The Running Man

Moby ID: 15214
Amiga Specs
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Description

In this game inspired by the movie with the same name featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, you are an ex-cop presumed guilty for the murder of many civilians. One day, you escape from jail and go to the airport to flee. Unfortunately, you are captured again, but not by the police. This time your captor is man responsible for the Running Man TV show.

This show is the most popular hobby in the future, and people bet huge amounts of money on the outcome. You are hunted by professional killers, you must run and stay alive to win money. Along four levels, you must fight the hunters and reach the end if you want to be free again.

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 61% (based on 11 ratings)

Players

Average score: 2.5 out of 5 (based on 20 ratings with 1 reviews)

Film license not without its short comings, but has enough good touches, that fans may get a kick out of it.

The Good
The developers here have gone to lengths incorporating cinematic touches that are true to the film, and the instantly recognisable music score that pumps out of the SID chip throughout the game, plays a big part in bringing forward the atmosphere unique to the movie.

As you would expect, you slip into the running shoes of Arnie’s on screen persona, Ben Richards, and you must fight your way through various game zones, eliminating the stalkers which inhabit them, before fulfilling your promise to Killian that you’d be back.

The game action takes place from the side-on perspective, and the screen orients from left to right, as you run, jump, walk, crawl and fight you way along each area. You first contend with a series of obstacles to make your way through, including vicious attack dogs which you must fend off, and also have to negotiate jumping some obstructions and dangerous pitfalls. When your approaching the threshold of a zone, you will encounter a Stalker, which you must fight to the death. You can elect to fight with your bear hands, or alternatively use a makeshift weapon that can sometimes be found laying around the arenas, such as a brick or lead pipe for example, to attack your aggressor, which subsequently increases the level of damage you deal per blow. You encounter all the foes found in the movie, Sub-Zero, Buzz-saw, Dynamo and Fireball, and they all have their own distinctive individual traits and abilities.

Your stamina is displayed on the lower part of the display, in the form of a simple white line, as is the Stalkers. When you are hit, your stamina will deplete, but you can regain it by registering positive hits on your opponent, which incidentally, is a method sometimes employed in pro-wrestling video games, it works well here, and is a welcome addition.
As well as regaining stamina in this manner, you can also collect the occasional medical kit, or, in the uplink code sub-game, which appears in among the five standard levels.

Here you are presented with two circular sets of symbols, both sets begin identically, then the one on the left is jumbled in a randomised way, and you can shift adjacent symbols to coordinate with the right-hand set to complete the code, in the allotted fifty second time frames. Sometimes it comes together incredibly fast, while other times it just doesn’t come together at all. It can be of little consequence, depending on how physically well off you are. These sections provide an interesting, albeit short diversion from the standard play.

The visuals are very nice, and the richly detailed backdrops provide distinctive environments, from Sub-Zero’s frosty ice-rink, to the sparkling night sky of Dynamo’s city light’s arena, through to the cameras and spotlights of the final confrontation at the TV studio. All of the levels are littered with the various advertisements and propaganda found in the film. Much attention has been payed to characterizing the setting, and is detailed enough to evoke some of the films’ more action filled scenes. The sprites are quite well realised, and Arnie certainly looks the part, and has a decent array of movements, consisting of an above average number of frames per animation. Other character’s seen here in are instantly recognisable, and remain true enough to the source.

As well as the fab music, there is an assortment of effects, such as the growling dogs, some decent explosion sounds, among other incidental effects, and also some surprisingly realistic ambient noises thrown in as well. A bit light in this department, but what there is remains’ good.



The Bad
The pace of the game is admittedly slow, from the scrolling through the sprite movements and animations, and takes some time to become accustomed to the sluggish staging. The combat is also repetitious and uninvolving, making for boring fights that consist of mashing the fire button and running backwards and forwards for extended periods. With only the code breaker sub-game to break up the play, the game play isn’t greatly varied from one level to the next, making this quite a formulaic affair.

The Bottom Line
Despite the games’ failings, I still personally enjoyed it, and I like the fact Emerald made the game manageable, whilst still maintaining a decent challenge, where a lot of others companies would make a game stupidly difficult just to make it seems as if it were good value because you can’t possibly beat it. I am a fan of the film, so I like all the things that were thoughtfully recreated within the realms of this some what different medium, even if it fails to reproduce the depth or excitement of its cinematic counterpart. Certainly not to all tastes, but I think fans should definitely give it a whirl.

Commodore 64 · by Nick Drew (397) · 2007

Trivia

The movie The Running Man is inspired by a novel from Stephen King published in 1982. There are many similarities between this novel and the 1958 novel The Prize of Peril, written by Robert Sheckley. In 1983, the latter was also adapted into a movie, Le Prix du Danger with Gérard Lanvin and Michel Piccoli.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Blood.

Amstrad CPC added by Martin Smith. MSX added by LepricahnsGold.

Additional contributors: Cantillon.

Game added October 17, 2004. Last modified January 20, 2024.