Stunt GP Hands-On

We took the current build of Stunt GP for a cursory spin, where we found that the dynamics of racing to be present but only in a basic state

The build of Stunt GP that we got to play recently has a majority of the game's systems intact. It's apparent, though, that the game will definitely benefit from the next few months of development, as there are still a few areas that are very much in need of tweaking.

The idea behind Stunt GP is an amusing one that could potentially yield rich gameplay. At the controls of a souped-up radio-controlled car, you race through yards of out-of-this-world tracks as you pull off all manner of stunts in order to earn points. These points bring you cash with which you can upgrade different aspects of your car - from chassis and boosters to horns and brakes.

The dynamics of racing are present in the current build of Stunt GP, though only in a basic state. Infogrames has promised that each car will have its own unique AI routine, so it's perhaps understandable that the cars would behave a bit oddly during races at this point. Much of the time, the cars gather together in clumps, and they either struggle in vain to traverse a slope or smack into each other midcourse. There is still quite some time before the game ships, however, so developer Team 17 will likely get things into shape by then.

The game's stunt element is in some semblance of working order. For example, when catching air off ramps or after particularly steep slopes, the airborne vehicles are able to perform all manner of midair flips and turns, much like what you've seen in SF Rush. After a quick boost, you're given a few seconds to hotdog before you hit the ground. The emphasis is on performing stunt combos as impressive as possible before you hit the ground. If you get too ambitious, however, the ground acts a sobering reminder that you are, indeed, subject to the laws of physics. In the current build, wiping out still entitles you to points. Team 17, most likely, will get rid of that feature before the game ships, unless it intends to reward players for reckless abandon, as opposed to practiced grace.

Graphically, the game looks decent at this point, though there are a few instances (for example, during some heavily populated stretches) where the frame rate drops abysmally. The occurrences seem fairly isolated to their tracks, though, as other, just as populated stretches of track seem to behave soundly, with nary a chop. We can only hope that this observation is correct.

Stunt GP is set to ship during the fourth quarter of 2000, with 16 unique cars, over eight tracks, and the requisite racing modes. Look to GameSpot for continuing coverage of this game as relevant information develops.

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