Title Stunt Car Racer (Third Review) Game Type Driving Author Geoff Crammond/John Cumming Company Micro Style Players 1 or 2 via Serial HD Installable No Compatibility ECS Submission D.J. Review If you don't like driving games, give this one a try. Stunt Car Racer is one of the few race games I actually like to play and can play fairly well. And not, I hope because I'm a bad driver; I drive a bus for a living. Thankfully I don't abuse my bus or my passengers in the rough and ready way the tough buggies in this game are treated. The skills taught in racing games are rarely applicable to safe driving, at least. Stunt Car Racer was one of the first Virtual Reality games, using a mathematically described geometry of space, surfaces and objects. The graphics are primitive (by today's standards), simple polygons. The road is a raised, sometimes VERY raised, rollercoaster style track, with leaps and ramps and gut wrenching drops and (in one case) a hellish drawbridge. The surface, although it is made of twisting rectangular sections, has remarkable realistic driving characteristics. The cars lean into banked curves, not that they steer themselves but the steering does react to the angle of the road. The cars don't stick to the track. If you steer toward the road edge, just before becoming airborne (and you will spend a good deal of time in the air), then you can easily overshoot curves and end up in a precipitous drop to the ground. You can jump over oponents or slip under them, driving through their shadow for the lead (yes, the cars cast shadows). Your car is a reinforced mini racer. A crane hoists you up to the raised surface, dangling from chains, then drops you on the track. Your view of the track is through the roll bar and over your souped up engine. One complaint here, you can't see much of the upcoming corners and curves when you are in them. Flames from the manifold indicate that you are using your nitro boost to assist your normal acceleration. But don't over do it; sometimes speed is not the best policy, plus you could find your self running out of juice at the decisive moment of a race. Your dash board has a speedometer (of course) plus readouts on available booster fuel as well as lap and race times. The default controller is the joystick, but I find it to be a little flakey and prefer to use keys instead. There is an option to choose your own keyboard configuration, which is good, NO? The roll bar records the abuse you heap on your car. During a race, minor impacts cause a crack to creep across the frame. If it gets too long your car's a wreck and you lose that race. While the cracks are repaired before each race, more serious hits puncture the roll bar and these breaks accumulate throughout your career, "softening" your car and making the crack spread faster and the wrecks happen quicker. Since the later tracks dish out some stern beatings it's better to take it easy at first You can practice the different tracks. There are eight in all, two for each racing division. The best way to learn though is to compete and follow the computer drivers around for a while, copying their technique and them improving upon it for the wins. You start at the bottom of the rankings and compete for points (for wins and fastest laps). You race one on one, three times in a season, against two other division drivers. The top driver advances to the next division. If you don't measure up you can get demoted too; back to the bush leagues with you! Just as the tracks get more difficult the competing drivers get more aggressive; bumping is not only allowed, it is mandatory! There is also an option for going head to head with another person, via modem but I haven't had that pleasure yet. Stunt Car Racer is a much ignored classic. It's well modeled vehicle and road responses make it more challenging than those "stick to the road and go like hell" games. The graphics are a bit sparse and a Point of View option, with a choice of camera positions, would have been nice. Still, it's just as much fun to go flying off a curve into oblivion as it is to actually win a race.