while the driver in last place will be relegated.
Damage to the player's car occurs when the player lands too hard on the track after driving over a crest too fast, crashes into a wall, falls into a gap in the track, or hits the opponent's car. If the damage, which is indicated by a crack in the frame at the top of the screen, reaches a certain level the vehicle is deemed to be wrecked and the driver will lose the race instantly. A particularly hard crash will also make holes representing structural damage appear in the frame above the windshield. Holes remain on the car for the rest of the season and increase the rate at which the crack in the frame advances.
The player can compete against computer opponents or, at least on the Atari ST and Amiga versions, with another player using two computers connected via a null modem cable, each with their own TV or monitor .
Amiga and Atari ST versions of the game feature the most advanced graphics (in 1989 PC computers were still using low-resolution EGA graphic modes). The game has often reached top-20 in "the best Amiga/Atari ST game" votings.
- The ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC ports of Stunt Car Racer were programmed by Pete Cooke, already well known for his many 3D games on those platforms.
- The Commodore 64 version was later modified for use without a keyboard. This version was in the Power Play cartridge together with Rick Dangerous and MicroProse Soccer, released for the C64 Games System.
- A long-awaited sequel, Stunt Car Racer Pro, was announced in April, 2003. It never came to fruition.
- Two enhanced versions of Stunt Car Racer for the Commodore Amiga were also produced by hackers. One version was called Stunt Car Racer - TNT (The New Tracks) by AmiGer where new tracks were able to be played, and an earlier version called Stunt Car Racer - Turbo by Galahad of Fairlight which significantly speeded up the framerate on AGA Amigas, and had a built in PAL/NTSC screen mode switcher that smoothed the framerate out yet more still.
- There is a Windows conversion of Stunt Car Racer available here stuntcarracerwin32 which is free. It is based on the Commodore Amiga version and also has some new features.
The game was well received and won awards.
- Stunt Island
- Stunt Driver
- Hard Drivin'
- Ultimate Stunts
- Excite Truck
- Amstrad Action magazine, issue 59, Future Publishing
- "Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time". Your Sinclair. September 1993.
- Amiga Power magazine issue 0, Future Publishing, May 1991