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S.T.U.N. Runner - The Atari Times

S.T.U.N. Runner


You'll impress your friends with this portable stunner
by Gregory D. George

February 12, 2001
Like many of you, the first time I played STUN Runner was in the arcade. In order to play, you were required to straddle a futuristic motorcycle seat and lean into a dual handled controller. As you gazed into the large video screen, you would have to wipe the drool from your chin as super fast polygon images would zip past your racer. The goal: blast everything in sight and reach the finish line. There was nothing else like it and the game was constantly besieged by would-be players.

I began searching for a home version of this game. I tried the abysmal Atari ST version but it's lack of filled polygons and slow mundane gameplay left me retching. I looked on many release lists for the other consoles, but alas, no STUN Runner in sight. My hopes and dreams of being able to play this game at home were dashed as I became aware that the arcade hardware was far beyond the capabilities of the popular consoles of the era. There was NO WAY this game could be ported to the Super Nintendo or the Sega Genesis and have it be anything like the original.

But wait... Is that a light at the end of the tunnel? Could there be a console after all that will have STUN Runner? Oh my GOD! The Atari Lynx will have STUN Runner! Would it be fun like the arcade game, or suck like the Atari ST version? Only time, (and my $39 on release day) would be able to tell.

The first thing you'll notice about this game are the lightning quick graphics. True, they are not polygon based like the arcade and look a little grainy, but that's a small quibble once you get into the game. True polygon graphics would have slowed the Lynx to a crawl, and I think this is a more than acceptable trade-off.

It really is the sound that sets this game apart. Every bit of voice from the arcade game is replicated here! From the "good luck" to the "press start button to fire shockwave." (Where's the start button on a Lynx?) There is no music during the game (thank God) but the title screen music has a wonderfully creepy-techno piece straight from the arcade.

Gameplay is another element that STUN Runner gets right. The goal of the game is to blast as many opponents as possible and reach the end of the race before time runs out. Things that you have to watch out for: Boosts to increase your speed ("Yahoo!"), stars to collect for bonuses, and shockwaves that demolish everything. Needless to say that there are dozens of different enemies out to prevent you from reaching the finish line. Luckily the control is very accurate allowing you to squeak through those jerks in the gray cars.

One of my few nitpicks for this game is that it doesn't seem as critical to drive on the sides of the tubes as it is in the arcade. It can be much safer to just drive directly on the floor and I have yet to notice a decrease in speed using this strategy.

Breakneck speeds, beautiful graphics, cool music, smooth voices, and superb control are the characteristics of STUN Runner. Had it been released on the other consoles, I'm sure that the Lynx version would have blown them away regardless.

So, if you're looking to play STUN Runner at home, this is the only game in town. (Not to mention, the best!)

Get ready for a portable game that will blow you away.
Urgh! The dreaded gray cars! They're indestructible.
Ah! The great outdoors! Home to so many nice graphic effects.
The Outer Drive is a favorite.
S.T.U.N. Runner
System: Lynx
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Driving
Graphics Score: 90%
Sound & Music Score: 90%
Gameplay Score: 80%
Control Score: 85%

Final Score: 90%



Reader Comments for S.T.U.N. Runner

simple flash game based i by Rubem on 2006-12-24 00:56:45
www.rframe.ppg.br/detonaduto.htm I played stun runner when I was ten, eleven years old. And I think with my self, if I will never more play stun runner, I will "re" made it! That`s a simple game but turns we back to the past. Rubem Gonçalves Silva rartefinal*gmail.com
Thanks for making Detonaduto! by jlhiowa on 2007-07-22 13:57:20
I just played your game, Detonaduto, it was pretty cool. Thanks for letting me re-live some of STUN Runner's gameplay :)
RoadBlaster with better graphics... by Bruce on 2009-02-14 11:23:14
Some people rave on about STUN Runners. Yes the graphics are very impressive, but gameplay-wise it's not all different from RoadBlaster.

Still it's a fun little driving/shooter.
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