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Domark Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Rich Pelley
Chris Bourne

How can I best describe Stun Runner? Imagine someone has taken a number of empty Smartie tubes and wedge one end inside the other to form on big tube. This person has also then bent the tube so that it twists and turns in the way only Scalextric tracks know how. Now imagine that for, er, unspecified reasons, you have been shrunk down to the size of an ant and (presumably for the same unspecified reason) the orange Smarties has turned into a kind of motorised bobsleigh.

Got all that? Now as far as the actual game is concerned, envisage yourself clambering aboard this fictitious orange Smartie-cum-motorised-bobsleigh and racing around the empty Smartie tubes. That then is your game. (In other words, you could have just described Stun Runner as "like a bobsleigh run in an enclosed tube," Ed.) Simplicity at its best and, I'm afraid, a coin-op conversion at its worst.

Speed and exhilaration were the names of the game for the coin-op. Slow and Totally Unconvincing being more suited to all the computer conversions. You move left and right to follow the outside of the track to gain speed, you use up and down to aim your laser to shoot the enemies, you collect smart bombs, you run over turbo pads, you leave the tunnel and enter open road and you finish one course and get onto another. And you can't help noticing that the last course is precious little different from the last, give or take a colour change. And you can't help thinking that instead of zooming down a tunnel, it looks far more like lots of concentric circles jerking towards you. And you can't help wanting to say, trying to let it down a gently as possible, that it's just not quite the game for you.


Screenshot Text

If you look closely, the big sprite at the bottom of the screen looks like an angry, big-armed robot. Spook!

I was going to crack a gag about racing along a spooky giant football scarf, but nobody here knows which team's colours are green and black, and Stuart's gone to lunch.