Released for the Super Nintendo in 1994, this cheerful racing game is another SNES title that employs use of the Super FX Chip – an extra co-processor inside the cartridge which enhances the console’s 3D graphics capabilities (the same chip, as used in Star Fox).
Stunt Race FX was developed by Nintendo EAD, with assistance from Argonaut Software – the creators of the Super FX Chip – and is a bit of a departure from the likes of Super Mario Kart (which was released two whole years before this game).
For starters: as you would expect – Stunt Race FX is presented mostly in 3D. The cars are [kinda] 3D; the tracks are 3D; the surrounds and menus are 2D.
There are five different modes of play in Stunt Race FX: Speed Trax, Stunt Trax, Battle Trax, Test Run, and Free Trax. Speed Trax is single-player only and requires progression up a series of three different classes, each containing four courses and bonus game (making twelve courses and three bonus games in total). Stunt Trax involves driving around four courses exclusive to this mode, collecting every star possible to achieve a perfect score. Again: single-player only. Battle Trax is for head-to-head racing, and splits the screen horizontally to accommodate two players. This mode can be played single-player, but the second joypad must be plugged-in (and left alone), for the computer-controlled car to activate (which is weird). Test Run is designed for beginners to practise, and Free Trax – which only unlocks after completing one of the three available modes in Speed Trax – is both for time-attacking, and also for practise on courses already completed.
The biggest criticism of Stunt Race FX is that the movement of the vehicles (and the screen for that matter) is relatively slow, compared to most other racing games. Obviously Nintendo had a limited frame rate they could squeeze out of the Super FX Chip, and it could be argued that they were trying to do too much too soon with this game. But I feel that the overall high quality of Stunt Race FX supersedes any perceived slowness. When you calibrate your brain to the controls and the frame rate, Stunt Race FX is a lot of fun. You know – it’s a bit like forgiving the slowdown in Knight Lore, because the game’s so good. And Stunt Race FX is a very good game.
Note: Stunt Race FX is known as Wild Trax in Japan.