Most driving games put you behind the wheel and make you race against other drivers or a ridiculously strict time clock. Stuntman's premise, on the other hand, is reasonably unique--you have to follow the instructions of a movie director and perform a scene full of stunts that will eventually make it into a feature film. The game includes six films, split into 21 unique scenes. Stunts typically involve leaping over ramps, smashing into objects, and driving through flame-filled explosions. All of this adds up to an interesting twist on the standard racing game formula.
Sometimes you need to react to dangers that alter the environment, like this falling monument.
Stuntman originally appeared on the PlayStation 2, and it's made the transition to the Game Boy Advance fairly well. The graphics certainly aren't on par with those of the PS2 version, but they're better than the graphics of many of the other racing games on the GBA. Each course is a 3D environment full of roads, buildings, vehicles, and obstacles that are made possible through the use of polygons and texture maps like what you'd find in early PlayStation games such as Rage Racer or Colin McRae Rally. The viewpoint is situated behind the vehicle at all times. There are only isolated instances where objects show through supposedly solid structures, but the amount of warping evident in building textures as you drive by is somewhat obvious. You honestly don't notice it if you're really trying to clear a run, though. In addition to all the visual icons that tell you where each stunt is located, you'll also hear spoken cues from the director. The rest of the audio is mainly the stuff you'd expect to hear when vehicles drive on dirt and pavement.
Stuntman is a breeze to control on the GBA. You can accelerate and brake with the A and B buttons, and you can swerve into a skid with the right trigger button. The left trigger button lets you detonate explosives or activate nitrous boosts in response to commands from the director. Scenes later in the game are more complex than those early on. In many cases, a stunt will set off a chain of explosions that you'll need to pass through at specific intervals--regardless of the time left on the clock or the other stunts you need to clear in the meantime. Repeated trial and error is the only way to figure out which obstacles to miss so you can reach each explosion at the proper moment. A fair amount of the game's challenge comes from constantly repeating each level in order to shave seconds off your time so you don't have to intentionally miss one stunt to reach another. Of course, most scenes have specific solutions, which may disappoint anyone hoping to improvise their own spinouts and shortcuts.