Stunt Race FX

I just realised that while the FX chip was innovative for its day, it soon got dated really fast in terms of graphics and gameplay and one of those games that fit this example is Stunt Race FX, known in Japan as Wild Trax (ワイルドトラックス Wairudo Torakkusu) , developed and published by Nintendo with assistance from Argonaut Games and was released in June 4th 1994 in Japan and in October in North America and Europe that same year.

There are 4 types of games, There is speed trax, which is the single player set of races, there are 2 difficulties, normal and expert, you have 4 courses and a bonus round in the middle each, there is no place for beginners and this should have been applied.

There is Stunt Trax, where you need to collect stars in various tracks to get the best time, there are 4 tracks and they’re all boring and because of the gameplay which I’ll talk about soon. Battle Trax is a 2-Player mode but good luck finding someone to play this. Then there is Free Trax, which is time trial mode, you can choose any track you want from both difficulties.

The graphics look nice, better than Starfox…however, they look nice when nothing is moving, when moving it’s a mess, you have no idea what is what, the frame rate is awful and can be jittery, meaning you can miss some turns, there’s just too much and there’s no smoothness to the motion of the gameplay, maybe in the NTSC version it’s much smoother to play or it might be the same, but it’s not a saving grace of 3D gaming.

The controls aren’t that bad, but with good controls and jittery gameplay doesn’t make the gameplay any better. Sometimes they can be unresponsive since the tracks are made of butter and the cars are incredibly stiff whenever you turn.

It has a time limit, in normal it’s ok and any extra time you have will be added to the next race. But in expert it’s unforgiving, you have little to no time and because of the flawed gameplay you’re unable to get to the first lap unless you’re lucky. The music fits the setting well, it’s wacky, colourful and there’s even some memorable jingles like the race start the finishing the race which I like but they’re not songs that you would listen on its own.

When you crash and get damage, sometimes the car has a Rayman syndrome and the car falls apart, it has to stop and put itself back together again and it takes its sweet time and breaks the pace. You have a health bar like F-Zero, you will get damaged. When you crash and you will if you play the game for the first time, you have to start the course all over again, which is irritating and completely breaks the flow of the gameplay, yep, you get lives, why would you implement a lives system in a racing game it makes no sense.

In the Night Owl course, I got damaged because of some ramp on the track, it’s unavoidable and every time you do it you get damage, that’s unfair gameplay here. Trying to quit the game is annoying, you can pause and retire the game but that would mean losing a life and you have to do this a number of times depending on how many lives you got and is long and boring. The only way to truly quit is to press L, R, Start and Select at the same time, why do I have to put in a button combination to quit, WHY DOES THIS GAME MAKE IT HARD TO QUIT.

Overall, it’s a mess, it has nice graphics and decent music, the gameplay is annoying and not so fun, it hasn’t aged well, there’s nothing much to talk about since it’s a basic racing game, it’s graphics over gameplay and this is a minor example.

You can get it on the Super Nintendo/Super Famicom.

Rating: 2/5

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