The Running Man (Grandslam) Review | Computer & Video Games - Everygamegoing


The Running Man
By Grandslam
Amiga 500

Published in Computer & Video Games #91

The Running Man

The Running Man's introductory screens are some of the best I've seen on a computer. Digitised sequences from the film, sampled sounds and some stunning visual effects are used to give a superb movie-like opening sequence. However, from then on things go downhill alarmingly swiftly.

Before I continue, I'd better tell you a bit about the film on which the game is based. It's set in the future and stars Arnie Schwarzenegger as a policeman who's framed for murdering innocent civilians. His punishment is to appear on a prime time telly program called, obviously enough, The Running Man.

On this ultra-violent games show, contestants (or should that be victims) fight the show's five champions - massive, meaty mateys who wield a variety of whacky weapons, including a razor-sharp ice hockey stick and two large chain stores.

Of course, Arnie wins in the film. But this is a game, and with you at the controls anything can happen.

The start sequence shows Arnie being blasted down to the game arena, and then the action begins. The Running Man is basically a scrolling beat-'em-up, and the objective is to beat the five champions to win the game. First of all, muscle-bound Arnold runs along the landscape jumping over obstacles and kicking any dogs that get in his way. If a dog manages to bit the hero, a chunk is knocked off his energy bar - if the bar is entirely depleted, the game ends.

Eventually, the first opponent appears - Sub Zero, who wields a hockey stick. The object here is to simply wear down his energy bar (which appears beneath Arnie's) by repeatedly kicking him to the ground - meanwhile Sub Zero's trying to do the same to you.

If Arnie manages to beat Sub (which isn't too difficult), he runs to the end of the screen to finish the level. Between levels, a neat little sub-game is played to replenish lost energy. The idea is simply to match a pair of randomly generated circles of symbols. Succeed and lost energy is replaced - failure results with no such addition.

The game continues with another three opponents of increasing difficulty, before Arnie confronts the studio guards and the final baddie, Killion. If he managed to beat him, he leaps into a handy waiting shuttle and escapes!

Like the film, I found The Running Man a big disappointment - especially after the marvellous opening sequence. It's basically a five-level beat-'em-up with very limited moves. The graphics are fairly good, but the parallax scrolling is juddery, and the actual playing screen is small.

A major niggle is the skill setting - the first two opponents are relatively easy, and then the difficult is hoisted right up and the third one is very difficult to beat, resulting in frustration and annoyance.

Considering the potential of the film licence, it's a shame Grand Slam hasn't made more of this. As it stands, it's a barely average beat-'em-up with a brilliant front end - which just isn't enough to warrant the hefty £25 price tag.