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Stunt Cycle - Atari - Atari 2600   Cartridge Scan icon Manual icon HTML Manual Box icon  

Stunt Cycle manual


1 or 2 players, paddle controller in port 1.

Paddle, turn counter-clockwise to apply more gas (accelerate).  Press the fire button to start the bike for each jump, otherwise the fire button has no effect (no brake or clutch).  The paddle provides three target speeds for the bike.  Full clockwise and the bike accelerates to the top end of first gear.  The center position and the bike will accelerate to the middle of 2nd gear.  The last third and the bike will accelerate to as far into 3rd gear as it has time to reach before it hits the ramp.  Therefore, controlling speed involves shifting between these three speed zones and timing the bike's current speed when it hits the ramp.  Hence the paddle does not provide true analog throttle control for the bike.  Also, while
the bike sounds like it's accelerating, it doesn't incrementally appear to be accelerating visually.  It appears to only have 3 speeds.  However, I believe the "tone" speed it's on will in fact adjust airtime when it actually hits the ramp.  So the combination of the actual speed (which seems limited to 3, one for each gear) and the level of acceleration/  There are about 7 different tones per gear.  Of those, there is only one tone available at gear one because the bike is forced to accelerate to the top end of gear one by default.  Plus, gear three never has time to get up to the very top end by the time the ramp hits.  So you wind up with roughly 9 or 10 possible internal speeds when you hit the ramp which corresponds to the 9 different distances of the track.  So you have to learn which position works for each wave.

I believe these simplifications were added because of ROM constraints, although it's possible the arcade and dedicated machines did it similarly.

COLOR/B&W switch

Works to go to B&W mode as all early games do.


Starts the game.  Paddle buttons won't start a game for you.


As in any good 2600 game, holding down select will slowly cycle through
game variations and force a color cycle with every other change in game number.


Left Difficulty adjust player 1 safe landing range (A narrow, B wide)
Right Difficulty adjust player 2 safe landing range (A narrow, B wide)

These are good for putting a handicap on the other player in 2-player modes.


  Loose Physics Strict Physics Hybrid Physics
1-Player 9 Jumps 1 4 7
2-Player Alternating 9 Jumps Each 2 5 8
3-Player Merged Score 9 Successful Jumps
or 10 Missed Jumps, whichever comes first
3 6 9


On the top part of the track, the bike is the least responsive to
acceleration (changes to the paddle position), as it needs time to rev
up.  This is the same for all variations.

On the second and last part of the track, however, you can thrust the bike
between slow and supercharged by wildly turning the paddle from one extreme
to the other.  When changing acceleration sharply, the bike will pop wheelies.

The speed also can change when the bike is in mid air.  For instance, it's
possible to hit the ramp at full speed, then slam the gas all the way to
slow.  This may be the intended technique to provide some last minute
control over the length of the jump in lieu of finer analog control over
speed.  This has the effect of making the bike coast in mid air in wheelie
pose and then come down hard.  The length of time the bike is in this mode
seems to depend on how fast it was going before you fling the paddle
back.  At full speed, it coasts for so long that on the first wave, it will
overshoot the safe zone.


The bike is much more sensitive to speed variations and will wipe out if
you wildly change speeds.  The "mid air" trick also no longer works.  In
this variation you slowly rotate the paddle to time the acceleration of the
bike so that it's at the right point at the right time.  I think this is
the closest to the arcade (It's been a while since I played a real Stunt
Cycle but I remember wiping out on the 2nd track and having to gradually
increase the throttle)


Strict physics for the track, but the "mid air" trick works.


Scoring indicated on the right indicates successful jumps, starts with 1
"gimme" point.  Score on the left indicates missed jumps.  1 point earned
for each jump.  You get a total of 9 jumps per game.  Each successful jump
adds another "car" or level of distance between the ramps.  If you miss a
jump, you have to redo that level.  Therefore at any point, your right hand
score always indicates the number of cars you are jumping over.
In attract mode, not only do the colors cycle, but the bike will pop wheelies.
Games 7-9 feature a hybrid physics model where the "mid air" trick works
but the bike is otherwise sensitive to wipeouts for the rest of the track.


The ramps themselves feature nice orange-red gradients, a little fancier
than most early titles in that regard in the increasingly bold color
changes on the playfield colors that are featured here.  The bike has a
normal, wheelie, and wipeout state.  The normal state is a light yellow,
and the wipeout state is red.

Technically speaking, the bike appears to be made from both players
although it is narrower than 16-bits, and like Moon Patrol, the bike's tire
pattern alternates to suggest motion.  The bike has a wheelie and wipeout
state, the wipeout state changes its color to hot pink.  Everything else is
playfield except for the safe landing area marker which is a missile.  The
reason I know it's a missile is because it changes to pink to match the
bike when you wipe out.

The cool thing about the bike is that I think it's single line res, isn't it?

It's possible that the score is player one and player two but you'd have to
disassemble it to find out.  Since the scoring never goes into double
digits, it may be, otherwise it's non-repeating playfield.

Also, the ramp area would definitely be an example of an early
non-repeating playfield


Only one TIA sound register is used in the game.  There are three types of
sounds, acceleration, wipeout, and a ding ding ding when you successfully
make a jump.  Each sound cancels out the other.

Manual archived by:

Glenn Saunders - Producer - Cyberpunks Entertainment
Personal homepage:
Cyberpunks Entertainment: