Eon Digital Interactive £19.99 PC CD-ROM Out Now
This game requires the following:
Pentium 2 233MHz (Pentium 2 350MHz recommended)
64MB of RAM (128MB recommended)
8MB Direct3d graphics card (16MB recommended)
Over the last couple of years driving games have been overly concerned with making everything as realistic as possible. Whilst this may have seemed like a good idea at the time, the actual truth of the matter was that most games just didn't get it right. The fun element was also missing so the inevitable happened and sales of driving games in general (on the PC anyway) have been poor. Team 17, the legendary designers of the Worms series, have offered us Stunt GP.
The idea of Stunt GP is to race remote controlled cars through a variety of tracks (24 in total) in various modes. You need not fear the idea of the cars being remote control as the only way this differs from a 'normal' driving game is that you have to watch you battery power instead of your fuel. The game is played from a behind the car view that is pretty much the same as any arcade racer. The novelty with the car though is that battery. Most races will allow you to complete them without the need to recharge (in Championship mode you will always need to recharge at some stage) but as you progress through the game you will find that your opponents are more and more difficult and you will have to use the turbo button more and more to keep up with them. The turbo function drains your battery so you'll have to recharge. Recharging is a simple affair (thank goodness) and doesn't cost you too much time. It is done by turning into a recharging lane/tunnel and your car slows as your battery is recharged. Ignoring the battery power level will have you grinding to a halt so you need to watch the gauge very closely. The battery power level sort of recreates the need to pit that you have in formula one games and it adds a strategic layer to the game. Another feature that adds strategy is the Aero Miles. Aero Miles are the combined distance (in miles) that you have spent in the air during a race. This is primarily performed by speeding off ramps and doing stunts (this might sound weird but believe me the nature of the tracks makes sure it is fairly easy to spend time in the air). Aero Miles are usually rewarded as we'll find out later.
the thumbnails for the big picture.
player game has five modes. The arcade mode has four races and you need to finish
fourth in the first race and a position higher in each successive race (i.e.
finish first in the fourth race to progress. If you win a race you unlock the
circuit that you won on. Exhibition mode is just a single race that you can
decide upon the number of opponents and their difficulty and the track you race
on etc. Time trial mode is all about setting record lap times and this is the
one time you battery level will not deplete. Stunt Challenge mode is all about
doing as many stunts as you can in a 90 second period. It is carried out in
a special stunt arena that does not appear in any other part of the game. Finally
we come to the real heart of the game, the Championship mode. Championship mode
is based upon a full season of 20 races and is not for the feint hearted. You
start off by selecting which manufacturer to drive for. They all offer you different
funds and discounts off their car components (each manufacturer specializes
in particular parts). When you have chosen who you are going to drive for then
its time to enter the first race. You are rewarded for the amount of Aero Miles
that you perform (this is where the stunts come in) and they also add to your
funds. Your funds can be used to buy better parts for your cars, help pay for
a better car etc. etc.
The Multiplayer side of the game is practically identical to the single player except for the fact that 2-4 people can play. It is here that the first problem of Stunt GP becomes obvious. Multiplayer is only on the one computer and is of the split screen variety. This is fine in two player mode but 3-4 player is a bit awkward unless you have a monster of a monitor 20" and upwards will probably be OK but on my 17" monitor it was to small.
also has another problem. In single player mode you can only use the keyboard
which is kind of rough on the fingers. I phoned the tech support and was told
(after the formalities of checking dxdiag and confirming that I know how to
set up my gaming devices) that they would phone me back. They did phone me back
about 4 hours later to confirm that this had just been classified as a bug and
that a patch would be out in a couple of months. This is very irritating as
in multiplayer the 2nd,3rd,4th player can choose what they like. It is only
player one that is confined to the keyboard. Another problem is that in the
Championship mode you can only save your game every few races. So the prospect
of a quick championship race is out of the question. This is another silly move
and is reminiscent of Pod in which you could only save after every four races.
Even with these problems Stunt GP is an enjoyable drive and deaf gamers will miss none of the excitement as the game does not rely on verbal feedback at all and everything is textually presented. At £19.99 Stunt GP represents great value but you may want to wait until that first patch comes out as it hurts your fingers after too much intense racing.
Overall Game Rating: 8.3/10 The action is exciting and the price is great too.
Quality of text: 8/10 Very good. Not much there but not much required.
Graphics: 8/10 The graphics are in lovely 3D but some of the textures are a little bland.
Interface:8/10 Again very good but I would have liked to use the mouse in the menus
Gameplay: 9/10 Fast and Furious. This really is gutsy driving. If I could have used my wheel then it would have got a 10/10. The action may be a little arcadey but the inclusion of the battery power was a stroke of genius and the game is worth a look for anyone.