NEC/Hudson unveiled a new hardware board, codenamed IronMan, in mid 1992 that would replace the aging PC-Engine. During the announcement they showed some tech demos and between them there was a polygonal-based flying shooter game that later was known as Super Star Soldier 3D. However NEC didn’t release the new system that year because the PC-Engine was still quite popular in Japan.
Only with the approaching of new rivals like 3DO, Saturn and Playstation NEC decided to release a successor to its popular platform using as the base the old board showed two years before ( it’s still unknown the difference between the original Iron Man and the final PC-FX ), but Super Star Soldier 3D was never finished. The project is of particular interest because PC-FX never had any polygonal-based game.
Scans from Consoles Plus issue 11 and 19, article by Celine
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Very interesting. I never knew there were two different PC-FX boards in the works. I always thought Iron Man was the code name for the mess known as PC-FX.
I would have probably bought a PC-FX when they were new had this game actually seen the light of day. (Instead of in the late 90s, long after it had faded away into console ignominy.)
I emailed you about this earlier, but game was later planned for the N64.Previewed in EDGE magazine etc.
This was covered in EDGE May’94:Iron Man Heads For Scrapyard.
They said the original chipset Tetsujin was running the Super Star Solider 3D demo, exact hardware specs of said board were hard to come by as final specs were never annouced, but it was thought to include 5 custom NEC Co-processors and the new board, now simply known as FX, was thought to use only 1.Instead NEC would be relying on unusal digital-video trickery and advanced compression, along with a ‘Digital Movement System’ which could refresh 24 Bit colour images at 30 FPS.
They claimed entire project was in danger of being scrapped due to superior performance of Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn, expected to appear at a similar time as the FX.
According to EDGE (Jan’94) Iron Man was annouced in Summer of’92, launch planed for Xmas of that year, but incomplete software saw them annouce a delay until Spring’93.Spring ’93 came, no launch and NEC then seemed confident of a Spring’94 release date for the hardware.
A developers preview of the prototype Iron Man hardware was held in Dec’92 with ‘select UK+European companies were invited to NEC’s HQ to assess the hardware.
Specs had it as a CD-Rom based console, 5X custom Graphics chipset developed by Hudsonsoft, supporting full-screen JPEG assisted 24bit colour FMV at 30 FPS.It also supported a RISC-based CPU running at just under 25 Mhz and had at least 2 megabytes of RAM as an immediate cache for the CD.
Hardware allowed for 7 or 8 hardware playfields, meaning multiple parallax images and complex 3D backgrounds.
Hudsonsoft showcased a PC Engine Emulator running on Iron Man, and had PC Engine R-type running in a single playfield on it.
Developer Edge spoke to said hardware, in terms of raw power was easily on par with Atari’s Jaguar and definitely better than the 3DO.
Star Solider 3D used a full-motion polygon backdrop, with detailed 3D sprites overlaid on top.