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CONSOLE: SNES DEVELOPER: Nintendo PUBLISHER: Nintendo
RELEASE DATE (NA): July 1994 GENRE: Racing
// review by Beverley

FX a good Stunt Racer doesn't make.

Today, after a very frustrating game of Super Mario Kart on the SNES (where I always play as Princess Toadstool), SoyBomb decided to show me just how frustrating racing games can get, whipping out a cartridge of Stunt Race FX. I popped it in the SNES and the first thing I decided to do is the Stunt Track. Since "Stunt" is in the title, it must be the best part of the game, right?

As the stunt section began, I was shocked at the ugly 3D graphics, but I convinced myself I shouldn't expect so much from the SNES, and that I had seen a few far uglier games on the N64. With this in mind, I began my stunt challenge, which was to roll my four disjointed tires and floating auto body over various obstacles in order to collect a set of stars. The game was slow-moving, but things seemed to be going well, until my car began veering a degree or two to the right. I went to adjust and it took so long for the car to react that I was on the other side of the track and out of time before my car even turned! It was agonizing watching my vehicle ignore my command and thereby fail in slow motion. This ten seconds of gameplay confirmed that this game must be an abomination. But I seem to have inherited SoyBomb's morbid fascination with game catastrophes and I decided to check out the racing segment.


Doesn't look horrible here, but this is only a still image, mind you...

The racing was shockingly better. Especially for persons such as myself with little reflexes and vision. Perhaps it was just because I had my expectations so significantly lowered by my stunt experience. Gameplay was slow but receptive, and I actually found myself doing something that only happens once a millenium: I came in somewhere above fourth! Despite its ugly graphics, I actually enjoyed racing! Certainly this game would never have the charm of Mario Kart, expecially since you couldn't play as Princess Toadstool, but I would play it again. The bonus rounds were a real turn-off; I am convinced they were programmed by the same guy who did the stunt sections because when I try to move that darn truck, it looks like the kind of erratic driving you could expect from a chronic alcoholic on COPS. The two other segments, aside from racing and stunt tracks, are a practice section where you can go down tracks by yourself and a two player version which goes REALLY slowly. The sound effects are pretty typical for a racing game, so I would give the sound a C grade. The game has some smile-worthy surprises such as an unlockable motorcycle and billboards featuring Nintendo characters from games that didn't suck.

In summary, Stunt Race FX was a second-rate racer, but it made me feel better about my racing failures. After a long session of getting your butt handed to you to the point of losing your good sportmanship, Stunt Race FX is the kind of game you can plug in to get a few easy wins and feel better. After all, watching someone else fail worse than you -- say, the the designers of this game -- is the ultimate cure for n00b shame.


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