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Distinctive Software, Kevin P. Pickell, David Adams, Kevin P. Pickell, Michael Bailey Smith, Nicola Swaine, Stanley Chow, Rob Martyn, Don A. Mattrick
Krisjan Hatlelid, Brian Plank, Michael J. Sokyrka
8088/8086 CPU, DOS 2.1, 512K, CGA/Hercules/Tandy/PCjr graphics
80286 CPU, DOS 3.3, EGA/MCGA/VGA graphics, Adlib/Roland MT-32/SoundBlaster sound card
5.25" or 3.5" floppy disk
Published in USA by Broderbund, and entitled "Stunts".
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(Unknown) 9th Mar 2014 08:18
The game is available in FOUR versions: as Stunts 1.0, Stunts 1.1, 4D Driving 1.0 and 4D Driving 1.1. Reportedly, 4D Driving 1.1 is the best choice, with many bugs removed.
(Unknown) 24th May 2013 01:07
Stunts (also known as 4D Sports Driving) is an early 3D racing video game developed by Distinctive Software, Inc.. The game places emphasis on racing on stunt tracks and features a track editor, it is clearly influenced by the earlier arcade game Hard Drivin' and has many similar elements to the game Stunt Driver which was released around the same time.
In Stunts, players race a lap around the circuit, with the aim of completing the lap as quickly as possible without crashing. However, these laps often feature special track areas such as loops, jumps (including over tall buildings), slalom roads and corkscrews. The game area is restricted by a large fixed size square area defined and surrounded by a fence which the game is designed to prevent the player from leaving. Players can either race against the clock or choose between six different opponents; there is no support for real-time multiplayer. Stunts features 11 different drivable cars, with either automatic or manual transmission. Replays of races can be saved and reviewed. There are four camera views available during replay and actual driving, and the dashboard is an optional overlay on all views. Another major feature of the game is the built-in track and terrain editor which allows the user to design arbitrary new tracks or modifications of existing tracks.
The cars can drive on paved roads, gravel roads, icy/snow roads, and grass if driving off the track — which all offer different levels of grip. The game has a relatively advanced pseudo-physics engine for its time which can simulate oversteer and understeer, grip is also proportional to the banking of a curve. The game features a 3D engine with flat shading and no textures, it uses polygonal graphics for most objects, including trees and road signs, there are few sprites. The resolution is 320×200 with 256 colors. There is an option to select high and low detail. The game is written for DOS and executes in real mode.
Stunts includes a form of copy protection. Each time after running the program, players must complete a specific phrase found in the game manual before being allowed to race. If the player fails to complete the phrase three times, the next race will still load. However, approximately four seconds into the race, the player is informed that he or she did not deactivate the car's security system, the car crashes, and the player is returned to the main menu.
(PC Review) 19th Apr 2012 04:28
"Stunts is easily the greatest, most recognizable, racing game on the PC."
Stunts is one of those games that defined a generation of gamers. It hailed in a time when the PC was seemingly capable of doing anything it set its mind to. There was no shortage of games from any genre when Stunts came out on the PC and it was fairly hard for even the most well done racer to set itself apart from the crowd.
Luckily for the gaming public, Stunts was not only able to set itself apart from the competition but it made a name for itself in the PC racing genre that won't be likely forgotten soon... or, not at least until PC gaming kicks the bucket.
When Stunts came out in 1990 it simply floored me. This game looked impeccable, and going back to play it even after all these years, Stunts is simply stunning. Not even in the last generation of SNES games was there such perfection in graphics as the one encountered in Stunts back in the day.
The resolution of the game simply hasn't held up that well, but the detail of everything from the expansive mountains, plains or huge tracks to the expertly drawn dashboards (which are unique for every car) give Stunts an air of professionalism and cleanliness that hasn't been seen in 2D racers before, or after. Each car is expertly modeled and there are quite a few camera angles to experience with. The animation is also top notch and the game has a fully featured damage model, which despite its fairly useless use outside of the replay mode, adds a great deal to the game.
As far as things have been documented, Stunts is also the first game to feature a replay editor, which is a plus all on its own, but this is actually one of the best replay editors I've ever seen! You can set a plethora of camera angles, zoom levels, or speed levels and switch anything on the fly whenever you so please.
