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STOCKER

BALLY / SENTE 1984





Description:

At first glance, Stocker looks like a relatively harmless and simple-minded game. Though as you begin to play it, you soon realize how untrue this statement becomes. Stocker isn't a simple game, but a surprisingly deep game, in its own rights, due to the sheer difficulty of the game as well as the massive amount of shortcuts that you need to learn and discover in order to even come close to beat the game. 

As the game states in the title, the goal of the game is to "Drive all the way from coast to coast." You start off at Florida and must cruise your way from state to state, all the while, avoiding other cars on the road as well as those pesky cops. Make contact with a cop and receive a ticket. Tickets are bad score-wise since they can deduct bonus points received in the end. The worst part of it though is that you lose a bunch of time since you halt to a complete stop when you get it.

Time is measured by the gas gauge. The gauge doesn't really measure gas but rather time since you lose the same amount of gas at slow speeds as at high. Anyway, the gauge constantly drops as you drive. The only way to fill the gauge up again is to drive through gas stations along the side of the road. Though the thing is, the gauge only fills up partially and the amount of gas stations available along the trip is very little. In fact, I think only four.

One thing to realize about this game is that you cannot beat it by staying on the road. The time given and added is just not enough. To minimize time lost, you need to take shortcuts. LOTS of shortcuts. There are shortcuts everywhere. Some are obvious some are not. Some shortcuts can save you a bit of time while others can save you huge amounts of time. Finding all the shortcuts is the real joy and satisfaction of the game. Plus, shortcuts are the only way that you'll ever be able to complete this game.

Graphically, the game looks decent enough. Nothing too spectacular, but hey, what do you expect from a game made almost twenty years ago. As long as I can distinguish my car from other cars, as well as the road from everything else, I'm happy. Okay, I must admit, the trees do look like crap. Well, I think they're trees?

Another thing to note is that the road does not scroll with the car as found in most top-down driving games. Instead, you go from one road section to the next. The game is much better like this as you will soon find out when you play it. Hint. Hint :)

Stocker is a fairly short game. Each state is made up of a couple of road sections each. It'll probably take less than five minutes to get from coast to coast, well if you can make it that is :) It's short but a truly satisfying experience especially when you beat it. Just one of the many gems that can be found in MAME.

Gameplay: 4/5
Difficulty: 4/5
Artwork: 2/5


STOCKER
MINI FAQ

How many levels: The game is basically one long road trip. You only travel pass through the southern states of the US, seven in total.
  • Florida
  • Mississippi
  • Louisiana
  • Texas
  • New Mexico
  • Arizona
  • California
What are the controls: D-Pad : Steer the car left or right.
Button 1 : Acceleration.

Tips:

  • Don't always stay on the road. Find shortcuts. Without shortcuts, you likely have no chance in beating the game.
  • Whenever you stop to a halt due to a cop or by hitting an object on the road, it can take quite a while to accelerate back to full speed, resulting in a bit of time lost. To quicken the accelerating process, try bumping into other vehicles. Bumping into other cars can make your car go full speed in a much shorter time. See, they do serve a process on the road :) Just don't bump yourself into a cop car, they won't help you at all.
  • Many shortcuts can be found within a road section. However the best shortcuts are found when going from one road section to the next.
  • Your car can go through anything in the scenery. It can go through grass, trees, water, even buildings. Of course you will slow down quite a bit depending on what you hit or drive over.
  • Note that the gas gauge stops whenever you get busted by a cop. It resumes again as soon as your car gets moving again.
  • Sometimes the road may split into two. One being the main road and the other with a question mark on it. Try driving both directions to determine the better option.
Scoring: From the start of the game, your score increases as long as your car is moving. Your score increases faster as your car moves faster as well.

A bonus of 5000 pts is rewarded after passing through each new state.

In the end, you can receive a bonus for safe driving. 6000 pts is rewarded for having zero speeding tickets. Each ticket you receive reduces this bonus by 2000 pts each. So if you get three or more tickets, you get no bonus.