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Iron Soldier II
Atari Jaguar CD
by Robert Jung
Oboy, a new Jag game! And it's on CD, too!
- IRON SOLDIER 2
- 1 Player
- Telegames, for the Atari Jaguar $59.99
- After the evil Iron Fist Corporation was overthrown, the
free people of Earth thought their troubles were over.
Little did they know that they had not slayed the dragon,
but unleased a hydra; for with the Iron Fist destroyed,
the rival Penta Corporation has decided to seize their
former enemy's holdings. The only hope the rebels have is
to use their Iron Soldier war robot to drive off this
new, more dangerous foe...
- Welcome back to the world of IRON SOLDIER 2, a sequel to
the Jaguar's cartridge-based IRON SOLDIER game. Once
again, the player must pilot the 42- foot-tall Iron
Soldier mech through four groups of five missions each.
Whether it's guarding supply convoys, destroying military
targets, or defending rebel installations, the player
battles Penta's leagues of tanks, helicopters, bombers,
gun batteries, and robots. Before each mission, the Iron
Soldier can be equipped with a variety of weapons, and
repairs and ammunition can be found during the fight. If
the Iron Soldier takes too many hits, the game ends,
though there is an option to continue. Three difficulty
levels, control options, and the ability to save games to
a Jaguar Memory Track cartridge rounds out this game's
list of features.
- What makes for a good video-game sequel? While there is
no universal standard, most players will agree that a
sequel should keep the fun and playability of the
original, while adding new, never-before seen twists and
ideas. In this, IRON SOLDIER 2 is only partially
successful; it wonderfully preserves the magic of the
first IRON SOLDIER game, but it doesn't add anything
truly innovative to the formula. Sure, there are new
weapons and new enemies, but no new ideas.
- That doesn't mean that IRON SOLDIER 2 is bad, of course
-- it's simply more evolutionary than revolutionary. IRON
SOLDIER addicts will feel right at home; the blend of
cunning strategy and military action haven't been soured
in the least. The realistic lumbering-yet-versatile feel
of steering a giant robot is happily intact, which adds
to the game's depth. Impulsive, berserker strategies are
simply impossible. With variable mission objectives and
hordes of smaller, faster enemies everywhere, smart
players realize that victory lies in well-crafted plans
and a dose of restrained patience.
- IRON SOLDIER veterans won't walk over this game, however.
The overall difficulty is noticably higher, and even the
Easy difficulty setting will make experienced players
sweat a little. The controls and displays are as user-
friendly as ever, allowing for easy access to weapons and
readouts. The closest criticism one can give is that the
game might be a little short; given the extra storage
space of the CD-ROM format, one or two more mission sets
would have been trivial to add. Then again, given the
game's high difficulty, perhaps the developers were
showing merciful restraint...
- The graphics and sound of IRON SOLDIER 2 are a modest
step forward from the original's. Most of the polygons
are texture-mapped, with pleasing and subtle textures
that compliment the buildings and vehicles in the game.
New game objects have been added to increase diversity,
while existing objects have been subtly tweaked to add
extra details. The screen rate is still fairly smooth,
while pre-mission screens have been reworked with extra
aesthetic frills. Full-motion video is not used very
often, curiously enough, but its absence doesn't hurt the
game in the least.
- As expected, the biggest improvement in IRON SOLDIER 2's
audio is in the music. Soft-techno audio CD tracks now
accompany each mission, adding to the game without being
overly distracting. Sound effects haven't changed as
much; aside from some new sounds for the title's added
features, this title features the same repetoire of
explosions and weapons fire as in the original. They're
still appropriate for the game, though a few more warning
klaxons and sounds would have been welcome.
- Even without any major earth-shaking innovations from the
original title, IRON SOLDIER 2 is a no-brainer -- get it!
Players new to the series will find this a challenging
and complex action-strategy game, and fans of the
original will savor more of the original's addictive
appeal. With lovely graphics and agreeable sounds, this
is a title that will be spinning in your Jaguar CD for
weeks and months.
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