Stunt Racer 64 © 2000 Midway Home Entertainment.
3YK meets the '50's in this hep-cat racer. Groovy, daddy-o!
In the far future as Boss Game Studios sees it, jaded technophiles blend turbocharged racing with the coolest auto styles from the Age of Elvis. The result: some of the most reckless roddin' fun to hit the N64 in many a moon. Given the oodles of racers on our favorite platform, those are high words of praise indeed.
Visually, SR64 is an ambitious blend of '50s car kitsch (jumbo grilles, wood paneling) with futuristic roller-coaster action on 12 cleverly designed tracks. The game looks great, especially in the letterboxed high-res mode (you'll need an Expansion Pak). Undergirding the warp-speed hijinks is a rock-solid game engine based in World Driver: Championship, Boss Game's 1999 critical success.
According to the game's wacky but consistent physics, you'll stick to the pavement like a baby to a lollipop, unless you slip through a guardrail or drive across one of the luridly marked jumps. Once you get used to cresting Everest-like rises at 140 mph without leaving the ground, you're halfway to mastering SR64.
The game doesn't offer Diddy Kong Racing-ish missiles, although you'll come across the occasional nitro. Your big weapon is your car, which you can use to shove rivals around. Hence weight is a key parameter to keep in mind when choosing a car, along with power, handling, boost and thrust (for executing dizzying stunts).
SR64 offers 14 cars, including a couple of hard-to-unlock supermobiles. At game's start, though, you'll only have keys to four scrumptious-looking but so-so performers. Snatch coins from the course to pay for upgrades immediately, but your long-term plans should include trading up to more capable sets of wheels.
Much as they did in WDC, solo players are able to enter five successive leagues and spend their winnings on performance upgrades. Players can also win money by pulling off wild mid-air stunts and pocketing coins on the courses. Just for fun, there's a couple of one-player stunt arenas.
Even though Stunt Racer 64 faces stiff competition in the jam-packed field of N64 racing Paks, connoisseurs of frenetic action and nifty graphics will want to take it for a spin. They might be very pleasantly surprised.