I wasn’t that big a fan of the original Stuntman. The game’s concept, which required performing stunts on cue while filming a movie, was novel and for me, one of the more interesting aspects of the game. The actual mechanics, however, were enough to make me quickly lose interest. After some hands-on time with Stuntman Ignition – well, lets just say I’m interested again.
In Stuntman Ignition, you play as a stunt driver in Hollywood. You begin as a nobody but, as you build a reputation for yourself, you’ll move up from small time gigs like commercials and low-budget movies to high-price Summer blockbusters. The only way to do that, however, is by following the director’s instructions to the letter while trying to make things looks as impressive as possible. Some stunts involve short jumps off ramps or power slides at key locations, while later stunts require even bigger jumps or other tricky maneuvers.
One of the big changes between Ignition and the original, and the reason I like Ignition much more, is that you are given a little more leeway when it comes to making mistakes. In the original, one mistake was enough to blow the entire game, often resulting in multiple repeats of outright frustration. Ignition changes this by giving you five mistakes per level. Though they will hurt your reputation as a driver, it won’t kill the game for you.
Stuntman Ignition features six movies. I was able to play through one movie, Aftershock, which is a disaster movie similar to Dante’s Peak. The set takes you all around the streets of a city while lava boils and bubbles from all sides and the ground literally crumbles beneath your feet… err, wheels. Some of the smaller stunts involved knocking other cars to the side or pulling off quick turns while others had me take the car, which was on fire, through a carwash to put out the flames. Other stunts included crashing through objects or one really cool sequence that had me drive my car under a trailer.
Successfully completing stunts will reward you with points. You can also earn bonus points by throwing in little bits of extra stunt work to make the chase a little more exciting. One way to earn lots of bonus points is by stringing moves together into combos similar to skateboarding games. At the end of each level, you are given a score that translates into a rating of one to five stars.
Stuntman Ignition will also feature a multiplayer mode. A demo for Stuntman Ignition is already available on the Xbox Live Marketplace. A PS3 one should be available shortly before the game’s August release.