Hollywood Stunt Driver is a colorful spectacle of a game, an
arcade-style romp through the cleverly designed chase scenes we have
come to expect from our big-budget summer flicks. A popcorn game about
popcorn movies, so to speak. It may not have as much personality as a
certain other stunt game recently released on the PS2, but it is highly
addictive and fun while it lasts.
follows the rising career of stuntwoman Chase Corrada, who, according to
the manual, is the "bravest woman alive. Period". Pretty bold statement
considering that she is sharing shelf space with Lara Croft and Jill
Valentine. Chases goal is to do what she loves and do it well. What she
loves, apparently, is driving a flaming Tuk-Tuk car through the plate
glass windows of an office building, but hey, we all have our thing.
gameplay is exactly what you expect from an arcade-style game: simple in
concept, difficult in execution, and hard as hell to put down. There are
sixteen levels in Career Modefour movie sets, each containing four
scenes. Each scene contains various objectives which will earn you
respect points when completed. Later scenes require a certain number of
points in order to be unlocked. It is unlikely that you will complete
all of the objectives in one take, but you can go back to any level at
any time and complete those you have missed. So, if you need another 500
points to unlock the next scene, but are not really fond of the
challenges you face on the current level, you can go back and complete
earlier objectives you may have missed and add to your point total.
objectives range from fairly straightforward tasks to spectacular
stunts. Some of the tasks you will face include completing the level in
a certain amount of time (film costs money, after all), collecting movie
slates, staying above a specific speed for a certain length of time, and
so on. The stunts include jumping vehicles over incredible distances and
heights, performing multiple barrel rolls, 360-spins, flips, wheelies,
and more. Some tasks and stunts can be done simultaneously. When the
game is really cooking, you may jump your motorcycle 25 meters over an
insanely deep gorge while doing a double back flip, collecting a movie
slate, and coming in for a dramatic finish that ends the scene under
addition to the Career Mode there is a Challenge Mode, a 4-player split
screen Multiplayer, and a Replay Theater. In Challenge Mode you can
unlock individual challenges such as jumps, stunt combos, and a race. In
Multiplayer Mode you and your friends can play a few different kinds of
games: Hit and Run (basically tag with cars), Stunt Point Dual, and
Stunt Racing. The Replay Theater allows you save your favorite scenes
onto the hard drive of your Xbox and watch them to your hearts content.
The control set-up is as simple as they come: you steer with the Left
Stick or D-pad, accelerate with the Right Trigger, brake with the left.
Press the X button, sometimes in conjunction with moving the Left Stick,
to perform stunts. Press B to engage the emergency brake, A for a nitro
boost, Y to check your rear view, Black to change your view, and White
to reset your vehicle.
graphics are good. They are crisp and vibrant and rendered with some
care. They are not, however, what we have come to expect from our Xbox
games, especially in terms of special effects. The weather, lighting,
and particle effects, explosions, splashes, etc., are almost
non-existent, making the environments somewhat lifeless. If you compare
this game to Wreckless, a very similar game in style, Chase comes up
The sound is capable in terms of effects: the roar of your engine,
the explosions, everything sounds good. The movie-specific soundtracks
are good as well, but if you dont like them Chase allows you to use the
soundtracks you have ripped onto the hard drive of your Xbox.
The high points of Chase are that it is fun, easy to pick up, and
extremely addictive. The objectives are laid out clearly. They are fun
to pull off, fun to watch, and there are enough of them to keep you
coming back for the duration of the game. Anyone can learn the controls
get the game rockin and rollin in just a few minutes. And I defy you
to put this game down once you have started.
the game is very short. I cleared out nearly all of the objectives,
unlocked all of the other modes, and beat the game in a little over six
hours. Many of the challenges are way too easy. You dont have to land
all of the stunts in order for them to count. A barrel roll, for
example, is successful even if you crash and burn on the landing. The
game should require a little more finesse than that. And as far as the
Challenge and Multiplayer modes are concerned, forget it. To give you an
idea, the jump challenge sets up a jump with a few obstacles and you
jump it. Challenge over. Yippee. And playing tag with cars? You dont
really want to do that, and neither do your friends. These do not make
for a lot of replay value. Once the Career mode is over, so too is the
game, and you can finish it within the space of a rental.
The Replay Theater comes up short as well. First of all, the replays
are rendered with in-game graphics rather than taking it to the next
level as do those of racing games like GT3. Also, they are not presented
the way a movie would be. That is the point, rightto see what you have
done in the context of the finished movie? Instead, the camera angles
are more or less random and often obscure the stunts rather than glorify
them. This is just disappointing.
of the competition, Chase is good but it doesnt quite have the moxy of
Stuntman on the PS2. The stunts and replays in Chase seem generic by
comparison. The movie concepts and sets are not as dynamic or engaging.
Even the titles are lacking. Consider Stuntmans 007 homage called "Live
Twice For Tomorrow" compared to Chases "The Spy Who Chased Me." One is
creative and captures the true flavor of the genre while the other is a
spoof of a title that has already been spoofed to death. Sure this is
nitpicking, but it epitomizes the game as a whole.
An interesting side note to Chase: Hollywood Stunt Driver is that it
is the first game created using the Xbox Incubator Program. The
Incubator Program is available to independent programmers who want to
commit their own resources to developing an Xbox game before securing a
major publisher. Publishers are provided access to an Xbox Development
Kit and technical support. It is also the first console game developed
in South Africa. I-Imagine should be applauded for bringing a fun and
flamboyant stunt game to the Xbox. Chase: Hollywood Stunt Driver kept me
absolutely obsessed for a couple of days. It is a good ride while it
lasts, and certainly worth checking out.