The ZX Spectrum version of Geoff Crammond‘s classic Stunt Car Racer was converted by Pete Cooke, the same guy who programmed the brilliant Amstrad version. It was published by Micro Style in 1989 and came in 48K and 128K versions. The 128K version obviously had more features and that’s the version I’m showing here.
While Stunt Car Racer on the Spectrum plays very well, is authentic, and contains all eight classic SCR race tracks, it does have a rather weird – almost horizontally squashed – aspect ratio that makes it look a bit strange to me. The active play area – which depicts the 3D playing field – is actually square in this version, rather than horizontal, which is why the game looks different. I’m not sure why it was decided to do this, but it at least doesn’t ruin the game. It just looks strange if you’ve played all the other versions back-to-back, as I’ve just done.
I didn’t play Stunt Car Racer on the Spectrum back in 1989, because I had an Atari ST at that point in time and played it on that, but my guess is that Spectrum owners were more than satisfied with this conversion. And, back in 1989, I’m assuming that most Spectrum owners had 128K machines, so could play the enhanced version of Stunt Car Racer. Which was obviously the preferable version.
Playing Stunt Car Racer on the ZX Spectrum now is still great fun, even though the frame rate is probably the lowest out of all the versions. If you’ve become proficient at the game by playing it on other systems (as I have) then you’ll be able to apply what you’ve learnt in those to this game. Which is an indicator of the great job Pete Cooke did of converting Stunt Car Racer to the Spectrum and retaining its unique and finely-honed gameplay.
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