Iron Hand

U.S. Gold

Status: Full Game, Findability: 5/5

A limited Uridium clone which eventually made it onto the Amstrad platform, along with the Atari ST and Amiga versions. This game was brought to my attention by Martin Holland, who worked on the Amstrad, ST and Amiga versions, but not the C64 version. Credits for the C64 version were unknown until Paul Clansey got in touch with GTW64 in 2012 and confirmed he was behind the game.

Paul had the following to say about the game:

“I coded the C64 version but can’t remember who did the design, graphics or music (they were hectic times and I worked with many people around that then).

I wasn’t aware that it ever got released, and hoped it wasn’t, because… from what I recollect of what the Canvas directors Ian and Gary told me (now both sadly deceased), they’d rushed the masters (for all platforms) by car to the duplicators, on the promise of a payment from a once well-known Manchester-based software label.

The payment was vital to keep Canvas going and pay employee wages. The directors returned with a 12 month driving ban for one (130+ mph on the M6) and a cheque that the software label subsequently cancelled. End of Canvas and loss of wages for employees. Incidental trivia on the game- the high score table defaults to characters from Zappa songs.”

The company was actually from Birmingham, and it was U.S. Gold, after Paul later found a confirmation letter from U.S. Gold asking him to add a high score in 1989, some 6 months after Canvas had gone under.

The game contains music by Peter Clarke, who also composed the music to Bubble Bobble and Head Over Heals. The game itself isn’t too hot, and is a poor man’s Uridium clone at this stage.

It seems that US Gold canned the game after not being happy with it. It may have not quite been finished due to rushing off with the masters, so this may well be it for the game.

However, according to Keltic Danor, this game was in fact released on a budget label called Tornado. Was this true, and does anyone have a scan?   Was Tornado a US Gold based budget label that eventually released it?   The Amiga version was actually released it seems:

But there is currently no evidence of an original out there – so was the Amiga version leaked too?

In June 2020, contributor Nicola Ferrarese got in touch after purchasing what was the unused Iron Hand artwork created by artist Alan Craddock. Alan has very kindly allowed us to upload the artwork scan he made to this page, so here is a glimpse of how the cover would have looked! Oddly, it seems to heavily focus on a helicopter as the main image – so it doesn’t really cover the game brief.  Was Iron Hand perhaps to have been more complex with different vehicles, but was simplified due to time?

Contributions: Keltic Danor, Martin Holland, Paul Clansey, Nicola Ferrarese, Alan Craddock

Supporting content

Available downloads

Update history

  • 01/07/20 – Added unused cover art work by Alan Craddock
  • 08/09/16 – Confirmation of US Gold as publisher
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