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Stuntman Ignition

For: Mobile

Got a burning desire to be in the movies?

Product: Stuntman Ignition | Developer: Universomo | Publisher: THQ Wireless | Format: Mobile | Genre: Action, Conversion | Players: 1-2 | Format: J2ME | File size: 157KB | Reviewed on: N73 ME other handsets | Version: Europe
Stuntman Ignition Mobile, thumbnail 1
Of all the dream jobs we could have in Hollywood, we're not entirely sure that stuntman would be at the top of the list. We're not asking for much – given our inglorious performances at various junior school Christmas plays, a leading man or woman role isn't likely, even in our fantasies – but being George Clooney's personal dresser or Angelina Jolie's fitness instructor would certainly be preferable to stepping forward to be burned, crashed, dropped on and generally manhandled.

Yet this is exactly the career that THQ Wireless has picked out for you in Stuntman Ignition and, if we're honest, it's probably made for a more entertaining experience than either of our personal preferences would have.

Strapped in behind the wheel of a yellow muscle car, it's up to you to barrel through the on-location set meeting the director's requirements for each scene. These might be to drive like your trousers are on fire, to jump a given distance, to hit a specified obstacle, or (in the case of your co-stars) avoid one.

At the beginning of the take you're given your instructions and from then on it's up to you to follow them to the letter. Miss one of the cues – icons that hover above the point where you need to perform a particular action – and the increasingly frustrated director will yell "CUT!" and you'll need to try again.

It's an interesting idea and one that becomes progressively harder as you get deeper and deeper into the three movies you're hired to work on. Not only do the directions get more specific and complex (destroying a pile of crates while performing a vehicular back-flip is just one of the easier examples), they also begin to become more numerous, so that you eventually end up stringing together several audacious automobile acrobatics.

If you're wondering quite how you wrest a 360-degree front-flip from a one-tonne lump of pig iron and rubber, it'll be of little surprise to read that Stuntman Ignition takes a rather dim view of the laws of physics. In fact, it squishes them into one of those circus cannons and fires them out over the horizon.

So it is that on some levels you spend more time in the air than on the ground, gliding as gracefully as a ballerina over all the carefully placed props, ramps and silver stars that you can collect, in order to score extra points and positively influence the reviews of your movie once it's wrapped and has been released to theatre.

This all happens in a side-scrolling 2D environment, and there's a strong sense of Turbo Camels: Circus Extreme and the very amusing Johnny Crash series of games here, not only in execution but also in the controls – by pushing up on your handset's D-pad you accelerate your steel steed and brake by pushing down. Left and right don't come into action until you're airborne, at which point you can rotate your car, either setting yourself up for a smooth landing or performing one of the aforementioned flips.

Of course, if it were this safe and simple we'd all be stuntpersons. Unfortunately, it isn't. First, your car will only take so much punishment before expiring and, if it does wheeze its last before the end of the scene, a re-shoot will be required. Second, you'll need to keep pace with the camera – if you drop out of shot by being too slow, another take is a given.

Allied to the complexity of the directions you're given, it all adds up to a very demanding job indeed. But at no time is it ever anything but an absolute blast, even if you do make an absolute hash of things and (accidentally) plant a four-wheel touchdown on the heroine's head.

That there are just 27 levels of adrenaline-fuelled movie madness might seem a bit meagre, but in reality it's plenty to keep you occupied. Obviously there's the difficulty of the later scenes, which we'll be amazed if you finish first time out, and then there are the grades (each scene you complete earns you a silver or gold star) and prizes for the longest jump and other such accomplishments that you'll want to secure.

Ultimately, the manic Stuntman Ignition emerges as the perfect antidote to all those po-faced driving games that have hit the virtual shelves of your operator's games portal recently.
Stuntman Ignition
Reviewer photo
Mike Abolins | 18 July 2007
Inspired lunacy that brings a breath of fresh air to the driving game genre
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