Super Off Road
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|Super Off Road|
|Developer(s)||Rare (NES version)|
|Platform(s)||Arcade, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, Game Boy, Game Gear, Lynx, Master System, Genesis, NES, SNES, ZX Spectrum|
Ivan "Ironman" Stewart's Super Off Road is an arcade video game released in 1989 by Leland Corporation. The game was endorsed by professional off road racer Ivan Stewart. Virgin Games produced several home versions in 1990. In 1991, a home console version for the Nintendo Entertainment System was later released by Leland's Tradewest subsidiary, followed by versions for most major home formats including the Master System, Genesis, Super NES, Amiga, and MS-DOS. Some of the ports removed Ivan Stewart's name from the title due to licensing issues and are known simply as Super Off Road.
In the game, up to three players (four in the NES version through use of either the NES Satellite or NES Four Score) compete against each other or the computer in racing around several top-view indoor off-road truck tracks of increasing difficulty. There are eight different tracks (twelve in the SMS version and sixteen in the SNES version) and 99 races altogether. All races are raced more than once. First place results earn the player points to continue in the championship and money with which to upgrade their truck or buy more nitro. The goal is to reach the end of the season with the most money earned. Continues are available but whereas players can get extra money in the arcade version, in the home versions, the player's money is reset to zero. This is one of the first games where the player could upgrade his or her vehicle by earning points or money (although in Atari Games' Sprint series, one could upgrade their racer using wrenches), a system that is used in many racing games today. The Spectrum version of the game was voted number 47 in the Your Sinclair Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time. The game was ranked the 35th best game of all time by Amiga Power. MegaTech gave the game a score of 83%
In the original arcade game, the red, blue, and yellow CPU trucks were 'driven' by "Madman" Sam Powell, "Hurricane" Earl Stratton, and "Jammin'" John Morgan, respectively. The names were taken from the development staff: Sam composed the music, and Earl and John were two of the software programmers. The Track Pack added "Steamin'" Steve High and "Hot Rod" John Rowe, representing graphics and project direction, respectively. By using these names, this meant that further licensing deals were not required.
The Super NES version was notable for prominently featuring the Toyota brand; the name and logo were displayed on various tracks, and pre-race music was inspired by the "I love what you do for me Toyota" jingle that was used by the company's marketing campaign at the time of the game's release. This version also lacked any licensing or reference to Ivan Stewart, replacing him instead with the late Mickey Thompson in the gray truck (primarily without approval from Danny Thompson). The NES version does have the Toyota label on its cartridge art, but otherwise the ad is not present.
The game was not originally developed or published by Williams, Midway, or Atari Games, but by the Leland Corporation (which was acquired by WMS Industries, the holding company of said developers, in 1994). Both the arcade version of the game and its Track Pack upgrade can be found in Midway Arcade Treasures 3 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. However, it does not have the "Ironman" Ivan Stewart license, and as such is known simply as Super Off Road, with the white, computer-controlled car being "driven" by "'Lightning' Kevin Lydy" (in the original arcade cabinet, the white car is "driven" by Ivan Stewart), a real-life graphic designer on the original arcade game, continuing the previous tradition regarding the CPU drivers being named for its programmers.
The Track Pack, released in 1989, was an add-on board for arcade units that contains eight brand new tracks: Shortcut, Cutoff Pass, Pig Bog, Rio Trio, Leapin' Lizards, Redoubt About, Boulder Hill, and Volcano Valley. It also gave the brand new ability for players to choose between either the regular truck or the dune buggy; both vehicles had different characteristics accordingly and added a new element to the game.
Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the Lynx version a 3.75 out of 10, commenting that though Super Off Road was an excellent arcade game, the choppy animation and scrolling in the Lynx version make it almost unplayable.
Super Off Road gained a number of sequels, the first was titled Super Off Road: The Baja. It was released for the SNES in 1993 and is based on the Baja 1000 race. The format was changed to a third-person camera instead of an overhead camera. In 1997, an arcade sequel, Off Road Challenge, was released, which again adopted the third-person 3D driving view, and was ported to the Nintendo 64 in 1998. The second sequel, Offroad Thunder, was released in arcades in 1999, but not ported to consoles until the release of Midway Arcade Treasures 3 in 2005.
- Super Off Road at the Killer List of Videogames
- "Ironman Super Off Road". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 5 Oct 2013.
- "Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time". Your Sinclair. September 1993.
- Amiga Power magazine issue 0, Future Publishing, May 1991
- Super Off-Road rating, MegaTech, EMAP, issue 12, page 96, December 1992
- Super Off Road. Sinclair User. May 1989. p. 83.
- "Review Crew: Super Off Road". Electronic Gaming Monthly (57). EGM Media, LLC. April 1994. p. 46.
- Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road at the Killer List of Videogames
- "Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road Track Pak" at the Killer List of Videogames
- Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road at MobyGames
- Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road at SpectrumComputing.co.uk
- The arcade version of Super Off Road can be played for free in the browser at the Internet Archive