Review: Ivan ‘IronMan’ Stewart’s Super Off-Road (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 19)

Equipment Used/Recommended

  • MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator.
  • Any of Automation 423, Fuzion 21, Medway Boys 100, SuperGAU 418/740
  • Speedlink USB Joystick

My Review

So in ST Format issue 18 we had Badlands, a top-down-side-on-ish single-screen tiny-cars racer which I reviewed and found to be a limited and flawed game that could have been decent with just a few tweaks. It you’ve seen Skid Marks (stop laughing) you’ll know the kind of game I’m talking about but imagine that with much tinier cars and all on one screen with no scrolling.

The ST Format review asks who the buggering hell he is, now Americans will likely know, but us British tea-drinking types have no bloody idea. However, I’m an unusual Brit. I know a bit more than average about the vast and awesome range of racing found in the US – from dirt midgets to modifieds and awesome stuff like what we have here, stadium trucks. America has some bloody brilliant racing, and thanks to iRacing I have managed to learn a bit more about it.

Ironman is a little more conservative than Badlands in that it doesn’t have tunnels, and the setting is a little more conventional being a stadium truck race track – what it means is that the colours don’t cause any problems with visibility and the course is always super-clear and readable.

Another point in its favour is that while still smooth the car’s movement is a little slower. That may sound like a bad thing, but it isn’t – too fast on a game like this quickly becomes unplayable, and indeed that’s why when upgrading my vehicle I favour handling improvements over speed boosts. The cars handle pretty well though, the tank controls doing what you want them to do without too much fuss.

The between-races graphics are ok, not quite as good as say Supercars 2, but perfectly serviceable. More importantly the upgrade interface is eminently sensible with a cash system as you’d expect, and easy readable steps showing you how far you are along the upgrade path. Basically everything just makes sense.

Sound is your standard chip tune warbling, nothing to impress anyone too much, but it gets the job done. Indeed, on a technical level that largely sums it up, doing enough to get the job done without setting the world on fire, and that’s absolutely fine.

Verdict

So Super Off-Road is a decent little racer, it won’t blow you away but you will have a good time with it. It’s not anything especially new or taxing, but that’s ok, it’s good enough that you’ll have some fun races, and if you get a second player involved you’ll almost certainly have an enjoyable time. It’s not going to get gold because it isn’t doing anything outstanding but it’s still one I can heartily recommend playing.

Resources

Manual: https://www.thegameisafootarcade.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Super-Off-Road-Game-Manual.pdf

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