Definitive 50 SNES games: #50 Stunt Race FX
Welcome to the Definitive 50! In this new series, I will be counting down the top 50 games for each system, one game at a time, one week at a time. Each game gets its own video and write up. For season 1, I will take a look back at my all time favourite console, the Super Nintendo. Strap in, for the next 50 weeks I will take you on a mystical journey through the best ammunition Nintendo had for the 16-bit console wars.
My criteria for entry in these lists will be based on a number of factors, including general consensus, collectibility, uniqueness, and my own personal taste. At the end of each season, I hope to arrive at a list of 50 games worth owning for that year’s system. Think of this as a top 50 that triples as a retrospective and buyer’s guide for collectors.
Kicking off the Definitive 50 SNES games is Stunt Race FX. This polygonal racer was released in July of 1994, and was the second game to make use of the Super FX chip, following StarFox.
Stunt Race FX includes four modes: Speed Trax, Stunt Trax, Battle Trax, and Free Trax.
Speed Trax can be considered the main mode of the game. Just like the career or story mode present in most racing games, it’s where players compete against the computer in search of first place finishes. Speed Trax features three classes: Novice, Expert, and Master. Each class includes four courses plus a bonus course for a total of 12 standard tracks and three bonus courses. There are two energy gauges to watch: Boost and Damage. Boosting is performed with the Y button, and Damage can be taken by running into obstacles and other vehicles, or just by falling too far. To replenish your Damage gauge, drive into the glowing red polygons. Pick up the blue polygons to replenish your Boost.
Stunt Trax features four courses, less linear than those seen in Speed Trax which the player must navigate while picking up pink and yellow coloured stars. The object is to collect each of the 40 stars available per course, all within strict time limits. Stunt Trax can be especially challenging, but certainly rewarding.
In Battle Trax, up to two players in some combination of humans and computers race for dominance. You’ve still got to have two controllers, even to race against the computer. Start the race off as though you’re going to be playing with another person, then leave the second controller alone. The computer will take over the spot in a few seconds. This mode features four unique courses.
Free Trax is the practice mode of Stunt Race FX. It allows players to freely play the Speed Trax courses without the pressure of time limits and competing cars.
There are four playable vehicles in Stunt Race FX: the coupe, F-Type, 4WD, and the unlockable 2WD. There’s also an awkward-to-drive trailer that’s playable only in the bonus courses.
Visually, Stunt Race FX still fares well. The simple 3D graphics and cartoonish art direction give the game an endearing quality that reminds me of the excitement polygons promised. The wacky looking googly-eyed vehicles, simple gameplay, and memorable sound effects are also fun. Having said that, it would be hard to argue that the game has aged well more generally. The controls feel clunky and unresponsive, and the poor framerate doesn’t help. Still, with some patience, the game is fun, and certainly challenging.
Stunt Race FX clocks in at number 50 on this list of the greatest Super Nintendo games. Check back next week for entry 49.