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2-4-1 Racing Pack

For: Mobile

Twin engines

Product: 2-4-1 Stuntman Ignition and Juiced: Eliminator | Publisher: THQ | Format: Mobile | Genre: Conversion, Racing | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | Version: Europe
2-4-1 Stuntman Ignition and Juiced: Eliminator Mobile, thumbnail 1
Gone are the days when driving games can just be about driving. There are so many of them burning rubber around the video game market's mangled tarmac that to have a hope of pulling ahead they need to have a selling point, whether it be the option to pimp rides, out-compete petrolheads, or perform the most outlandish stunts available to the strained pairing of gravity and mankind.

With this latest 2-4-1 racing pack, THQ aims to cover the spectrum of extra-curricular activities by allowing you to both pimp and stunt with Juiced: Eliminator and Stuntman Ignition respectively.

Juiced: Eliminator is all about the pimping. The object is to win a series of unlicensed events against some local automobile enthusiasts, competing one-on-one, taking part in drag races, and completing perfect laps in which you studiously avoid coming into contact with the barriers around the circuit.

You and your opponents are close to evenly matched, meaning that the only differentiating factor is your own driving ability. Taking the right racing line really matters, and you need to master the twitchy controls if you're to stand a chance of winning races.

You start off with a super-mini, and as you make your way through the game you make money that you can then spend on a variety of upgrades including turbos, nitro boosts, better brakes, and so on. If you make enough, you can even trade-in your battered old motor for a range of classier models.

As original reviewer Mike Abolins pointed out, this process of upgrading and racing can turn into a bit of a churn.

"This does drop the game into a repeating cycle that's in danger of wearing itself out: you race, tune up, and then race again. But […] the racing action is compelling enough to keep you buckling your seatbelt for another lap."

At the time, Juiced: Eliminator came in just behind some very strong competition from Need for Speed: Carbon and Project Gotham Racing. Despite being a solid racer it didn't quite have the looks or the handling to stand out, and more recent titles like NitroStreet Racing and World Rally Championship have only jostled it farther back. It's not a bad game by any means, but there are better alternatives.

Of all the driving games that have appeared over the years, Stuntman Ignition has one of the most ingenious premises. Rather than beating people around a track, you need simply to imperil yourself in a variety of ways specified by a director on a film set.

The action is viewed side-on, and each stunt involves meeting a set of requirements like, for instance, hitting a pile of crates whilst performing a backflip, crashing into a stack of barrels, or avoiding your co-performers (although this is more of a running order.)

At the beginning of each stunt the director – complete with beard and baseball cap – gives you a set of instructions, and once you set off a succession of cues display as waypoints at the top of the screen. Miss one of these and the scene is over.

In a model of one-thumb design, you accelerate with '5' and brake with '8', while '4' and '6' enable you to rotate in the air. These four buttons give you a remarkable amount of control, making it possible to put your car in all manner of hazardous situations and take very complex direction.

As you make your way through the three movie shoots, the instructions become progressively more complicated, so that you not only have to perform more difficult stunts, but you have to do several in a string, bouncing and gliding along in what looks a lot like Digital Chocolate's signature style, employed in titles like Kamikaze Robots and Circus Extreme.

There are 27 levels in all, and this is plenty. Scenes become hard enough towards the end to ensure that you won't just breeze through, and after you've finished the whole game off once you still have the opportunity to go back and collect gold stars for completing it perfectly, and there's a range of prizes available for performing specific feats like jumping far.

Since it appeared last summer, Stuntman Ignition hasn't aged significantly, and it deserves to hold onto the bronze medal it earned that time around. In terms of this 2-4-1, it doesn't quite compensate for Juiced's shortcomings, but what the package lacks in quality it comes close to making up for in variety.
2-4-1 Racing Pack
Reviewer photo
Rob Hearn | 3 April 2008
While neither of these games are stellar, this latest 2-4-1 from THQ has enough variety to keep you going until the next great racing game comes along
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