This XBox 360 exclusive is a remake of the
original 1983 action puzzle game called Lode Runner and needless to say,
it was one of those games that defined gaming of that era. Fast forward
more than 25 years and this addictive puzzle game has made a welcome
return on XBox Live. Apart from boasting new graphics and tweaked
gameplay, Lode Runner even features a co-operative mode as you hunt for
gold and attempt to outthink the lumbering beasts that want your blood.
Even though the game is almost a carbon copy of the original, the title has
received a few 21st century tweaks but in its essence, it's virtually
the same game, a puzzle platformer with a one dimensional screen that is
littered with ladders and jumps as your adventurer attempts to collect
all the gold before he is turned into minced meat by the variety of foes
that you encounter.
The control of the character is quite limiting as you climb up
and down ladders, move left and move right. Frustratingly there is no
jump in Lode Runner as per se with the original, however you do have a
gun which can blast holes in the ground and is ideally used to halt a
foe for a short period of time.
As you progress so does the difficulty of the 80 levels that you
encounter and you will need to use wits and guile in order to complete
the game. Thankfully by level 10 or so, you will understand how these
enemies "think" which assists in predicting where they will move.
control system does take a little time getting use to on the XBox 360
controller as it's pure old school as your character is either moving or
standing. Using your gun is a key element of the game which basically
blasts holes into the ground that enemies will fall into. Once in the
hole, you can run over your enemies head and sometimes they will leave
gold and once all the gold is collected, you will then be able to
proceed to the next level.
The game supports your traditional Lode Runner experience in the journey
mode that is virtually level after level and there is a great addition
called the puzzle mode that removes the enemies from the game and you
need to use your brains to solving the levels. It's quite tricky,
however not as frustrating as the journey mode.
Next up is Hang On mode
that has the player running through eight levels attempting to collect
as much gold possible. It might sound easy but as you progress so do the
number of enemies that want your blood... and gold. For lovers of
multiplayer games, the co-op modes allow you to play with another player
in Journey and Puzzle modes that definitely requires teamwork to
completing the level. Lastly there is Last Man that allows up to four
players to compete and is reminiscent of last man standing, however
when one player is touched by the enemy, they are turned into an enemy
and can join in on the hunt on the remaining players. Definitely interesting but also quite
With the gameplay and controls, the title does support a great tutorial
to teach you the basics before you engage in the game and best of all,
the title saves after you have completed a level, unlike the original
game and this means that some people will actually complete this game.
Although Lode Runner is quite basic, it's quite addictive as you challenge the
various levels in the game and if you die, you will need to collect all
the gold again. You might curse and shout, however you will eventually
finish the level and due to the addictive nature of the game, you will
be clamouring for more punishment. It's probably one of the most
challenging games that I have played all year.
Graphically, the title feels like an XBox Live title that does pay homage
to the original game, however has received a true modern face lift. The
levels are quite colourful that is matched with some 3D effects and
special effects to assist in the overall gaming experience. The
soundtrack is great, however the main gameplay is quite limited in the
number of the sounds effects.
We could happily recommend this game to all lovers of traditional arcade
platform games and the amount of different gameplay modes and levels is
quite insane with almost 200 levels available to the player. It's a very
addictive and frustrating game that had me going just one more attempt,
even though I was getting my ass kicked on many occasions. Good graphics
for this genre that gives the player a twist to the original incarnation
of Lode Runner!