If you haven’t experienced Stunt Car Racer, let me describe it to you. It was a race against the machine in 1 against 1 aboard a machine half-buggy, half-dragster on roller coaster tracks like Tonnerre de Zeus XXL. Admittedly, said like that, it does not necessarily feel hit. But if I tell you that behind this game was a certain Geoff Crammond, a true genius and creator of the series of F1 Formula One Grand Prix simulators, do I have your attention? So much the better.
The primary goal of Stunt Car Racer was therefore to… stay on the track, any exit being immediately sanctioned by a fall of several tens of meters and several seconds before being winched and put back on the track by chains (but but but… wouldn’t that be where the idea of the cloud/runway marshal came from? Mario Kart ?!?).
The big asset of Stunt Car Racer was its physics engine, as realistic as its surroundings were improbable. Which required really fine driving on the circuits, real roller coasters where bumps, jumps, dizzying descents and banked turns followed one another. And to make matters worse, Geoff had the good idea to add a rather vicious parameter. In the event of major shocks, the buggy suffered damage symbolized by a crack which progressed on the tubular structure of the cockpit in the foreground. It was therefore not enough to rush because if you arrived too quickly at the top of a hill, landing 30 meters lower, even on the runway, caused great damage.
Each circuit was completely crazy but the prize certainly goes to the very aptly named Ski Jump in which, at each lap, you found yourself attempting a death jump after which you spent more than five seconds wondering if you were going to retouch earth one day. Impressive ! All the more impressive that another stroke of genius of Geoff was to mix 2D and 3D on the screen. If the track and your opponent were indeed in 3D (at the time…), the interior of your buggy as well as the wheels and a big V8 were displayed in 2D in the foreground for a hyper immersive result. Ok it’s not a Playstation VR but it’s 1989!