By: Matt C. on July 6, 2002
I don't know about you, but there was a period in my life where I actually wanted to be a stuntman. As a child, car chases in action movies always seemed to fascinate me. The same holds true today, but putting my life on the line isn't something that I would want to do for a living. Fortunately, Reflections has created the next best thing in Stuntman.
As you can tell by the name, Stuntman's career mode has you performing various sequences of stunts in different movies. Some stunts have you jumping over massive bodies of water (with the assistance of some nitro), while others have you doing simple things like driving through a narrow alley without scraping the sides. The problem is, there is very little briefing before each stunt. Instead, the director barks out instructions to you during the sequence. This is fine for the earlier stages of the game, but as things become more complex, you'll often find yourself unsure as to where you're supposed to go. And once you do figure it out, it is usually too late.
To make matters worse, Stuntman can be rather difficult at times. I don't think the game is as frustrating as some people are claiming, but I do admit that some sequences have taken me up to 30 minutes to complete. I've even heard of people taking up to one or two hours per stunt sequence! Needless to say, if you're terrible at driving games -- don't even bother with Stuntman. Trust me. You won't even make it 30% into the game. The only reason why I not pulling my hair out right now is because driving games are my specialty.
One last glaring problem I have with Stuntman is the ridiculous loading times. Fail a stunt and you're forced to wait another 20 or so seconds before you can try again. It might not sound all that long, but when you just barely fail a stage, you'll want to immediately start over while the objectives are still fresh in your mind.
In addition to the career mode, Stuntman offers a robust stunt arena mode. In this mode, you can use objects (such as ramps, loops, cars, barrels, boxes, rings of fire, etc.) that you have earned during your career as a stunt driver to create your very own stunts! Simply place the objects mentioned above in your arena via an interface similar to the one found in the "create-a-park" mode in Tony Hawk 3. Once you are finished, you can freely drive around your arena without time limits and perform stunts with the objects that you have setup.
Visually, Stuntman is a fairly good looking game. Most of the levels are very detailed, but none of them quite have the flare to grab your attention. On the other hand, the car models look great and they fall apart realistically when damaged. The framerate gets bogged down occasionally, but it's not enough to detracted from the game.
Overall, Stuntman is a very enjoyable game. There are some major problems, but many of them can be over looked. I only wish there were more things to do, because I can't really see myself spending more than one week with the game. Nevertheless, I still recommend that you at least rent Stuntman if you think you have the patience to deal with the steep learning curve.