Personal Computer News

Lode Runner

Author: Bryan Skinner
Publisher: Software Projects
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Personal Computer News #091


Some of the best games around are American, and for the Commodore 64, so it's good to see British software houses producing conversions for the Spectrum.

As a highly-trained galactic UDG, sorry Commando, you must recover gold from the Bungeling Empire. The ingots look like hot dogs and it's basically a levels and ladders game. The most unusual aspect is that you can edit any of the screens to suit your taste, and save them to tape.

However, the screens are much of a muchness - plenty of red brickwork and white ladders on a black background. The Bungelers are tiny purple figures which tend to come after you a bit sharpish, so you might like to edit them out of the first screen altogether to let you suss out the controls and how best to get at the ingots.

Lode Runner

There are 75 screens. Not only can you add ladders, walls and pursuers (or take them away!), but screens can be moved - so you could make the last screen the first! Editing is dead easy with single keypresses, and the way the screen dissolves instead of being wiped clear is a neat touch.

Lode Runner isn't a games designer. All you can do is twiddle about with that's already there. You can't introduce new items or design them, but the ability to alter the game has to be an attraction.

You can configure keys to taste and there's a wide range of joysticks on offer. Apart from up, down, left and right there's dig, which simply removes part of the brick floor immediately in front of you. This is needed to slow up the Bungelers.

You might also get the spade (laser drill pistol) out so you can fall through the floor, connecting with an ingot on the way down. It doesn't matter how far you fall, the only way you end a life is when a Bungeler gets you. It's a pity that you can't give yourself more than five lives!

Good fun for a few minutes, but I got tired of it rather quickly.

Bryan Skinner

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