Ivan 'Iron Man' Stewart's Super Off-road Racer logo

VIRGIN £19.99 * Keyboard or Joystick

Experience the trials and tribulations of off-road racing and the delights of four wheel drive, but don't expect Range Rovers and Suzuki Vitaras racing and meandering around green and pleasant lands: instead you are transported to the dry, hard, heat-soaked desert terrain of South West and Central America.

Your objective? To match the talents of Ivan Stewart (apparently a wel-known sports personality in the States, which probably means he hosts the American equivalent of Sporting Triangles) whose macho ability allows him to withstand 250-mile marathon treks through uninhabited badlands, earning him the title of "The Ironman of Road Racing". The competition is stadium based, which makes it impossible to appreciate the scale of the Ironman's cross-country exploits: instead, four laps of the track are all that's required.

There are nine lap designs, each of which has its fair share of obstacles: large craters, sand dunes, ramps and water holes. Another seven lap designs are achieved by changing the direction to run anti-clockwise, which can be taxing on the keyboard controls for the less ambidextrous.

Enticing you to get around the track as quickly as possible are occasional Bonus Bags of US dollars and containers of Nitro Fuel which will, by a swift application of the fire button, boost you substantially ahead of the competition. Beware, however, as not only is Nitro Fuel definitely not unleaded or environmentally friendly, but it can also be a hindrance on the twisting, sand-dune-and-chicane-riddled circuits which will leave your all-wheel-drive 'Cherokee Chief' wrestling with the scenery.

The reward for collecting your Bonus Bags is a shopping spree in Ironman's Speed Shop, where you can obtain tyres, Nitro Fuel, extra acceleration and better shock absorbers, all contributing to maximum efficiency around the track.


There is never really any opportunity to make the most of the Amiga's graphical abilities because each race, being stadium bound, is tied to the same monotonous landscape. Although the animation as the trucks career over the sand and through the water-splashes is well detailed, the effects would be enhanced with superior sound. The plain diddly-dum soundtrack does not evoke feelings of exhilaration and speed.


Although the game is not high on an intellect level, through its simplicity it becomes addictive: the competitive element in ecah contestant being the key to its appeal. The game does tend to be over generous on its allocation of money, which means that picking up Bonus Bags is more beneficial than actually getting a better position in the race.


Ironman attracted the punter in the arcades and no dobt will be the same on disk, its limitations probably being due to the fact that Virgin have tried to stay faithful to the original. Certainly if they had added a few more personal touches it would add to the attraction, but on the whole you'll enjoy trying to be the Ironman - or indeed the Iron Lady! - of speed.

Ivan 'Iron Man' Stewart's Super Off-road Racer logo

Kennt irgendjemand den Automaten "Ivan Ironman Stewart's Super Off Road"? Nö? Ist auch bestimmt keine Bildungslücke. Und Virgins Amigaumsetzung muß man noch viel weniger gesehen haben...

Automat hin oder her, Super Off Road ist nicht anderes als ein Clone des Rennspielklassikers "Super Sprint" - mit dem Unterschied, daß hier (acht) Geländestrecken absolviert werden können. Bis zu vier Piloten dürfen sich zunächst mit drei Buchstaben, Geburtsdatum und Nationalität eintragen, dann geht's an den Start.

Die Rennen bekommt man in hoffnungslos überholter Dünnbrett-Grafik aus der Vogelperspektive zu sehen, hin und wieder liegen ein paar Extras (Nitro-Beschleuniger oder Geldsäcke) herum, die man durch Überfahren einsammelt. Nach vier Runden ist die Sache überstanden, man kassiert sein Preisgeld und darf sich in einem Shop mit besseren Reifen, Stoßdämpfern, Nitros, usw. eindecken, ehe es auf dem nächsten Kurs genauso trostlos weitergeht.

Dabei hätte alles so schön sein können: Mit einer ordentlichen Steuerung ist ein solches Game (zumindest wenn menschliche Kontrahenten zur Hand sind) ja immer ein Garant für heiße Konkurrenzkämpfe vor dem Monitor. Leider ist aber die Stickabfrage bei Super Off Road alles andere als gelungen - viel zu nervös und dann noch ungenau! So bleibt halt nur ein unterdurchschnittlich präsentiertes Rennspielchen wie tausend andere zuvor - dessen einzig gute Idee - nämlich, daß man seine drei Leben auch zu Geld für Extras machen kann - sang- und klanglos im Sand verläuft. (ml)

Ivan 'Iron Man' Stewart's Super Off-road Racer logo

Virgin, C64 £9.99 cassette, £14.99 disk; Amiga £24.99

Across the Big Pond, Ivan 'Iron Man' Stewart is something of a celebrity in the world off off-road racing. King 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 four-by-four 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 up hill and down ditch. Each nitros can be picked up on the way round and extra cash bags are there to be collected (handy for use in the shop).

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 car (and that includes Iron Man Ivan himself). Ivan may be pretty slow in the first few races but give him time and it'll be his rear bumper that 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?

Robin Hogg 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 rumble, 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.
The Amiga benefits with samples and a total of 18 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 multiload 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!
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 raving reporter Hogg to zip across Essex and smash up a couple of joysticks racing Mr Braybrook et al.