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Lode Runner (PC Booter)

Written by  :  Erez Schatz (8)
Written on  :  Aug 11, 2000
Platform  :  PC Booter

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Summary

I have many great memories from my Apple II days, this game takes place in most.

The Good

In one word? All. This game is very high in my top 10 list of all times; actually it's very high on my top 5 as well. The first game to really combine action (run, avoid monsters) and puzzle (look, think, do things in a correct order.) what this game did was what Dune II did to Strategy genre: add action, the decision makings have to be made in real time. The goal of this game is very simple, collect boxes, avoid enemies, go ladder (do I hear addictive gameplay?) Actually the game is extremely complex, where the wrong decision can send a horde of enemies at your tail, or you could find yourself 10 feet deep in cement. Oh yea, you can dig. This is your most important weapon, timing your digging right can help you trap the enemies in a way that will help you solve the level, wrong timing and you might not trap them properly, or at all, and you might found yourself locked in rooms as well, and let me just remind you, you have to take those decisions in real time. The levels are absolutely great, and suggest a variety of ideas and puzzles, from more action driven, to some that demand careful planning of the digging. Other levels are made of weird art (like the very cute ship level) or are based on one element of the game, like pure digging levels, levels made exclusively of ropes, or levels where you have to use the AI in order to trap the enemies.

The Bad

One of the biggest downs (I’d use the word few, but I wanna keep my "un-biased" mask) is the AI. Which is very simple; basically the enemies keep the same level with your character. I.e. if you go up, they go up, they don't try to go down and follow you, unless you go down and practically "pull" them, sometimes winning the level is more of a question of properly trapping the enemies. Although the game creators knew that, as some levels actually need you to use that AI to solve them, most of the times you feel like your fighting a mind game with a bunch of apes.

The Bottom Line

This one is a true classic from the old (and I do mean old) days of Apple II, a combined action/puzzle games, where you need to collect gold and avoid monsters. The game also features an option to dig, enabling you to capture the enemies, or to reach boxes beneath the floor. The graphics are worthy of these days, in other words, don't expect anything too fancy (except the boat level, naturally), but those who are pure gameplay fanatics, should check this game.