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Video Game / Stunt Race FX

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"Speed, Stunts and Challenging Trax make Stunt Race FX a Winner!"

After the release of Star Fox for the Super Nintendo in 1993, Nintendo and Argonaut Software began experimenting on more ways to make use of the 3D capabilities of the Super FX chip. This led to the creation of a 3D-animated racing game, which was eventually released in 1994 as Wild Trax in Japan, and Stunt Race FX in the rest of the world.

Stunt Race FX is most notable for its cast of cartoon-looking googly-eyed Sentient Vehicles: F-Type is a Formula One-like car with high speed and manoeuvrability but poor acceleration and terrible durability, COUPE is a small car with medium overall stats and low boost consumption, 4WD is a very robust monster truck with great off-road capabilities but very poor top speed and steering, 2WD is a two-wheeled vehicle with good to great stats but a tricky balance-based control scheme, and TRAILER is a heavy and tough-to-control semi-truck reserved for bonus stages.

The main game mode, SPEED TRAX, features twelve fully-rendered 3D race tracks spread across three increasingly difficult courses. While the player is pitted against three opponents, they mostly have to worry about completing the course; each race is set to a strict time limit, and the player will be disqualified if the timer reaches zero, if their vehicle sustains too much damage, or if all three opponents cross the finish line before them.

The other game modes are STUNT TRAX, in which the player must burst star-shaped balloons scattered around four tracks filled with ramps and other obstacles in a limited time (plus a fifth unlockable Vehicular Combat track), BATTLE TRAX, which allows up to two players to race each other on four exclusive tracks, and FREE TRAX, a time attack mode in which the player can freely race on any track from the courses they completed in SPEED TRAX mode.

It's been theorized that the cancelled Nintendo 64 game Buggy Boogie was intended as a sequel to Stunt Race FX, but no definite proof of it has surfaced. F-Type and TRAILER made appearances as Stickers in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and as Spirits in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. In September 2019, the game was included with the Nintendo Switch Online SNES app, making it the first time it's been made available since its initial release.

Stunt Race FX provides examples of:

