“It’s time for your close up Mr. Keneval”
Most people who own a PS2 will be familiar with the concept of stuntman, and those without a PS2 can guess the aim of the game from the self-explanatory title. You are a stuntman (a nameless stuntman as far as I know), and as such, have to perform various high octane stunts on movie sets and reach a point score to pass the scene and move onto the next. If you managed to pass the point target which believe me will take you a few tries, you will be awarded a star rating from 1 to 5. All of the stunts in this game are vehicle based and although there are different vehicles available, the controls are the same for all.
with enough class to elevate it from the cult status of its predecessor
This brings me to my first point, the controls are not made clear in any way, and you presumably have to read the manual (which I didn’t receive with my review copy) or work it out for yourself as I had to. Another problem lies in the actual performing of stunts. Although stunts are marked with yellow icons or boxes, it is often unclear what these icons or boxes mean, for example, on the first set, one of the stunts involves driving extremely close to a car without hitting it, which is marked with two obscure yellow shapes. This stunt took me easily 10 attempts before I managed to work out by accident what the stunt meant.
Some stunts are easier than others and especially as the game progresses, the stunts get harder, but be under no illusions, THIS GAME IS HARD, and no matter how experienced you are at driving games, you will find that you either cannot complete some scenes and therefore are completely stuck at a point in the game, or you get consistently low scores as I did (highest I managed was 3 stars after a few hours play).
The game is extremely linear, and if you get stuck on a scene, the main game wont progress any farther until you manage to complete that scene.
Although the game is challenging and will take a lot of getting used to, it is very good fun once you work through the initial problems faced such as getting used to what stunt is what. This game will last you a sufficiently long time, and replaying to get a higher rating does have its rewards. The graphics are suitably ?next gen?, but are never more then functional. They move along at a suitable framerate with little clipping, while not as impressive as, say, Burnout, the impression of speed is certainly evident. Audio is top notch, although just a little cheesy when it comes to the voice acting for the different directors.
Each of the 25 individual vehicles handle slightly differently from the motorcycles (hardest to control) to the various sports cars through to the monster trucks as well as the firetruck, all take time to perfect (that’s without mentioning the Hovercraft-oh crap, I just did!). Keeping the interest on the 6 differing movie sets, based on all the major Hollywood blockbuster genres. We get a superhero movie, spy flick, disaster movie?you get my drift (actually drifting is quite an important part of this game, as in other top driving games). All give you different tasks to perform on set to keep the director happy to make that individual scene a ?wrap.?.
The difference from the original Playstation game comes as a 2 headed beast, the first being the ignition in the title- this is where you press the y button at a certain point to trigger off a certain event or major stunt in that scene. Timing is of the essence, as you have to replay the scene if you miss too many cues to perform the required stunt within the allotted time frame. Secondly we come to the impressive online features, either play one of the pre-loaded multiplayer modes, or construct your own insane stunt runs and challenge all comers to beat it with xbox live.
To conclude this is a cracking little driving game, with enough class to elevate it from the cult status of its predecessor, although not perfect it does have a certain charm. It also has that dip in and play, ?just one more game? magic ingredient that makes all good games great.
The Bad: Can be linear, not easy,confusing controls & gameplay at times