Personal Compuer Games

Lode Runner

Author: Chris Anderson
Publisher: Software Projects
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Personal Computer Games #15

Lode Runner

This title was a big hit some time back in America and Software Projects have been trumpeting their release of it in Britain as a Major Event, guys.

In essence it's very similar to Space Panic. You run round a network of ladders and platforms collecting gold nuggets and steering clear of a gang of chasing men. You can dig traps for them to fall into at a touch of a fire button, but, unlike Space Panic you can't then have the satisfaction of stamping them out of existence. You simply secure yourself a few moments' reprieve.

What Lode Runner does have are a few extra features such as invisible trap doors - and more importantly 150 different screens, although the Spectrum can only hold 75 at a time (the rest are on the other side of the tape).

Lode Runner

The program also allows you to design your own screens (although it doesn't tell you how!) and to switch the order of existing screens, a considerable boon when you're bored with the first half-dozen. The graphics are very ordinary, with tiny, single-character size men chasing each other round. But this has compensations in that individual screens can be made far more complex.

My one gripe with the game is that there isn't enough variety. Once you've solved a few screens, the rest don't have much new to offer.

On the other hand the vast size of the game can give you motivation enough to keep tackling screens. Knock off two an evening and the game will still take 11 weeks to complete!

Lode Runner

The play is by no means easy. It's easy to get trapped, and the large number of gold nuggets on some screens take a lot of collecting.

I've never seen the Commodore 64 versions, so I can't compare them, but I suspect it's even better - Ariolasoft are releasing it in this country.

Meanwhile this Spectrum version will do very nicely, thank you. The programmers at Software Projects tell me they haven't stopped playing in weeks.

Robert Patrick

Lode Runner

This game is especially memorable because it has two features which are virtually unknown in the software industry. An immense, almost ridiculous, Software Protection Card which would be impossible to copy even for the most diligent pirate, and a very impressive customising facility.

The game itself is extremely addictive with a huge number of screens and some pleasant, if small, graphics. Your character runs about insanely and, despite his matchstick construction, he seems to possess a character all his own. Software Projects haven't gone overboard on the sound, but given the other points of the game and the obvious memory limitations these would impose, they can be forgiven for this relatively minor slip.

Lode Runner is another winner. Miss it at your peril.

Peter Walker

One hundred and fifty screens have to be some sort of record for a platform game.

However, this all uses up valuable memory, which has necessitated a drop in the standard of graphics. The characters are small (although they move smoothly) and all the screens are made up from a few basic components. Sound too is restricted to the odd beep or squelch.

Despite this, the game is very good fun and each stage can be enjoyed in its own right. Manic Miner devotees will particularly enjoy being able to hurl their man from great heights without losing a life.

It is the sheer size of the program that is so impressive. Anyone who actually finishes all 150 screens with just five lives deserves a knighthood at the very least, while the rest of us mere mortals can enjoy what is a truly excellent game.

Chris Anderson

Other Spectrum 48K/128K Game Reviews By Chris Anderson

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  • Knight Lore Front Cover
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