If you read my article on Syphon Filter, you should have a good grasp on what Gamer’s Graveyard is all about. If not, let me give you a quick rundown; Gamer’s Graveyard is a series about old game franchises that have been either discontinued or not been shown so much love recently.
Let’s jump right in this week with a game that is near and dear to my heart, Stuntman.
If you don’t know what Stuntman is, you apparently have been living a rather normal existence with some pretty great video games to play and have little to no problems at all. Stuntman, from what I recall, was not reviewed well; and when that happens, we all know that sales don’t tend to take off, leaving games such as this stuck in “hidden gem” status.
The story has you, a stunt driver, working your way to the top of the mountain acting out grand scenes of vehicular orgasm. You act out six films, each consisting of about 5-7 scenes, each a parody of a popular movie or show (Whoopin’ and a Hollerin’ being Dukes of Hazard for example).
Now onto what actually makes the game worth a revamp: the gameplay. If you read the initial reviews this is where you are going to say: “Clovenhoof, how can you say that? The gameplay was awful!” Wake up sheeple, not all reviews have it right!
The basic format, like I mentioned before, consists of scenes you must complete properly in order to advance to the next scene; too many screw-ups and you’ll be failed once you cross the finish line. Screw up royally and you’ll be failed on the spot. Toward the end of each flim, you’d find yourself having to retry each stunt an extraordinary number of times. Your rating was derived from how well you followed the instructions from your director and how well you performed each stunt, jumping in between a moving train or driving backward down a staircase, turning at the perfect time and peeling out.
One thing I always loved about this game was the replay feature. Once you complete each stage, the game treated you to a complete scene with awesome angles in real time. While completing these scenes you unlocked pieces for the Stunt Construction Mode. Hands down, this was the best part of the game. You would unlock hoops of fire, small, medium and large ramps, cars that you used in the actual game and so much more. You would get a good idea of how you could set these up during the career mode where between films you would actually take part in pre-constructed stunts like jumping busses or crashing through a tower of cars while dodging explosions.
The epic-ness of this game remains unparalleled. An attempt was made in the form of Stuntman: Ignition… but that failure is a big part of why I wanted to write this article. Ignition was reviewed better than the original Stuntman, but was vastly inferior by comparison, favoring a more arcade-y style of gameplay when the realistic aspect was what made the game so damn fun.
Stuntman was a great game for so many reasons; you felt a real sense of satisfaction when you completed a scene, unlike most games today where finishing a level is just part of the grind. It felt like more of a throwback to old games that you needed to play over and over to get down and master. And master you could; the controls were tight, the difficulty curve was high but fair, and every time you completed a scene, you not only wanted to go on to the next but to re-do the current scene to try for a higher rank and make it look better in replay.
Stuntman flew under the radar, and it was awful that it did. I always considered Stuntman to be one of Atari’s last hoorahs in the “hardcore” gaming market. The game was a refreshing burst of uniqueness in a market that was slowly dying, and it showed people that games about cars could break free from the simple racing game formula. For all these reasons, Stuntman deserves to be brought back from the dead.
This is Clovenhoof, making your games fun again one massive jump through eighteen fiery hoops and a smashed tower of limos… at a time.