Fumes Stunt Racer Review: Amiga Classic Brought to the Modern Age

Posted: November 8, 2010 in Apple and Gaming
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Although there are a number of quality driving games on the App Store — notably by EA and Gameloft — most fall into the racing category and not many can be classified as vehicle stunt games or control-precision sims. Probably the greatest and most widely known stunt game is Jet Car Stunts – a very high quality tilt-controlled title with many challenges and levels to play. Now there is a new challenger in town called Fumes Stunt Racer($1.99) by Sector3 Games.

The game is based off of an older Amiga game that came out some decades ago called Stunt Car Racer. It revolutionized the racing game genre with car-stunt gameplay like gravity-defying air jumps and its twister tracks. The game has been brought back to the modern age in the App Store; however, does it live up to the high flying nature of the original or disappoint long-standing fans of the classic? The answer depends on if you are looking for a retro reboot or a modern title that has rebooted gameplay and more to offer.

Presentation

The game’s track layout and visual style of outlook is very similar to the original — although it is touched up with modern effects. Clouds are seen overhead tracks and the car’s engine is very well detailed with fumes coming out. the graphics are not as impressive as most other racers on the App Store; and quite frankly not much more impressive than the original title’s visuals.

The draw distance needs some work as further scenery and buildings appear out of nowhere — although there is fog as well in the background however objects literally appear fully formed.

Sound affects like cheers of the crowd, and the car’s engine sound are very well implemented but I found the background music pretty dry.

The title also features OpenFeint and with a recent update, GameCenter support as well. In-game leader boards and similar options are nice features to have in such a game.

Controls

The game’s default control scheme is touch-based with manual steering (slider steering bar) but a tilt control option is also available in the options menu. There are also break and acceleration touch-pedals on the screen for control and this is done very well as most racing games on the iPhone only allow one pedal on screen.

There are many control options to weed through that include auto-breaking, vibration, and flipping the steering or pedal controls (you can drive like you are in Britain). Overall, I found the tilt controls well implemented and my preferred method — what is really nice is the game adjusts the pedal layouts automatically as well when switching input methods of steering for best comfort.

Gameplay

Fumes Stunt Racer has the feel, look, and steering mechanics very faithful to the original title. The tracks are just as barren and thin, and it is just as easy to over-steer or lose control of the vehicle. To modern gamers of arcade racers this might be something hard to grasp but the difficulty in steering at high speeds and not getting out of control is what made the original so satisfying to play.

The aim here is not to race other cars or even try some pre-arranged stunts but to survive till the end of the track in three laps and in the best time possible. This sounds easier than done as there are ramps to fly over and tight turns to beat. The faster you go the harder the game becomes but the better your time or score will be at the end of the race – going too slow or beating the tracks with a slow time will result in failing to pass the race. Falling off the tracks doesn’t help either as it causes time loss.

There Really is only one game mode to choose from and that is completing the tracks with the best time possible to unlock the next track.

Suggestions

I would like the graphics to be a bit touched up – especially the draw distance. A more varied track outlook with more backgrounds would also help. It seemed to me as if I never saw a variety of colors anywhere in the game and some colors like green are just missing.

I would also like the game to have more gameplay modes or customization like vehicle upgrades and purchases. This is a must for this game to compete with Jet Car Stunts for game time as Jet Car Stunts has way more play options and tracks with it’s add-on pack (it has difficulty options as well). Compared to the small number of tracks offered in Wreckless Racing however, there is a lot here and they are actually pretty varied in layout. Despite the few gameplay options and difficulty in advancing or earning more tracks, nostalgic gamers will find a lot of play time with the title. Compared to other racing and car games on the App Store, the controls or physics in Fumes Stunt Racer are unforgiving and challenging but satisfying to master.

Conclusion

Fumes Stunt Racer probably won’t appeal to the modern gamer but with some modes added like online play, tracks added, and touched-up graphics; this could be the hardcore racing sim of the iDevices. So far it is still quite good and entertaining for the classical gameplay it offers, but outside the Stunt Car fans of old it will probably be a niche title overshadowed by Jet Car Stunts and other games. It definitely is a worthy experience however for gamers wanting a unique take on track layouts and hardcore handling and should not disappoint fans of the original.

-update
posted on The Appera

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