In Stainless Steel you are Ricky Steel – a teenage superhero with a flying car called ‘Nightwind‘ – on a mission to defeat the android troops built and controlled by the evil Dr. Vardos. What that basically means is that you have to drive/fly and shoot your way through a variety of overhead scrolling levels, collecting fuel to constantly top-up your ever-diminishing life bar and avoiding bullets like the plague.
The game was created by famous Irish programmer David Perry (the same David Perry who later went on to form Shiny Entertainment), and published by Mikro-Gen in 1986.
Stainless Steel has decent graphics, fast, smooth scrolling and slick presentation, although the gameplay is fairly standard stuff. The game feels a bit like a vertical Defender-type game, with the car being able to turn around and fly in both directions. It can also drop bombs on targets below. A scanner at the bottom of the screen shows how many hostiles are left to be destroyed. Once you’ve killed everything a message indicates that you’ve completed the level and you move on to the next stage. There are four different stages in total.
What is strange about Stainless Steel is that the levels are vertically-scrolling, yet the scanner is horizontal. Plus: the bottom fifth of the screen is unused, which leaves a blank area of real estate. Also: when you lose a life a message comes up with a howling spelling mistake in it. I find it unbelievable that no one caught this before the game was published – especially as it’s shown on-screen every flipping time you lose a life!