Ivan 'Iron Man' Stewart's Super Off-Road Racer

Publisher: Virgin Games
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #66

Ivan 'Iron Man' Stewart's Super Off-Road Racer

Across the Big Pond, Ivan 'Iron Man' Stewart is something of a celebrity in the world of off-road racing. Kick of the four wheel drive pick-up truck, Ivan has won more trophies and awards than you can shake a 4x4 at. His exploits saw Leland write a coin-op which proved one of the most successful of 1988 with its three-player mode the rough and tumble of pick-up truck racing/rallying and classic Super Sprint-style action. Now Graftgold have taken on the task of converting the Iron Man coin-op.

It's the start of the racing season and the 4x4 trucks are ready and raring to go, Iron Man is there and so are three other contestants revving up on the start line. Before the race, each truck driver was given £100,000 to customise vital parts of their vehicle. The acceleration, top speed, shocks (for a smoother ride) and tyres (for better grip when turning) can all be upgraded to a maximum Five rating. Extra nitros (to add to the 25 initially installed in the car) can be bought for a temporary but terrific boost in acceleration around the course.

With the flag going down, the trucks nitro away from the start line, bumping and bashing their way past each other uphill and down ditch. Extra nitros can be picked up on the way round and extra cash bags are there to be collected (handy for use in the shop).

Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road

Coming first is recommended but the only requirement for staying in the championship is that you complete the fifth lap ahead of any other computer-controlled cars (and that includes Iron Man himself). Ivan may be pretty slow in the first few races but give him time and it'll be *his* rear bumper than you'll be seeing unless you upgrade wisely. Fail to beat him and you're out but using one of the three shared continue-plays gives you another chance against him (and your friends).

Get through the course and it's back to the shop to upgrade even more, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place drivers getting a reward of a kiss from Miss Iron Bikini, a trophy and quite a bit of cash. The next course out of eight beckons but to get to the eighth you have to go through the rest in order (and then the mirror image of them), making 37 levels in all. Can *you* beat Iron Man?


Although it didn't push the Super Sprint idea too much, Iron Man has always been great fun in the arcade because of its rough and tumble, chaotic fun element, making for a surprisingly successful coin-op and unsurprisingly playable computer game conversion. It wouldn't have pushed Graftgold's abilities too much to convert but they've worked wonders squeezing it all into one load on the C64 and providing bags of colour and detail in the cars.

Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road

The Amiga benefits with samples and a total of eighteen tunes for tracks, countries, and the trophy presentation (dig that banjo and honk that horn!). The 16-bit graphic quality is really taken advantage of with some excellent attention to detail in the cars. The screen is packed and what you have is a slick-looking game (right down to the start-up where you input your date of birth and select your country).

The C64 version is spot-on with no multi-load to hinder the pace and the full set of effects straight from the arcade machine like the clouds of dust when you nitro off a bump, the handy short-cuts, and three-player mode. Even the country selection is in there and amazingly, everything's crammed into one load. Fun and playability together - all the ingredients to make Iron Man one very tasty cake indeed.

You really get into the swing of things seeing the trucks rough riding it all over the place, it's a great feeling to nitro past the opposition to take the winning flag and bumping other vehicles around is a game in itself. Through the simplicity of the control method - rotate left/right and accelerate - Iron Man is instantly addictive and proves one great rough ride all the way!

Roving Hogg

Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road

Have all the other reviewers gone on holiday? Is Robin the only one who can drive a 4x4? Nope! What happened was Graftgold had completely finished Iron Man but weren't sending out review copies for a week or so. Call in roving reporter Hogg to zip across to Essex and smash up a couple of joysticks racing Mr. Braybrook et al.


Presentation 88%
Three-player mode. Great loading screen, three continue-plays, Demo mode. Different countries to select from. No multi-load at all!

Graphics 84%
Very good animation on the vehicles and good use of colour but tracks are a little lacking in graphic variety (the layout changes and that's all but it still looks good).

Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road

Sound 82%
Three fast-paced tunes for the races together with trophy tunes and a title tune. Not outstanding but fun nonetheless.

Hookability 87%
As addictive as Super Sprint games come, one to three players can get instantly hooked...

Lastability 79%
...and stay hooked with a major challenge to get through all eight courses in both directions. Could get somewhat repetitive in one-player mode with limited graphic variety and no-one else to play again.

Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road

Overall 85%
A highly playable Super Sprint variant, proving as much fun as the coin-op.


Presentation 90%
Three-player mode. Attractive start-up screens, demo, three continue-plays, upgrade shop and trophy screens. Select your date-of-birth before the start (!) and select a country option (complete with anthems). Multiload for each track but it's not excessive.

Graphics 88%
Great attention to detail in the relatively small trucks and their movement with plenty of frames of animation, great dirt shading and excellent detail in the extra effects (clouds of smoke, leaping the hills, etc.)

Sound 89%
A jolly variety of suitably fast-paced tunes (different ones for each course) together with good samples. Separate country anthems, title and trophy screen tunes.

Hookability 86%
Infectious gameplay proving even more addictive with more players. Trying to beat your friends becomes even more fun than trying to beat computer-controlled Iron Man.

Lastability 80%
The order of playing through each course in turn both in one direction and then the other makes it a strong, if somewhat repetitive, challenge. Repetition avoided by more players to give it the fun element.

Overall 87%
A highly playable Super Sprint variant, proving great fun with the multi-players option, high quality graphics and excellent attention to detail.