Few games are as synonymous with the Classic Amiga than Geoff Crammond’s Stunt Car Racer which was released by Microprose way back in 1989. Set on a stunt track, this game differed from other racing games of the time in that it had you racing in a rickety old stunt car around a track designed with turns and bumps that gave the rider the impression they were indeed on a roller-coaster. Competing in a tournament style competition against computer opponents, this game was an absolute smash to play. However this game really came into its own when you were able to network up your machines to other Amiga players for some link up action.
Whilst Stunt Car Racer runs on my X5000 under classic mode and RuninUAE, it was a nice surprise to uncover an AmigaOS 4 specific version of a remake of this game which comes to us from Finnish coder Capehill. Originally released on both Windows and Linux platforms, Capehill has taken the time to ensure that AmigaOS 4 users don’t miss out on the fun, after all, this was one of the games which made the Amiga famous!
Now it is important to make you aware that Stunt Car Remake is exactly what it says in the title, it’s a remake of the game and not the full original version, so not all of the features of the original are going to be present. It is also a work in progress with new features being added to it every so often, however if you are a fan of the game series I suspect that many of you are, then you will be willing to try this out in its current format.
The current version which can be downloaded features full screen display and also new added joystick support which is very welcome as the last updated version limited you to viewing this in a small screen and playing with a keyboard.
Stunt Car Remake can be downloaded from Capehill’s website and I suggest that when you download the game you also take the time out to make a small donation to Capehill in appreciation of his efforts. Please note that also in order to run this game you need to have the MiniGL library installed and also Warp3D so please ensure that your graphics card is compatible. If you are using a Radeon HD7750 like many other X5000 owners then this will not be a problem.
Once we have downloaded the binary game file which is compressed to a very small 1.4MB file it is just a case of unpacking the game to a partition of your choosing. There is a read me file which advises that in order to run the game in full-screen mode you will need to enter in a -f or –fullscreen command in the shell on startup, so this means if you start this up from the Workbench, you will be limited to a windowed mode.
To start this in full-screen mode, I recommend that you do a right-click on the Stunt Car Remake Icon with your mouse which will bring up the option to go into the Information tabs. Now under the Icon tab, you will need to amend the start from Workbench option to a start from shell option.
Then when you click on the Stunt Car Remake Icon, you will notice the following screen where you will need to add the command -f or –fullscreen with a space after the word Stuntcarremake and then you will find that the game opens up in full-screen mode.
Opening up this game for the first time, we are greeted with a menu giving you the option to select one of 8 tracks and a 3D rotation of each of the tracks. If we press the S button we are then taken into the sub menu where the further options are to display a different type of scenery or to increase or decrease the frame rate which in reality means slow down the game as it really does run at quite a speed.
Talking of speed this is much quicker than the original Commodore 64 and Classic Amiga versions I remember playing back in the day. Above is a video of the original Classic Amiga game which I used to think ran quite well
However if we compare this to the new AmigaOS 4 version I think we can say there is quite a difference! Is the speed of this new remake a tad too quick? For me Stunt Car Racer is about re-creating the experience of a small stunt car throwing itself around a stunt track at speed similar to a roller-coaster which is all about moving at speed, feeling that sense of speed and of being thrown about all over the place, so based on this, this remake and the speed it is running at on the X5000 ticks all the right boxes. If anything the speed of this game makes it much more of a challenge than the original as you really to have to concentrate and time when to use the accelerator here to ensure that you don’t bounce off the track. You can of course adjust the frame rate by pressing F10 to lower or if you really fancy some insane action press F9 and please wear a seatbelt.
As per the original game, you have access to a boost which will accelerate things along, although I find with the added frame rate at which this game moves you may want to be a tad careful as to which sections of track you use this on to gain an advantage. More often than not you find yourself hitting that boost, speeding along before hitting a tight bend and then falling off the track. Playing this at a lower frame rate you can control things better and use the turbo more although in reality you will probably be hitting Commodore 64 levels of gameplay action if you slow things down too much.
There is a damage status bar towards the top of the screen which will be affected if you have one too many rough bumps as you bounce around the track. If you end up dropping off the track then you will be crane lifted back on to the track, although one thing I did notice compared to the original is that any damage that you had incurred prior to that point is magically repaired which doesn’t happen in the original game.
Missing from this remake is the full tournament mode. although this game gives you the option to try out all the tracks regardless of if you have qualified for them or not which is a nice touch. Also missing from this option is the link up mode, although as I am guessing this is a work in progress we may see these features added to the game at a later date as I am sure many an Amiga owner would love to have this particular option available.
Longevity wise the game also has a Super League mode which involves running around the same tracks but the cars will move around the track even quicker so be warned before you have even had the chance to press boost, your opponent will have left you for dust.
Stunt Car Remake is a pretty welcome addition to the AmigaOS 4 gaming catalogue. It is much faster than the original ever was and the thrill of bouncing around the tracks and flying around in the air is somewhat enhanced in this new version. The only negative to this current version? Well for me the big one is the 640×480 resolution which gives a washed out look to the graphics, but in reality I am just nit-picking and you should really check this version out. Maybe we will see a full 1920×1080 HD display in the next update?
Until next time have fun with your Amigas!