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Iron Soldier isn’t the greatest game in the world – put amongst the software libraries of the N64, Saturn or Playstation it’s positively mediocre. ~Simon Reed
A Jaguar exclusive, Iron Soldier also happens to be one of the most common titles on the system.
Fortunately it’s no disaster like Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (another common Jag title), but instead a fairly solid game that’s worth picking up if you’ve had a Jaguar inflicted upon you.
You take control a robot/mech, helping what sounds like a resistance group. There’s no real explanation of the over-riding plot, but it would be foolish to suggest that makes the building destroying action any less satisfying.
At the start you have four missions to choose from (with 16 overall), which can be tackled in any order you wish.
Or at least, it seems that way. Some stages can be a real struggle if you aren’t equipped with weapons gathered from certain other levels.
Before you enter a mission you can tool up your mech with any weapons you may have, and you’re given a brief rundown of your objectives.
This quick briefing has to be studied carefully – as not knowing exactly what you’re doing in a stage is suicide.
As soon as you enter a level you’ll probably be struck at how blocky the game is. If you needed any more evidence that the Jaguar wasn’t really 64-bit then here it is.
The next thing you’ll realize is that the controls aren’t the easiest to grasp.
The simple task of movement requires you to press A and either up or down to start going forward or backwards respectively.
Once you’re moving (you can adjust the speed accordingly) you simply have to steer and shoot. Changing your weapons is tasked to the option button and – this took me a little while to realize – the numbered keys at the bottom of the pad.
Shooting is something you’ll be doing a lot as well, with endless streams of tanks and helicopters firing at you non-stop.
This is why knowing your objective is an absolute necessity, with missions being reasonably varied. Even if most basically just involve destroying stuff.
The first stage, for example, sees you going around a city to destroy a warehouse. The second has you sinking docked boats, and another involves reducing a bridge to rubble with the use of grenades.
There’s no hugely complex action here, and the game is probably all the better for it.
Yes, the graphics may be ridiculously blocky, but the game still has some impressive explosions, and the way buildings dissolve into showers of cubes is actually rather charming, in a retro kind of way.
Iron Soldier isn’t the greatest game in the world – put amongst the software libraries of the N64, Saturn or Playstation it’s positively mediocre – but for the Jag it offers up some solid robo-destruction action.