Everyone loves an established video game franchise. After all, some of gaming’s best loved characters have been going on adventure after adventure for years, prompting players to line up to reserve the next installment of Super Mario, Link, Samus Aran, or Sonic the Hedgehog. Over the years, however, some games just haven’t struck gold; they’ve been overshadowed by more popular fare that shares the store shelf or are even passed over due to something as petty as unimpressive box art or an unusual premise. They deserve to be remembered and revived, but instead they are The Forgotten.
Stunt Race FX
Developed by Nintendo
Released for the Super NES (1995)
After launching the SuperFX chip in the Super NES hit Star Fox, Nintendo switched gears from space flights to racing fights in 1995’s Stunt Race FX. In a sign of things to come all racetracks, vehicles, and items on the track are crafted out of polygons; there’s not a single sprite to be found. Players can take one of four distinctive vehicles – a truck, a coupe, an F-1 racer, and a motorbike – out on the race course to speed down the track past checkpoints and across the finish line. Other modes in the game include a stunt mode where players are challenged to collect stars through performing jumps off of ramps, a two-player mode for friends to race head-to-head, and a free trax mode for exploring levels at one’s own pace. Unfortunately the game was hampered by unresponsive controls, an overly challenging CPU competitor, and despite the Super NES’s abilities being pushed to the limit, unimpressive graphics in the age of Donkey Kong Country (an unfair yet unforgivable sin in the eyes of many gamers of the day).
Now that technology has caught up to everything Stunt Race FX aspired to be, the franchise could easily be revived with impressive results. F-Zero is Nintendo’s “serious” racer, the Mario Kart series brings us mascot-based cartoonistic racing, and Stunt Race FX could be the “third pillar” of Nintendo’s racing empire in which serious fast-paced racing meets colorful environments and vehicles with distinct personalities. Bring the series to the Nintendo GameCube or Revolution, craft it with the cel-shaded technique that seems to be so popular in this generation, and add in heaps of Nintendo’s famous gameplay for a sure-fire success. And while you’re at it, Nintendo, recreate a classic track or two from the original game. The fans will appreciate it.