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-
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.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
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.