Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: Hot Wheels: Stunt Track Driver

Developed by Lucky Chicken Games, Hot Wheels Stunt Track Driver is a game I enjoyed quite a bit as a kid, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it could still entertain me. The game is simple, but that's exactly what makes it stand the test of time. It doesn't try to do too much, and what it does do, it does well.

Players are given the choice of four different Hot Wheels cars with varying stats to race with on Stunt Track ramps set up in five different areas around the house. Tournament mode takes you through these different rooms. Each track grows progressively more tricky, and the opposing cars become faster after every level. In addition to increased speed, the opponent AI gets better, meaning they crash less. If you finish in anything but first place, you won't advance to the next level. Luckily, you can retry as often as you'd like. The final level was actually pretty challenging and took me six tries to complete.

The core enjoyment of the game lies in risk vs reward. Different types of mid-air flips and spins can be performed. Stick the landing, and you're granted a speed boost. The more flips you're able to pull off, the bigger your boost. Crash, and be left in the micro-dust of the other toy cars. There are also speed boosts placed along the tracks. In the beginning levels, you can get by without paying attention to either of these, but you should master them for the final Barn level. Crash two or more times there and you've basically lost. 

Collision between cars is absent, so there's no way to gain an advantage other than by playing well. Not necessarily a bad thing, but some might find it to be a bit boring. So that leaves us with aerial flips and spins for boosts, acceleration, and brake. Braking is practically useless. It just doesn't make sense in this game, especially in the later levels. While playing, I'd sometimes land a long jump, including flips, near the end of a ramp, and would shoot off (from the boost) but not gain enough air to make it to the next ramp. Had I braked ever-so-slightly at these parts, I might have been able to make the jump. This all happens so quickly that it's virtually impossible to react. The brake button (b) also performs one of the three aerials, and it wasn't until I started a spin too early that I realized it was there all along.

Win the tournament to unlock the Twin Mill car, then go back and crush everything. 

Find Hot Wheels: Stunt Track Driver on ebay | Amazon

Released: Jan 2000
Publisher: Mattel Interactive
Developer: Lucky Chicken Games


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