Review by vgc2000
A game with a great start but it grows incredibly bad by the end.
Ive owned a copy of this game for ages and never made an effort to actually play it. Ive read some reviews and heard great things about this supposed sleeper hit; I finally decided Id give it a chance and while it has some strong points it also has its fair share of weak points. I will go on to say that it may quite possibly be one of the most cliched and cheesiest stories Ive seen on the NES. It has one of the most generic plots of the day, a girl is kidnapped by a villain known as Mr. Evil, who is a mobster and has an army of mechs and androids. You take the roll of the hero known only as Ultimate Stuntman and have to chase after him and rescue her; it seems pretty standard fare for the day which it is but once you play it, it gets all the worse.
Cheesy story aside, the game play is quite varied and offers a lot of variety but heres the catch, the variety only lasts for the first third of the game or so then the stages repeat with pallet swapped enemies and bosses. There are eight stages and they are divided into four parts each and each one is different form the last. 1-1 is a Spy Hunter style stage, 1-2 is a platform action shooter like Wrath of the Black Manta, 1-3 is very close to Crazy Climber and the fourth stage is always the boss; there are even a few vertical and horizontal shooter stages thrown in for good measure. Each stage is pretty challenging and you will lose several lives trying to finish some of them. The one big flaw this game has is a time limit, it is always barely enough to finish each stage and will cost lives when theyre not needed, youll have to finish each stage as fast as you can often having to plow through enemies and taking unneeded damage just to beat the timer, something a game of this type didnt need.
This game is almost always graphically amazing to look at except for a few stages, there is a ton of detail and you will be amazed at how good the game looks; some stages however such as the flying stages feature sprites that are too small and are just plain boring to look at, in the platform stages Stuntmans jumping is extremely stiff and lacking in animation and the boss backgrounds are almost void of any detail. Instead of going for the black background that most games went for during boss fights this game goes for bright and sometimes almost pastel backgrounds. Thats OK to an extent but it gets pretty bright and grating at times; the bosses themselves are pretty amazing looking with a lot of detail but also suffer from ridiculous looks and cheesy design.
Sound is a mixed bag, the music is usually decent but very unfitting for an action game, most tunes are extremely loopy and sound too much like carousel music but most of Camericas tunes sound like that anyway so thats to be expected. Sound effects are corny but average and fitting for the cheesy environment they are in.
Ultimate Stuntman is a pretty cool game for the first three stages then it goes to pot, after that everything repeats like I stated earlier which is a shame because the game starts out great but by the end I was so bored I could hardly sit through the game before it became unbearable to play. There are some glitchy moments, the game wont reset on a top loading NES console and it freezes occasionally, its all stuff that couldve been avoided with more programming and testing but they skimped on it and its for the worse. The game is overly hard at times for the wrong reasons, and as good as it is, its just short of having that classic feel to it. This game is worth picking up for the comic relief but not much more.
Product Release: The Ultimate Stuntman (US, 12/31/90)
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