Stunt Car Racer, BBC Micro

Geoff Crammond‘s brilliant Stunt Car Racer was ported to the BBC Master (the enhanced 128K version of the BBC Micro), in 2019 by Kieran Connell and The Bitshifters Collective, and it is an excellent homebrew port of the classic racing game.

The first thing I noticed about this port is that it runs quite fast – noticeably faster than other 8-bit versions of Stunt Car Racer, which makes it more challenging than usual. If you adjust the position of your car at the wrong time (usually when exiting a turn), then you’re more likely to come off the track, so it’s easier to screw up a race inadvertently, which can be frustrating. The required reaction times are higher, so therefore it feels a bit more difficult to play. Which is no bad thing.

All eight tracks are present in this game and you can race a championship season for points or practise individual tracks separately. The only real downside is that the game doesn’t vary the colour schemes between tracks, like it does in all the other 8-bit versions. Even the ZX Spectrum version of Stunt Car Racer managed to do that, so it’s a little bit disappointing that the devs couldn’t manage to vary the colours a bit more in this port. With some palette-switching I’m sure it would have been possible.

One thing this does have, that the other versions don’t, is some in-game music. Although it only plays in the menus (and is a conversion of existing Out Run Europa music, according to the credits screen). In-game you just get the usual farty engine drones. Which is fine; music while racing is always questionable, unless you’re playing WipEout or Carmageddon.

The single-player game is great fun. There’s a multiplayer mode too although to be honest I don’t know how that works.

BBC Micro owners (specifically BBC Master owners) will be over the moon to see this classic racing game on their machines, and even more pleased that it out-performs all the other 8-bit versions of the game in terms of frame rates.

More: Stunt Car Racer on Wikipedia
More: Stunt Car Racer on Bitshifters

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