ZX Spectrum Games Stunt Car Racer
This 3D racing simulator was perhaps most famous for the version that graced the Commodore Amiga - but Micro Style (and legendary 3D developer Pete Cooke) managed to replicate it very well for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum - considering the difference in capabilities of the two machines.
Stunt Car Racer was released on the Sinclair Spectrum late in 1989 (almost 20 years ago - I feel old!) and proved that there was still plenty of life left in the old dog.
This game was set in the future and was supposed to have taken over from Formula 1 motor racing; future racing fans craved more excitement and in the 21st centure Stunt Car Racing is introduced. Each race track was a large structure much like an old time roller coaster. It's definately brown trousers time.
The aim of Stunt Car Racer was fairly simple; rise from the depths of racing division four to the top of racing division one. Each division has two tracks to overcome:
- Hump Back and Little Ramp in division four
- Big Ramp and Stepping Stones in division three
- Roller Coaster and High Jump in division two
- Draw Bridge and Ski Jump in division one
The game allowed you to view each track from different angles (so you could have an idea of what to expect) and also to practice driving the tracks as much as you liked. Once you had the hang of the car and track(s) it was time to race for real.
Your car was winched up into the air and dropped on the starting line of the track, your front tyres and suspension bouncing as you were put in place. Already the game gave you a sense of height - each track was elevated quite highly from the ground.
Once you were off it was high banked corners, bumps and dips in the track, and huge jumps that would send you soaring through the air. Your car was a tough old boot, but should you abuse it too much, a crack would appear (at the top of the screen) and would work it's way from left to right as more damage was inflicted. If the 'crack' made it all the way across the screen then that was it; your car was buggered and you were out of the race.
If you flew off the track completely then a lot of damage would be incurred and you would have to wait (what seemed for ages) whilst you were winched back onto the track.
Micro Style really managed to get the 3D perspective right in Stunt Car Racer - the sense of height as you sped over a jump and sailed through the air was spot on - it had that right 'roller coaster' feeling to it.
With eleven other racers to compete against and crazy tracks which got progressively more difficult, Stunt Car Racer was a white knucke ride that got your adrenalin pumping!
When Stunt Car Racer was released Spectrum gamers loved the 3D action and sense of speed the game gave you. The action was fast and intense, and throwing your car around steep bends and over huge jumps was brilliant fun. The only downside was the simplicity of the graphics, and next to the Stunt Car Racer Amiga version(Amiga Games our brother site) well there was no comparison. Still, when you were burning along at 300MPH you didn't really have time to take in the scenery!
The test of time:
Here in the land of ZX Spectrum Games we reckon if you ignore the simple graphics then Stunt Car Racer is still enjoyable. The sense of speed and 'grabbing some air' is still in there, and racing round the tracks is good for a laugh. Nice and simple, Stunt Car Racer still works.
Grab a pair of driving gloves and your old BMX helmet and load up Stunt Car Racer - fans of racing games will love it.
We recommend getting hold of the real Sinclair hardware but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download Stunt Car Racer for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
GENRE: 3D Racer
RELEASE DATE: December of 1989
RELEASED BY: Micro Style
DEVELOPER(S): Pete Cooke
PRICE: £9.99 on cassette, £14.99 on disk - UK
3D driving action with Stunt Car Racer in ZX Spectrum Games: