#61 Lode Runner

Posted: 22nd July 2017 by Jeroen in Games
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619th played so far

Genre: Platform
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1983
Developer: Doug Smith
Publisher: Broderbund/Ariolasoft

I’m not going to claim any great affinity with Lode Runner, but I remember playing a version of this at some point and becoming obsessed for a bit with its large number of levels and built-in level designer. It, of course, came with a large number of home built levels, similar to just about any version fo Stunts you’ll find.

I’m not sure if that is a good endorsement of the game itself, but it made such a difference in making a game interesting.

Our Thoughts

I played one of the original versions of Lode Runner to cover this blog. I think it has a definite influence on my opinion now, as it looks more primitive than I remember and harder to get into. I certainly missed some control cues, including how to deal with digging in the floor.

The game itself is reasonably simple. Collect all the treasures and make your escape while avoiding the enemies that are moving around the (single screen) level. The controls for it are okay, but not great. There’s no jumping and few options to avoid enemies other than running away. Most interesting was how you could dig through the level, trapping enemies in a single gap hole, or sticking them in larger gaps. They can trap you as well, though, which would be fatal. They are actually annoying to control, but it’s a decent idea.

But sure, the size of the game is what’s impressive. Not because there is huge variation, but because of the giant number of levels included by default and the many more you can make. As one of the first games to have a level editor, this makes a statement on its own.

Final Thoughts

Lode Runner is a fine platformer for its time – predating the shift that really made them interesting for me, but on the level of how Donkey Kong is interesting.  And where the latter has fewer levels, they are more refined. But the sheer amount of content that is in the game and offers is great, and that is enough to keep you playing – you want to see whether you can still beat that next level, even if the current one stumps you.