AGH Jaguar CD Review: IRON SOLDIER 2

by Telegames

IS2 Pic 1

When Iron Soldier was first released on Atari's 64-bit platform, gamers were wowed by the myriad of missions and the wide-open 3-D world. It was especially groundbreaking in a time when Playstation, Saturn and Nintendo 64 were still on the drawing boards. While the gameplay in its sequel is more evolutionary rather than revolutionary, Iron Soldier 2 is a no-brainer purchase for owners of Jaguar CD systems and should satisfy even those who are not fans of the genre.

IS2 Pic 2

As with the first Iron Soldier the game is broken into four groups of missions. This time, however, there are twenty missions rather than sixteen since each group contains five missions instead of the original's four. In addition, the same formula of weapons selection and control options are available. The game ends when your mech sustains too much damage, but thankfully powerups and repair objects can be found during each mission. And you'll need it too, because IS2 is markedly more difficult than its predecessor. In fact, even those who managed to conquer the original will initially find it to be rough even in easy mode.

The missions themselves are mostly seek and destroy operations, but occassionally there are escort missions where Iron Soldier must protect a convoy or a vehicle from enemies ranging from helicopters, tanks and enemy mechs. Those who are familiar with the original Iron Soldier will almost immediately be comfortable with the controls. The B button fires the currently selected weapon, A controls velocity and turning of the mech while C calls for a complete halt. It is possible (and necessary for success) to turn your mech's torso to shoot at targets to the left and right while still walking in the same direction.

IS2 Pic 4

The graphics are hardly up to the levels set by the standard-bearers such as Battlemorph or Zero 5, but they are nonetheless pleasing and get the job done. While the debris from explosions is still just a bunch of cubes you will find subtle texture maps on the buildings, helicopters and other vehicles. But more importantly, the frame rate remains as silky smooth as the original. The music has taken a big jump, thanks to the liberties made possible from CD storage space. The techno tunes are of the run-of-the-mill variety, only this time it's encoded in redbook audio format. Sound effects are still sparse, and a little more variety could have been a welcome addition given the extra storage made available by being on CD format.

All in all, Iron Soldier 2 is solid and fun, and the missions are as challenging and complex as ever. While it doesn't break any new ground, perhaps that's a good thing given the substandard quality found in a great majority of offerings on the Jaguar CD (can you say Blue Lightning? I thought you could).

Title Iron Soldier II
Publisher Telegames
System Atari Jaguar CD
Graphics 8
Sound 9
Gameplay 9
Overall 9
Reviewer Keita Iida

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