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Lode Runner XBox 360 Review - -

Gameplay 8.2
Graphics 7.0
Sound 6.9
Value 8.1
Distributor: Microsoft
Review Date:
May 2009
Andrew Bistak


Lode Runner

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.

The 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 frustrating!

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!


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