Description official descriptions
It's 2492 and you must pilot your Sub-Terranean Underground Network (S.T.U.N.) craft at speeds over 900 miles per hour through a series of courses to retain your title as S.T.U.N. Runner, completing each course before time runs out.
There are also enemies on each course, such as cycles, indestructible armored drones, and flying bird-like craft. Shoot or avoid them. If you hit them, you lose one of your shields (your craft has six total) and are slowed down temporarily. The more shields you have at the finish line, the more bonus points you get. Getting hit with no shields does not kill you, however. There are no lives in this game. The only way to lose is to fail to cross the finish line.
Along the way you'll encounter Boost Pads that temporarily speed you up to incredible speeds and make you indestructible. By running over enough green stars on each course, you can also earn Shockwaves, which destroy all enemies in your path.
Note that there is no accelerator in this game. Your craft always goes full speed, unless you hit something. Then you will slow down, but quickly accelerate back to full speed. Other than that, you cannot slow down and the only way to speed up is to run over a Boost Pad. Your only controls are steering left and right and aiming the gun on top of your craft up and down.
Credits (Arcade version)
|The Ancient One|
Average score: 59% (based on 22 ratings)
Average score: 3.0 out of 5 (based on 41 ratings with 1 reviews)
The Atari Lynx was known for two things: Incredibly faithful arcade ports, and incredibly bad original games. When I first heard that STUN Runner was on the list of games to be ported to the Lynx, I was in disbelief: How could they port a 3D game to the Lynx and still retain decent gameplay? The Lynx port of Hard Drivin' was true 3D thanks to the math coprocessor in a Lynx, but the framerate was slow and unsatisfactory. Porting STUN Runner would have to come up with something extraordinary: In a game with speeds in excess of 900 MPH, a framerate of 2 frames per second doesn't cut it.
Enter the Lynx port, which throws away true 3D and settles for an amazingly realistic sprite-based approach. The tunnels you fly through are made up of multiple differently-sized concentric ring sprites -- and thanks to the Lynx's "infinite size, infinite number" hardware sprite engine, they're drawn at a very respectable rate, at least 15-25 fps. The result seems impossible -- it would be like playing Wing Commander on an original Game Boy. But they did it, and the screenshots prove it. Amazing.
Technology demo aside, the core gameplay was also ported intact. The runner moves well, and although the control is analog, there is the right amount of "english" when tapping or holding the d-pad that you can control it just fine. This includes the normally touchy part of aiming above you to shoot things out of the sky: Tap down once and shoot for a 30-degree shot, tap slightly longer for a 50-degree, and hold it down slightly for more.
The sound is all 100% digitized straight from the arcade game, minus one oversight (see trivia).
As excellent as the sound is, they should have cleaned it up for the Lynx. Specifically, the original voice spoke to you while in tunnels, so there is a booming echo associated with any spoken voice. On a decent arcade speaker setup at a decent sampling rate, it sounds great -- but at a lower sampling rate through the Lynx's tinny speaker, it is not always intelligible.
One of the only unfortunate aspects of the Lynx's design was that playing digitized sound slowed the machine down slightly. Sometimes while playing STUN Runner, it is noticable and annoying enough to affect gameplay. This is especially frustrating when you realize that gameplay is slowing down slightly but the system clock is running at the same speed! So you are "penalized" sometimes for excessive sound. Silly, I know.
The Bottom Line
For a "how did they do that?" port of any arcade game, or for blinding speed in a racing game for the Lynx, you just simply can't beat STUN Runner.
Lynx · by Trixter (8946) · 2003
The Lynx port of S.T.U.N. Runner was so faithful to the arcade that all digitized sound that was present in the coin-op arcade game was included in the Lynx version. However, this results in one sample with the wrong instructions: The first time a player gets a Shockwave, a voice says, "Press start button to fire shockwave." The Lynx doesn't have a start button (you press the B button instead), so this is initially confusing.
- MobyGames ID: 7561
- Wikipedia (en)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Lee Seitz.
Game added October 27th, 2002. Last modified September 17th, 2023.