Born in 1989
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There were no shortage of racing games on Amiga, but none were as original and few as difficult to master as 1989s Stunt Car Racer.
Epic amounts of air-time can be achieved as the generous jumps send you soaring
Driving cars is a completely normal activity, while racing cars around a track is a more unusual pursuit, the attraction is understandable. However, submitting to the urge to indulge in the kind of racing seen in Stunt Car Racer would be the action of a deranged maniac in real life. Crippling, painful injury or complete death would be totally assured.
Fortunately, confined inside the circuitry of an Amiga, it's not only safe but hilarious and thrilling too.
In this vector based, 3d driving challenge, all the tracks in the game are raised off the ground, have no barriers and feature banked corners and jumps of varying degrees of lunacy. To make navigation of such a track possible, your car is equipped with a vast and thunderous engine which can be enhanced further by use of a limited turbo, which, when used, causes flames to burst lavishly from the manifold. Interestingly, the turbo can also be used in reverse which acts as a turbo break. A very useful technique in the game, but I wouldn't recommend you try it in an actual car.
Don't be mislead by the fiery engines, throaty tones and suicidal jumps, there's actually a high degree of skill and subtlety hidden beneath the brashness. Speeds must be precisely judged otherwise you'll either overshoot or fall short: equally disastrous. Epic amounts of air-time can be achieved as the generous jumps send you soaring, but keep in mind you can only accelerate while your wheels are in contact with the ground. Too much hang time and your opponent with gain the advantage, so you'll want to keep it to a minimum.
Leaving the track can be very suspenseful, particularly from larger heights, as you wait for impact with the desert floor. If you survive the wreck, you'll be returned to the track via an agonising slow winch, buy which time your opponent may have almost lapped you, so you'll feel like suicide anyway.
You can keep track of the damage your vehicle has sustained via nervously glancing at your roll cage as metal fatigue causes a disturbing crack to creep along it's length.
If it doesn't sound challenging enough yet, just wait to you meet your psychopath opponents, who revel in your spectacular demise. They like nothing more than to ram your car from the track, a curtesy you're unable to return. The only way to beat them is good ol' fashioned driving skill.
When you tire of the punishing races, you can indulge you nutcase self by turning to the track editor. Hours of fun can be had in creating some truly spectacular courses and subsequent epic smashes and landings. Unfortunately, I often ran out of memory with my more ambitious, sky-scraping attempts, so one forced to curb ones creativity somewhat back to within the limits of the hardware, but that's a very minor gripe.
There are also various multiplayer options, including a fantastic system link.
Stunt Car Racer is simple in concept, but is superbly executed. It's physics make the racing a unique challenge. Whenever you crash or loose a race, you know it's your fault and that you can do better next time, and there will be a next time, because you always want just one more go.
Review by Andy Pryer @clammylizard
Stuntcar Racer - Amiga
- Formatvideo Game