Where Stunts excels in the graphics department it doesn't do nearly as good in the sound department. The series of beeps-and-bops of the early racing games are all present here. It's hard to ignore the preposterously bad sound quality, but that's to be expected from a racing game that came before the assault of 3D racers and NFS later in the decade.
In all honesty, I don't remember much about Stunts' music, except the title page which had "decent" music for the period. A series of quick techno beats combined with the aforementioned beeps-and-bops is what you should expect from this game. Obviously enough, this is the last place to be looking for sweeping orchestras or high quality opera.
The basic premise of Stunts' gameplay is quite different from any other racing game out there, which will no doubt confuse some. The game doesn't have you facing many opponents in an attempt to make it through an oval racing track first across the finish line, rather you attempt to fight the extremely tricky tracks, along with your idiotic AI opponents and come across the finish line in one piece.
What makes Stunts different in the racing genre is clearly its track design. Where other racers at this time did nothing but throw a track at you and encouraged you to never take your foot off the acceleration pedal, Stunts did something different. The tracks in the game are very tricky and technical and include a plethora of insane stunts, including 180-degree turns in mid air and insane jumps and... amazingly enough, require the use of the brake pedal every now and then. The cars are also influenced by the type of terrain they're racing on, for example racing on dirt makes the car more prone to skidding that it is when racing on regular tarmac. What's better is that the tracks can be quite long and that their complexity is amazing and their design is very good including everything from the average straight-away to all kinds of crazy stunts that should be pulled with the greatest of care. There's no lack of tilesets to speak of as every type of background, terrain texture, and stunt that you can think of is available on both the packed in tracks and in the track editor.
Stunts' car selection is fairly varied and it includes everything from the average, slow-as-a-turtle 4WD "Jeep" to the F1 powered super cars. All of the cars handle fairly differently from one another and they all have fully designed dash boards as well as a choice of colors and two types of transmissions (automatic and manual). The AI on the other hand is utterly idiotic. Unless the car in the player's possession is considerably slower than the AI it will never pose a problem for the average gamer. The AI is prone to crashing on even the most basic of courses and, even if by some miracle it doesn't flip upside down on the first turn, it can easily be "influenced" to do so. However, that hurts the game a great deal less than it might seem since the difficulty can be quite draconic during the later levels as the tracks become so complicated that even as much as finishing them can tax the most experienced race veteran.
However, there are two things that make Stunts the standout game it is: The track editor and the controls. Stunts is easily the best-controlling racing game ever to be released on the PC. The controls are responsive and their layout is perfect. Never once will anyone have to touch the "Controller Configuration" button because the ergonomics of these controls is downright amazing. And then there's the track editor: In all of the years that the racing genre has been on the market never has there been a game with such an in-depth track editor as Stunts. The game's editor is simply amazing. Half the fun from this game comes from making these insane tracks and then attempting to beat them. Some of the tracks I've played for this game are better than anything I've seen in racers, and those were all made by amateurs. The editor is fully featured and it allows you to lay a track as you please from its 2D perspective on a map carefully divided in a hexagonal grid. There's a huge variety of road pieces that includes anything you might even think of, from hair-pin turns to simple 2-lane-tracks. And, of course, the stunt pieces. The range of pieces in this category, the ease of laying them down and the lack of restrictions on how one can put them together ensure, if that wasn't obvious already, this track editors' pole-position in the history of racing games.
With a range of opponents to pick from, 2 modes of driving, a fully-featured track editor and a whole slew of cars all with different handling features Stunts' game time can easily surpass the 200 hour mark. Stunts is probably the racing game with the highest replay value ever to hit the market, and that alone is something to be proud of.
Stunts is the premiere racing game on the PC. It's a true tour de force that proves that there was a time when the PC was able to do something more than just shooters and strategy games. Anyone with even a passing interest in classic gaming, the PC, or racers owes it to themselves to buy this game.
Especially since, hell, it's .99$ on eBay and available for free download on any self-respecting abandoware site.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10, Originally Posted: 11/08/05
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This title was first added on 27th May 2012
This title was most recently updated on 9th March 2014