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Video Game / Stuntman

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Let the bassline get ya.
"In the days of its infancy, the stunt performer's profession was pioneered by the daring and ingenuity of acrobats and circus acts. As the public's demand for on-screen chases, crashes, jumps, smashes, and explosions is never satisfied, so the stunt performer has evolved into a highly-trained professional. This is not a life for the timid. This is where men and women challenge the impossible, and make it happen, before your eyes."
— The opening narration of the original Stuntman

"Every mangled mass of steel has a story to tell."
— The opening words of Stuntman: Ignition

Overtake that car! Get close to the explosion! Describe Stuntman! Cut, that was too slow!

Stuntman, developed by Reflections Interactive and published by Infogrames under the Atari brand, is a 2002 Driving Game about a movie stuntman who works on several films that sound incredibly similar in concept to real films. Each chapter focuses on a specific movie, which is split up into different scenes. During each scene, the player has to hit the stunts the Director (who sounds the same no matter what the film is) calls out, with each stunt being some kind of manoeuvre like jumping off a ramp, scraping against cars/walls while sparks dramatically fly off, or driving under a falling pillar just in the nick of time. The more stunts the player hits, the higher rating they get for the film. Mess up too much, and it's a restart for you. Expect to be doing exactly that a lot in the later levels.

A sequel, Stuntman: Ignition, was developed by Paradigm Entertainment, published by THQ, and released in 2007 for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360; it toned down the difficulty and featured a new scoring system.

This series provides examples of:

    Tropes present in both titles 
  • Artistic License Film Production:
    • All car chase scenes are apparently filmed in one go, starting all the way from the beginning if one mistake is made. The film companies must have impressive budgets, considering the number of times the average player will repeat every mission.
    • This trope is outright Lampshaded in Ignition (which thankfully gave a buffer of five errors before a reshoot is called, unless you REALLY screw up). Incidentally, he's also one of the more characteristically bizarre ones too:
      "We're gonna do long takes, that are really unsafe, with insane stunts. As many as you can squeeze together into one run."
    • Also, all scenes in the sequel are apparently done with live ammunition judging from the very visible tracers and sparking impacts when they hit their target. There's also zero problem with you hitting the stuntmen running around or shooting at you, allowing you to cheerfully send poor actors ragdolling away or even crushing them under the wheels of a monster truck.
  • Captain Crash: You'll be surprised how often you get "Hit the X" stunts...
  • Car Fu: Both played straight and averted. If you need to tail someone, you can't hit them. However, you can be told to "Hit the bus". The last stunt of the last scene of the last film in both games has you take out a flying object with your car.
  • Chase Scene: Several stunts in both games involve lengthy vehicle chases. Overtaking or hitting the front car will void the take.
  • Cool Car: Less so with the original, but Ignition had cars with guns, monster trucks and hovercraft. Not to mention a Bond Car.
  • Directionless Driver: Averted, with the GIANT ARROWS. Granted, you may miss a few, but they're usually there.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The games ask the player to drift, jump over or into obstacles and even drive on two wheels for extended lengths of time.
  • Expy: Several, including:
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: You'll recognise several of the movies as homages to famous films, often as a blend of several (except with more car scenes, because otherwise you wouldn't have anything to do in it).
  • Loads and Loads of Loading:
    • The first game is already hard enough as it is, but having to wait through long loading screens for every retry makes it aggravating.
    • Inverted in Ignition. Load times are fairly short, and during the load, one of the bigger stunts is explained to you, and you can continue listening to the description after the level is finished loading. When you restart, there is no loading screen at all.
  • My Car Hates Me: Because of the realistic physics and clunky controls, sometimes the cars are a real bitch to steer. Particularly in the first game's ice-movie, which the second tops with a hovercraft. On ice.
  • Ramp Jump: A staple of the set pieces in each film. The jumps become more risky as the career continues, including jumping a motorcycle through the gap between a semi truck and it's trailer.
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie: Once you've completed all the scenes for a movie, you can see a trailer for it. They're actually pretty good.
  • Some Dexterity Required: Due to the realistic physics modeling of the cars, you need to be very dexterous with the controls in order to have any semblance of "control" over the vehicle. The game's introductory levels make you practice various stunt manoeuvres (such as 180s, reverse 180s, drifting through turns, etc) over and over until you've mastered them. It's made mandatory because you'll be using those maneuvers for the entire game.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: To some degree. In many scenes you're guaranteed to fail your first time through after having to make some wild-ass turn with only half a second's worth of warning.
  • Under the Truck: You need to perform this stunt frequently in Ignition, and it occurs repeatedly in the last scene of the original.
  • Watch the Paint Job: Too many knocks and you'll fail the level. Either because they cost you too much time or because you totalled the car. Or maybe just because the director hates you.
  • Wreaking Havok: At the time it was released, Stuntman was one of the first car games to make an attempt at realistic physics modeling. For example, the various internal parts of the car and their weight are accurately reflected in-game, such that the front end of the car tends to weigh more (because of the engine). This made the wrecks in the game particularly fun (and insane) to watch. The game actually has an "arena" feature where you can set up whatever stunts you like and go wild with the physics.

    Stuntman-specific tropes 
  • Car Meets House: One of the stunts in the second film was jumping a house, clipping the chimney.
  • Heroic Bloodshed: Blood Oath follows in the established tradition of John Woo films.
  • Nintendo Hard: Each level/movie had dozens of precise manoeuvres you had to pull off while adhering to a strict time limit; in some cases even missing one will fail you. And since there are no checkpoints, this means you have to start the whole level over. After finishing a level you get to see the completed "footage" of your stunts. Because of how demanding the game is, it makes for some amazing replays once you've finally completed a level.

    Stuntman: Ignition-specific tropes 
  • Car Skiing: One of the more difficult stunts you can pull.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Some of the directors are a bit crazy.
    Now when people see this last stunt, I want their heads to explode, straight off their heads, so NASA calls someone and goes, "Hey, are you guys launching heads?" Literally explode! Now make it happen or I'll deport your family!
  • Continuity Nod: The second film is A Whoopin' & a Hollerin' 2, the sequel to a film you do stunts for in the first game. Same with Never Kill Me Again from Ignition and Live Twice for Tomorrow from the original. Though subverted with the former, as the Basco Boys end up being turned into the Creek Boys for the sequel.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Played With, but ultimately averted. The lava pools in Aftershock won't cause you to fail unless you fall into them, but it's ultimately justified, as they're only props; however, in the second scene for Aftershock, one stunt involves setting your tires on fire with the Action Button after the character you're standing in for drives over an overheated, cracked part of the road that has lava flowing below it.