Saturday 11 June 2016

Super Off Road - Nintendo SNES - 1991

Super Off Road is obviously based on the 1989 arcade game Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road.  I played the Amiga version from 1990 but didn't included the subsequent console versions in the entry which, apart from dropping Ivan, are not quite straight conversions.

First task is to pick the best version from the SNES, and Sega's Master System and Mega DriveUnsurprisingly the Master System release from 1993 is first to go. The console struggles against the 16-bits in terms of graphics, sound and gameplay.  The Mega Drive version was a latecomer to the party, arriving in 1994.  The 16-bit Sega and Nintendo are pretty much on a par as far as audio and handling go, but I prefer the larger sprites on the SNES.  The graphics seem too small on the Sega and leaves empty space either side of the track.
Master System (left) and Mega Drive.  The tracks on the Mega Drive do not fill the screen like they do on other versions.  The same track is shown at the top of the page on the SNES.

Whereas the computer versions of Ivan 'Ironman' Stewarts Super Off Road are derived from a game designed to gobble coins, Super Off Road is a little easier on the consoles:-

  • You are given $100,000 to spend on car upgrades before you have even started the first race.
  • Although the game plays a lot faster than the original, handling has been made much easier.  The graphics may show your car pitching all over the place but it continues in a straight line unless you make a turn.  Only other cars can knock it off course.
  • It is no longer necessary to finish ahead of the grey car to continue (which is just as well).  Finishing on the podium will suffice.
  • Prize money has increased by 50% for first place - you now get $150,000.
The upgrade screen appears before each race.

The only real downside to Super Off Road on the SNES is that you can only have one extra player - there is no option for three players even with a multi-tap adaptor.  The grey car is also tuned to go a bit too fast in my opinion.  Unless you get a jump on him in the first race he gets impossible to beat as he spends all his prize money on nitros.  Nonetheless it is still a great game.
A rare win against the grey car.  Note the amount of nitros he has left.

 Example gameplay.....

The podium ladies are modestly dressed on the SNES.