Atari Jaguar – Iron Soldier – Review

Finshed AvP and looking for a great new game to show off your Jaguar? Iron Soldier could be just what your looking for.

Iron Soldier puts you in charge of a forty-two foot high robot known as an IS or Iron Soldier. That alone is a tempting start. Your job is to defeat the Iron Fist Corporation who have conquered all the world’s governments with a military dictatorship. Your robot has been captured from the enemy and with it rests the hopes of the resistance movement.

The aim of the game is to complete sixteen missions. Each mission requires you to destroy a target or penetrate enemy positions  At the start of each one, you have to equip your IS with the various weapons you will need to complete the task. These range from assault rifles and grenades through to the ultimate weapon, a cruise missile.

Once the game begins, you can start blasting your way around. The main enemies are tanks and helicopters and these can be easily dispatched  with a quick shot of your guns. More advanced missions introduce super-tanks, planes and other nasties which are harder to deal with.

You can tread on tanks that get too close or punch buildings until they collapse, often revealing hidden ammo or new weapons which can be picked up. Later missions can be very tough unless these newer weapons have been found so it’s well worth doing some serious demolition to the cities as you wander about.

The various buildings have different properties. The fuel tanks have to be treated carefully as shooting one can create a chain explosion, damaging your IS. The Control Towers have to be destroyed quickly as they help to co-ordinate the enemy.

Unlike other weapons, the cruise missile has to be controlled all the way to the target. When fired, the screen changes to show the view from just behind the missile as it flies along. You have to guide it around buildings and other obstacles to the target. You can even fly around yourself if you want.

The graphics are impressive with a good sense of 3D. As you walk, you can look around  to see what’s going on. You can even look down to admire those iron legs stomping about on the enemy. The explosions are excellent with a mixture of huge flaming blasts and big chunks of debris flying about. On later levels it’s well worth just getting a big set of guns and shooting the place up to see the spectacular carnage.

The helicopters and tanks are particularly well done with texture mapped surfaces that look very realistic. Some of the buildings have excellent shading that shows off the Jaguar’s huge palette of colours to good effect.

The sound matches up to the graphics with a range of suitable moody tunes and good sound effects. In case you can’t wait to hear the tunes for later missions, the options screen lets you play them all.

Unlike many Jaguar games, the delay as each mission ‘loads’ in minimal. The game remembers which missions have been completed and any new weapons you have found. To round off the package, you get a joypad overlay. The manual has a replica of this for photocopying in case the original gets mislaid. Nice one, Atari!

Atari have a winner on their hands with Iron Soldier. It’s great fun to play and the missions often require some serious thinking rather than brute destructive power to complete them. The graphics and sound are well up to scratch too. This is the sort of game the Jaguar was designed for.

Product Name:    Iron Soldier
Publisher:            Atari.
Telephone:           01753 xxxxxx
RRP:                   £49.99

Pros:  Great graphics, great gameplay.
Cons: A few more missions wouldn’t go amis.
Score 8