IntroductionOr: OVERTAKE! THROUGH THE GAP! GET CLOSE TO THE EXPLOSION! SMASH THE CHICKEN CAGES! CUT! YOU HAVE TO KEEP UP!
What in the hell? I've never heard of these games!
And for that you can be forgiven. Stuntman is a somewhat convoluted, complicated series which isn't what you'd call a blockbuster franchise, or even a cult classic. It's a game released in 2002 by Atari and developed by Reflections Interactive (better known as the original developers of the Driver series). Its sequel, Stuntman Ignition, wasn't released or developed by either of its original owners; the rights to the franchise were bought out by THQ in 2006 and the title was farmed out to developers Paradigm Entertainment, which released it in September of 2007. And surprising nobody whatsoever, THQ closed down Paradigm the following year citing quality problems and failure to hit internal sales targets.
So what are they about?
Stuntman and Stuntman Ignition are games where you play a stunt driver. You're brought on to various movie sets and have to perform a series of precision driving stunts in five to six scenes per movie. Once you're finished with a scene, you're graded based on your performance (in pay for Stuntman, and in points/stars for SMI) and can move on. After you've performed all the scenes in the movie, you're given the film's theatrical trailer, which - in a surprising twist - includes highlights of the actual stunts you performed in the movie's making, rendered in the in-game engine! (Albeit with clunky CGI people in prerendered scenes for the rest of it - vinyl-skinned automatons in Stuntman, and dead-eyed Uncanny Valley denizens in SMI.) In addition to your movie work, you also have the chance to drive in various stunt shows and commercials to further hone your skills and fill your wallet. It's gameplay unlike anything else out there.
It's also hair-pullingly, ball-bustingly, controller-pitchingly difficult.
All the scenes in the two games are timed. All of the stunts in the two games are timed to correspond to the choreography of the scene and your planned progress through it. Fuck up your car, you fail the scene. Flub too many stunts, you fail the scene. Go outside the designated course, you fail the scene. In several scenes, you're expected to trail a lead car; if you fall too far behind, you fail the scene. And it's not like the stunts themselves are particularly simple; in many cases, you need to be going at just the right speed at just the right angle at just the right time to hit the planned stunt and be in line with the next, and if you fuck up, you've as good as failed the stunt and the scene. You also have no adequate preparation for the scene in Stuntman, and scantly more in SMI, so your first time out you don't know what the hell you're expected to do.
All of these factors lead to one thing you'll be doing a lot of: restarting the scene to try again. Even if you pass the scene in spite of your exceedingly likely failures, it encourages you to get back on the horse and try it again until you get it exactly right. It's O.C.Delightful!
So what's the gimmick of the LP?
I'm going to be playing both Stuntman and Stuntman Ignition. I'm going to play all the scenes from all the movies, as well as all the side jobs. I'm going to 100% all of them.
But you just said...
Yeah, I know what I just said. These two games are harder than fuck. They laugh in the face of your alleged driving skill. There are only two types of people who play Stuntman: those who are humble, and those who are about to be. And it's going to take me a long-ass time to 100% most (if not all) of the scenes. And nobody (barring perhaps sadists) want to sit and watch me fail at them for an hour at a stretch, particularly where I mess up in exactly the same spot over and over. What I plan to do instead is showcase a few of the notable flubs for each scene, in more-or-less order of how they play out in the scene, and have the final 100% run at the tail end of each scene's segment.
Trust me, I know just how ridiculous these games get. But in their defense, the shit you can (and must) pull off borders on the ridiculous and awesome once you stop fucking up at it.
What's going to define 100%?
Stuntman's scoring metric is strictly controlled by carrying out director stunts. These stunts are marked on the HUD with a yellow icon denoting what needs to be done - it can be passing close to an object, overtaking a moving vehicle, taking a jump, passing through a gap, plowing through an obstacle, or a bunch of other actions. If you take too long and the stunt zone moves out of camera, the icon turns red. Likewise, muffing a stunt like hitting a car you're supposed to narrowly pass by, missing a smash zone, failing to land in a jump zone and such also turns the stunt marker red, and means you've failed the stunt. Normal completion of a scene is met by completing a certain threshold percentage of the scene's stunts. 100%ing a scene is done by performing all of these director stunts, without missing any, and finishing the scene with time on the clock.
Stuntman Ignition is simultaneously more forgiving and more strict. Director stunts make a return, but their part is a lot less crucial. Instead of a completion percentage determining whether you pass or fail, flubbing a director stunt gives you a strike. Five strikes equates to a failed scene. The scene is graded on a five-star scale based on the number of points you gain, and while doing the director stunts is a good way to earn points, the only way to earn five stars is to 'string' the scene; performing incidental stunts between the first time you perform a scoring stunt and the final director stunt of the scene. Each incidental and director stunt you perform adds to your combo multiplier, which allows two seconds before applying itself to your accumulated score in which you can perform a new stunt, add to the multiplier, and renew the combo timer. In practical terms, it means that in addition to needing to choreograph your path between each director stunt, you also need to be on constant lookout for things you can stunt on or near to keep your combo going. If your combo multiplier expires at any point during the scene, you can't earn 5 stars on that run!
Apologies for the caption. The game actually prints a subtitle there for the title text. The title text that's right there. That you can read perfectly fine.