This is Stunt Car Racer, the first racing game I ever obsessed about. There were others that interested me, Pitstop II and Buggy Boy among them but I really loved Stunt Car Racer. So much so, that when I got a C64 emulator working on a Nokia 7650, this game was the first and only game I put on it! (And eventually wore down the joystick nipple on it from so much playing!)
I’d dabbled with other racers over the last few years, first with NFS Underground (quite enjoyed), Dirt 2 (meh, got boring), then Blur (ARGH!), and finally to NFS Hot Pursuit (barely played). Not a good track record eh? What possessed me to buy Trackmania United Forever? Well, it was 75% off but then this tweet convinced me!
What can I say? It is as close as you’ll get to Stunt Car Racer in a modern racing game. That’s not surprising as the developer was a fan of Stunt Car when he was all of 12 years old!
It looks great, and beyond the “time attack” racing mode it also offers other more unusual modes. I love the platform mode in particular.
As a modern game it of course does online play, and that can be a mixed bag. I’ve only played a few servers and the borders of the screen can at times be littered with a huge amount of difficult to read information. There’s a web browser of sorts too where you can check out the mods, skins and maps other players have made. They’ll cost you though. Those “online stores” really let the game down. The ones I saw were garish and ugly and very slow to load. Often most of the page would load but important action buttons didn’t. AFAIR there’s no “loading bar” to tell you something is happening either.
The game has a currency, “coppers” which I’m still learning about. Here’s a great article about them. Not sure I like how you have to bet on getting an official time on a track.
This isn’t what a normal game of Trackmania looks like. This is what happens when you render 1,000 races all at once!
Next September the next installment in the Trackmania series will be released: Trackmania 2 Canyon. The developer is also going to be branching out, Shootmania is a version for FPS players. I can’t wait to see what that brings! Joystiq has a preview of it, and the latest issue of Edge also has an extensive article on the game which I’ll be reading later.
Want a new car? Check out Trackmania Carpark. Kinda disappointed nobody created an Alfa Romeo 147. I wonder how hard that’d be?
Finally, don’t forget the Steam forum for the game. Plenty of help there if you need it.
It’s gone back to full price now, $39.99 in the US and probably the same numeric price everywhere else (grrr) but there’s plenty of fun to be had in this game. Recommended.