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Iron Soldier - The Atari Times

Iron Soldier

This game is truly unstoppable!
by Gregory D. George

October 9, 2001
One of the Jaguar's true crowning achievements, Iron Soldier continues to be one of the best games around. Similar console games such as Metal Head for the 32X and Crazy Ivan for the Playstation have been released for other systems, but only Iron Soldier was enduring enough to spawn two sequels. Iron Soldier II was released to critical acclaim on the Jaguar CD and Iron Soldier 3 was released on both the Nuon system and Playstation game console. Today's review, however, is for the original Iron Soldier. The one that started it all.

The graphics of Iron Soldier are much more colorful than games such as Cybermorph. The frame rate and animation is very smooth making it a joy to watch. Turning is fluid and fast, and it's fun to watch all of the polygons "bob" up and down as you walk. The explosions are spectacular and lifelike, but the smoke and fire can get pixilated if you're too close. Also, there is a tiny bit of slowdown when you destroy a building, but it's hardly even noticeable.

One major problem of this original game is that about 90% of the buildings are just plain boxes with absolutely no texture mapping at all. Some of them do have borders (corners) and windows, but it's just not enough. Some of the polygons are shaded like in Cybermorph which gives the impression of more detail. In addition, the mapping on buildings and enemies don't often appear until you get close enough to them.

Warfare type sound effects are pretty much all the same, and they are decent enough in Iron Soldier. There are a few FX that seem to have been left out such as the helicopters trademark 'thump-thump-thump" of the rotors. Yes friends, these "stealth" helicopters don't make a sound except when they fire at you! (Or is this a result of just having the music turned on?) Some voice effects might have been nice to inform you of incoming 'copters or low energy, but I fear that might have caused too many Skylar flashbacks.

The music very nice and a change from most Jaguar games. The fact that there actually is some in-game music is cause for joy. There are 7 or so different tracks and I have often hummed them to myself during my day. They aren't as spectacular as T2K's, but they're good enough.

The control can be a bit tricky, but once you get used to it, it's actually pretty easy. Although sometimes you'll want to stop at a particular place, and you'll forget which button to press. So you end up overshooting your target spot. "Stop darn it!" It's important to be quick in the later missions because those helis will come from everywhere. Mastery of the controls is a must. Especially when you need to hide behind a building and take out a fixed gun emplacement. Weapon selection is made 10 times easier because of the keypad. (I wonder how the weapon select is on the PSX with no keypad? ;-) )

Iron Soldier's gameplay is very addictive. Each of the 16 missions has a different objective. Some, you must destroy something, (building, ship, bridge, enemy mech etc.) defending yourself from attack. Others, you may be required to protect something. (Building, convoy, etc...) Many new weapons are found inside of buildings. Which means you have to pound the buildings until you find it. Some weapons are given to you though, which makes it easier. Imagine having to pound 100 buildings until you find that weapon?

The AI is superb. I laugh while chasing the tanks who are trying NOT to get stomped! It's almost as if there's a REAL tank crew in there fearing for their lives. The helis are also a pain... They don't just come right at you like the Aliens of AvP, but keep moving around attempting to get behind you.

Iron Soldier is a very fun game. The graphics are good, but could have been better (ie MORE texture-mapping.) Sound is okay and the music is good. The most important part of any game isn't it's graphics or sounds... Rather the addictiveness & playability. And Iron Soldier definitely has those in spades. If you don't have a copy of this game, what are you waiting for?

Gameplay Notes

Yeah, baby! Time to get some!
Crushing buildings with your bare hands will cause a shower of cubes to rain down on you.
Face off! It's just you versus this enemy mech.
One of the coolest features of Iron Soldier is flying around as the missile!
Iron Soldier
System: Jaguar
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Action
Graphics Score: 85%
Sound & Music Score: 90%
Gameplay Score: 95%
Control Score: 85%

Final Score: 85%

Reader Comments for Iron Soldier

IS Rules! by Nathan on 2007-03-27 00:50:55
This is not just one of the best Jaguar games, it's one of the best games Atari ever made. It should have come out in the arcades! I bet more people would have bought Jaguars.
Iron Soldier dominates!!! by Guitarman on 2008-03-10 23:44:30
This is a nicely crafted game and the scrolling and animations are neat to watch.
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