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.