Stuntman's unique gameplay mechanics, distinctive style, and terrific physics make it definitely worth checking out, though you might sometimes find the game immensely frustrating.
Stuntman for the PlayStation 2 is a very unusual driving game that puts you in the role of a professional stuntman who has to perform various vehicular stunts in rapid succession in the middle of different movie shoots. You won't really know exactly what you'll be doing until you're actually in the middle of a trial run, and there's hardly any room for making mistakes. If you do mess up, you have to restart the level, which sometimes makes the game an exhausting exercise in trial and error. However, Stuntman's unique gameplay mechanics, great graphics, distinctive style, and terrific vehicle physics make it definitely worth checking out, though you might sometimes find the game immensely frustrating rather than consistently challenging and fun.
The game contains several different play modes including a career mode, driving tests, and a stunt constructor mode. The career mode is the game's main play option, and it puts you in the driver seat as a Hollywood stuntman. The driving test mode contains several trials that gauge how well you can drive fast, maneuver your vehicle, and perform stunts. The stunt constructor mode lets you place ramps, barrels, and other objects in an arena so that you can make and perform your own stunts. You unlock the objects and ramps that you can use in the stunt constructor mode by performing well in the career mode. The game also contains some behind-the-scenes DVD-styled extras, like a trailer for the upcoming Driver 3 and interviews with real-life stuntmen.
The career mode levels are spread out across various real-world locations that include London, Switzerland, Monaco, Louisiana, and Bangkok. Your career consists of providing stunt-driving services for six action films that feature themes and characters very similar to those in real-world action movies. Toothless in Wapping is a caper flick set in the gritty streets of London, and it has a premise that's similar to Guy Ritchie's Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. A Whoopin' and a Hollerin' is a Dukes of Hazzard knockoff that's set in the backwoods of Louisiana. Blood Oath shooting takes place in the crowded streets of Bangkok and is a John Woo-styled action movie. Conspiracy is sort of a Tom Clancy thriller that puts you on the back of a snowmobile. The Scarab of Lost Souls is an Indiana Jones-inspired action movie that has you driving a jeep and a troop carrier. Live Twice for Tomorrow is a shameless James Bond copy that has you driving a lot of fast sports cars. After successfully completing all of the scenes, or levels, in a film, you'll be treated to a theatrical CG trailer for the movie that includes some of the actual in-game stunts you pulled off. In between each of the films, you'll be asked to perform a traditional stunt in front of a crowd. The stunts include jumping your car through a ring of fire, synchronized driving, and even attempting to break the long-distance jump record.
The levels in Stuntman are set up in a way that forces you to make extremely quick decisions and even quicker moves with the controller. Each level contains a number of individual stunts that you have to perform in rapid succession. Here's how it works: Onscreen visual aids in the form of green arrows and distinct yellow symbols guide you from one stunt to the next along a continuous stretch of road. Accompanying these visual aids are spoken audio directions that tell you what it is you have to do. For instance, if you're supposed to drive through some boxes, you'll hear the director yell "smash through boxes," just as a bright-yellow impact symbol appears right over the boxes you're supposed to collide with. A progress bar in the upper left of the screen lets you know how many stunts are in the level, how far you've gone, and how many stunts you've successfully or unsuccessfully completed, since making it to the end of the level doesn't necessarily mean you've completed it. To complete a level you have to successfully complete a certain percentage of the stunts. In the early levels it's very low--about 50 percent--but the later levels require that you basically go through without skipping a beat. If you fail a level--and you usually will--you'll be forced to sit through a pretty long loading sequence as the level resets. This can be even more frustrating than failing a level over and over, and if Stuntman's loading times weren't quite so bad, you'd probably feel more of a sense of freedom than a sense of tension in its wide-open levels. The loading times are probably the biggest problem with Stuntman.