  • Advertised Extra: TRAILER is visible on the title screen and on the cover art, and is one of the only two vehicles from the game to later make a cameo as a collectible in the Super Smash Bros. series. In spite of it, it does not appear anywhere else than in the three Bonus Stages of SPEED TRAX mode. By contrast, 2WD, which is a vehicle that can be played in all game modes, is not present on either.
  • Balance, Power, Skill, Gimmick: 4WD is a sturdy truck that has good acceleration but a low top speed. COUPE is well-rounded, with average acceleration, top speed and durability. The race car styled F-Type is fragile and slow to accelerate but has the highest top speed. 2WD has average acceleration and a high top speed, but, due to having two wheels, can have issues with balance.
  • Bold Inflation: The instruction booklet uses all-caps to spell the name of every game mode (SPPED TRAX, STUNT TRAX, BATTLE TRAX, FREE TRAX, TEST RUN), every difficulty class (NOVICE, EXPERT, MASTER), and every vehicle save for one (COUPE, 4WD, 2WD, TRAILER). F-Type is the only vehicle to avert this.
  • Bonus Stage: Halfway through each of the three difficulty classes is a bonus level where the player takes control of the large TRAILER and drives through an obstacle course to gain additional time and lives that can be used in the remaining two courses.
  • The Cameo:
    • Advertising billboards on the side of the road feature the faces of Mario, Kirby, and Fox McCloud.
    • The Arwings from Star Fox will fly by on the Sky Ramp track in an air show-like fashion throughout the race, and it's actually possible to bump them out of the sky if you collide with them overhead. Also, if you knock over a Star Fox billboard on the Night Cruise course, an Arwing will descend onto the track and leave you a blue crystal behind.
  • Cap: The maximum amount of remaining time that can be carried over from one SPEED TRAX stage to the next is 99 seconds.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each vehicle is identifiable by a dominant color, which is also the one assigned to them on the scoreboards: red for F-Type, blue for 4WD, yellow for COUPE, and green for 2WD.
  • Death Mountain: The level Big Ravine is set in a massive chasm complete with lightning and falling rocks.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The 2WD has a very sharp turning radius that takes some getting used to but once you do, you get a vehicle with the top speed of the F-Type and immunity to terrain effects like the 4WD, which can set insanely fast records. That said, getting good with the 4WD can trivialize the SPEED TRAX classes as well (thanks to the aforementioned immunity to terrain effects like water and dirt as well as having a respectable top speed under Boost despite being the slowest vehicle in the game), although the 2WD will still shatter any records set by it.
  • Difficulty Levels: The twelve tracks of SPEED TRAX and FREE TRAX are spread across three difficulty classes: NOVICE, EXPERT, and MASTER.
  • Easter Egg: By knocking out a Star Fox billboard on the Night Cruise race track, an Arwing will appear further down the track and leave a blue crystal behind.
  • Fragile Speedster: F-Type is tied with the unlockable 2WD for the highest top speed in the game, and is also the most manoeuvrable out of all vehicles. However, it is also the least durable by far, making it imperative for players who drive it to learn how to steer in midair in order not to take heavy landing damage.
  • Game Plays Itself: If one of the controllers is left idle in BATTLE TRAX mode, the computer will take over. If both controllers are left idle, the computer pretty much ends up racing itself.
  • Jack of All Stats: COUPE has average stats in every category, be it acceleration, durability, top speed, or steering. Its one weakness is its poor tire grip, but it is compensated by consuming its boost meter much slower than the other vehicles.
  • Level in the Clouds: The level Sky Ramp is set on a track in the clouds.
  • Life Meter: You can only take a set amount of damage before your car breaks up for good. Healing is accomplished by picking up a red crystal.
  • Living Dinosaurs: A dinosaur is present near the final stretch of the Lake Side track. According to Nintendo Power, it's a Polygonasaurus.
  • Losing Horns: A descending fanfare plays when you run out of time or quit a race.
  • Mighty Glacier:
    • 4WD is by far the most resistant of all four playable vehicles and the one least affected by off-road driving, but it is also painfully slow to turn and caps at a very low 100 MPH.
    • TRAILER is even slower and heavier than 4WD and lacks its fast acceleration. It is, however, completely indestructible, but that's a moot point considering it can only be used during Bonus Stages, which lack any kind of obstacles.
  • Nitro Boost: Pressing and holding the Y button will give your car a jolt of juice by expending the blue bar in the lower left corner. You can replenish this by picking up a blue crystal.
  • Palette Swap: If more than one of the same vehicle participate in a race, they will be of a different color in order to differentiate them.
  • Player Death Is Dramatic: If you take too much damage, you will crash and burn while the screen fills with red as an ambulance is heard approaching. If you fall in water, the screen fills with blue instead as your player car drowns.
  • Port Town: The final level is Harbor City, a track by the water, which the player can fall into if they're not careful.
  • Race Against the Clock: The main game, SPEED TRAX, is made up of three difficulty classes, each containing four races that form a cup. However, even though there are three other vehicles that you compete against, you aren't awarded points at the end of each race (although finishing fourth will cost you a life). Instead, there is an omnipresent timer that is counting down. More time can be gained by completing laps and passing through checkpoints. If the timer runs out, you lose a life.
  • Sentient Vehicle: All the vehicles in the game are alive, complete with eyes that look around.
  • Shark Tunnel: Aqua Tunnel has a see-through tunnel letting you peer out into the water.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: White Land is covered in snow.
  • Super Drowning Skills: All three water-based courses (Aqua Tunnel, Sea Breeze, and Harbor City) have half-pipe sections with unguarded edges. Fly over these and you end up losing by "SPLASH", which is the only instant-lose condition in the game.
  • Unlockable Content:
    • FREE TRAX is only available after the player first completes any class of SPEED TRAX. Until then, it is replace by a TEST RUN mode, which consists of a single simplistic track on which only 4WD can be used.
    • 2WD is initially only available in FREE TRAX mode; beating the MASTER class of SPEED TRAX unlocks the ability to use it in all other modes.
    • Completing all four STUNT TRAX tracks by collecting all 40 stars before the timer runs out unlocks a fifth track named Radio Control Tower, which features different rules consisting in hunting down and destroying three opponent vehicles.
  • Vehicular Combat: In Radio Control Tower, the fifth STUNT TRAX race track, the player must hunt down and destroy all three opponent vehicles as quickly as possible as they try to escape.
  • Video-Game Lives: Unusually for a racing game, the player is handed three lives in SPEED TRAX mode, and loses one each time they run out the timer, crash their car, make it fall into the water, or arrive in last place. Each lap completed with the TRAILER during the Bonus Stage grants an extra life.