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Platform : PC CD-ROM
CPU - PII 200MHz
RAM - 32 Mb
VGA - Direct3D Compatible Card
If there is one overriding feeling about this game that is consistent all the way through, it is that it does not belong on this platform. Moreover, if they insist on bringing the delights of Stunt GP to the PC, they could at least do it properly rather than the frankly half-arsed attempt that has been released. A high-profile developer such as Team 17 should surely know that a keyboard-only operated GUI (mouse support too hard to code in...?) and a start screen that only allows you to enter three letters for your name (with obligatory arrow/return key operated letter select section, so lazily taken straight out of the Dreamcast version, and so out of place in a PC title), are not sufficient by any means.
They can be bothered to splash adverts for a certain title which shall remain anonymous (that would be free advertising, wouldn't it?) all over the installation screen for Stunt GP, but they won't adapt their game for the situation. Maybe they think people will rush out and buy that game instead when they return Stunt GP...
So beyond the presentation, what's the actual game like?
Unfortunately, Stunt GP does not redeem itself in this department. Contrary
to what I was expecting, Stunt GPs races are rather dull. The handling of the
buggies or the amount of speed present in this game don't do much to inspire,
and the "stunts" seem like an overly pointless gimmick present for
no reason other than the title and extremely frustrating to do correctly.. probably
because doing so is largely based on luck.
The buggies have an extremely annoying physics model. When you drive fast it becomes very difficult to turn a corner .. an application of breaks and you can squeeze through without much of a problem. This is normal of course, should and does happen to an extent in almost every racing title, but in Stunt GP you are on the one hand going to be a long way behind, in last place, if you do not keep full speed with the booster applied most of the way, and on the other hand going to fly off the track if you don't then break considerably at every turn. Which becomes annoying after a while, especially if you overdo it a slight bit and 3 smug computer controlled cars race off in front of you, never to be seen again.
Yes, another "feature".. the accursed booster. Holding down your booster key will increase the speed of your car by quite a bit.. yet also drain power. Trying to keep a decent position means using boosters for a large portion of the track, the flipside is the power drains quite quickly, meaning that without an upgrade (only available in the Championship mode of play) whilst doing this you will need a recharge every lap. Either that or you don't recharge and fall horribly behind, or ration the use of boosters. It's a lose-lose situation, and not a fun one either.
Another stupid feature of the game, even more so perhaps is the "stunt" button, from the games name. If you are at a certain point in the air and you press it, you are flipped backwards, earning points for "aeromiles". This is all well and good, but its seemingly as much down to luck as skill whether you land up the right way or upside down at the end of it. You can't even time your stunts correctly by executing them a bit later, as they will only work a split second after you leave the ramps. The only control you have over your buggy whilst in the air is the ability to accelerate, brake, or spin left and right. There is even an entire gamemode devoted to earning points through stunts - this is let down by the nature of the stunts, although this doesn't matter so much since the control afforded to you does allow you to do change direction in the air etc. What really ruins it is the viewpoints. The camera is always facing the same direction, so when you turn around, you can't see a thing, get left and right mixed up, and just generally get in a muddle. The camera "intelligently" zooms in and out on your buggy also, which is rather annoying.
I feel this is an appropriate point to mention, as I have just talked about camera angles, the fact that there is no in-car/bumper view or anything similar in Stunt GP. This is horribly noticable by its absence, and I couldn't believe the feature wasn't there at first.
Another lacking feature - multiplayer. The only multiplayer here is split screen. Great...
The rest of the package
I found the graphics in Stunt GP to be very bland. They look crisp enough,
pretty bright, and almost colourful, but there are no special effects of any
kind to be seen - dynamic lighting, lens flare.. even things that basic aren't
there. It's just bland in appearance. Of course the framerate stays high consistently
because of this, so it's not ALL bad... but it's still not what you would expect
from a modern title.
The sound does not rate highly. The vehicles have all the throaty roar of a hoover, while every time you skid round a corner that same annoying sound from last time it happened is strangely familiar... and the repetitive quirky music quickly grates.
Stunt GP gives a bad impression from the moment the menu appears. There is no excuse for the level of slackness displayed in the creation of this game. Stunt GP reminds me of an old DOS game in a way, with no mouse support etc. Why on earth port multiplayer to the pc and leave it at split screen, with the original controller selection and everything (drag your controller choice into the box in true console style..)?
Not only does Stunt GP suffer from being a bad port, its execution is poor too. No in car view, bland graphics and boring gameplay are a few of many of its faults. Stunt GP is a port of a Dreamcast game - a poor one. You could probably run the Dreamcast original on an emulator and not notice the difference. Unimpressive.
More screenshots of Stunt GP can be viewed here in our gallery.