The Commodore 64 version of Geoff Crammond‘s classic Stunt Car Racer may not be as fast and smooth as the Amiga version, but it sure as hell gives as good a game as its 16-bit cousin. In fact: Stunt Car Racer is arguably one of the best games ever to be released for the C64. It was first published by Micro Style in 1989.
The C64 version of Stunt Car Racer was programmed by Crammond himself and is beautifully presented and structured, with eight tracks that gradually increase in difficulty as you progress. Racing against a lone opponent car is more fun than it sounds, but the challenge comes from knowing how to approach each type of track and not just blasting your way around at top speed.
Stunt Car Racer actually makes the process of controlling a vehicle around such tortuous tracks easy, by limiting the realism of the physics. The game goes fairly easy on the player most of the time (unless a particular kind of mistake is made) and allows you to concentrate on speed and direction. Which makes the game fun to play. If Stunt Car Racer was more “realistic” then it would probably be unplayable.
Crammond manages to get the feel of the car just right, and the dynamic movement of the bouncing tyres gives high speed impacts tangible kinetic force, with the frame of the car splitting to indicate damage taken. It is still quite easy to come off the track – especially if you drive too fast at certain points – and the dust cloud that surrounds your car as it crashes is simple but effective. You can even win a race by crashing over the finish line and off the track, which is a great little touch.
Getting promoted up a division feels like a real achievement, and – conversely – getting relegated feels like a defeat. It’s hard to put into words just how good Stunt Car Racer is as a game. It’s perfectly programmed and presented, and runs quite fast for this type of game on the Commodore 64. Stunt Car Racer is more than capable of getting the heart pumping during races and puts most other 8-bit racing games to shame.