Whether it be building a city or making people clean up after themselves, simulation games can be a lot of fun. Not every aspect of human life needs to be made into a video game, however. Super Dishwasher and The Library Game should certainly stay away from virtual reality. What about being the stuntman for Hollywood films, though? Now that sounds cool.
Stuntman is actually an interesting idea. As a stuntman, your job is to drive through a level and perform a number of stunts in order to complete the movie. On the downside, these stunts aren’t exactly mind-boggling: drive around cars, make sharp turns, go off jumps, slip through tight spaces, smash stuff, and the likes. While it sounds simple, it can be very challenging to complete the mandatory 85% of the stunts. The whole process is severely timed and requires quick reflexes that lend to a very trial-and-error feel. Playing this game is similar to solving a math problem: there really isn’t any room for improvisation. Every level is very linear and can only beat one way. Stuntman ends up being a test of endurance and patience. Those aren’t necessarily bad traits, though. A side mode, the Precision Test, same,her built on the same , just without the intricacy of the movie set, and these trials can be very fun.
As you progress through the levels, the director will constantly shout commands at you. His voice is very clear, but sometimes he stops what he was saying in mid-sentence. Because his voice is a gameplay cue, it can be a little irritating to have him suddenly shut up and leave you in the dark. Stuntman really only features two songs that play during the menus. In-game, the sound consists mainly of humming engines and squealing tires. Surprisingly, it doesn’t get very annoying.
The graphics are even less commendable. It is a rare occasion when I mark a game down for its graphics, so pay attention. While 3D is certainly a technical feat on the Game Boy Advance, that doesn’t mean it should be used extensively. I will never buy another 3D racing game on the GBA, thanks to Stuntman. The graphical problems far outweigh the novelty. The short-sighted pop-up makes it extremely difficult to gauge where you are going. The inevitable graininess blurs important icons to the point where they become almost unreadable. Moving objects sporadically — and inappropriately — overlap static objects, like a train popping in front of a mountain. The sides of the screen warp as you drive by. All these distortions are very distracting and make the game ry difficult to play.
I consider Stuntman to be a worthy challenge, even taking into consideration the unnecessary frustrations. It is certainly a demanding game; the faint of heart may find it to be a bit too much. Despite your best efforts, sometimes the game insists you did a stunt wrong. It only takes a minor slip up to ruin an entire run, such as getting stuck on a lamp post or something silly like that. The stunts that need to be performed usually aren’t brought to your attention until they are directly upon you, too, so beating a level can turn into a memory match of repeated tries. Aside from getting stuck on deviously-placed objects, though, Stuntman controls fairly well. The cars feel a little stiff, but the brake allows for some smooth drifting. The B and R buttons both act as brakes. The R button is the handbrake, however, which must be used to successfully pull off the sharp turns the director wants. The B brake can make the car go in reverse. Either way, they’re both brakes. I don’t understand why they didn’t just combine the two buttons.
Twenty-one career levels and six precision tests later, Stuntman is over. This only takes a few hours to fully complete. You can go back and play each level again to try and get a better score, but the strict 85% requirement doesn’t leave much to improve. Yet Stuntman can be fun to pick up again and play in small spurts to make sure you’ve still “got it.” The Precision and Jump Tests include a multiplayer mode, but this requires a copy from each player. Stuntman isn’t exactly a game you need to convince your friends to buy. One cFinal Comments: g way.
Final Comments: Stuntman is a novel idea, but I could have done without the specificity that real stuntmen have to go through. This is a video game, after all, and I like to be able to tackle problems from different angles. The challenge is still there, but true veterans will pass it in no time. Along the way, you’ll have to contend with some truly horrifying graphics. I can’t excuse it simply because this is a handheld, either. It’s plain awful. This GBA game is a nice diversion, but if you paid more than ten bucks for it, you got ripped off.