Battle Lode Runner Review
Posted by Damien McFerran
This upgraded edition to the famous Lode Runner series includes a 5-player versus mode.
Lode Runner is strange little title - it's been around for ages, has a cult following but never really seems to break through to the mainstream. This Turbografx 'Battle' edition was produced by Hudsonsoft and graphically is a step up from previous versions, which tended to look a bit drab.
In Battle Lode Runner's Puzzle Mode, you guide the lone runner through a series of puzzle/action stages. Each level is laid out with bricks, ladders, ropes and gold bars. Collecting each bit of blinging bullion causes a stage-exit ladder to appear, which you're tasked to reach and ascend before the stage's enemy forces can chase you down and tag you. Your only method of offense – really, the only thing you can do other than move – is to dig holes.
Lode Runner can cause the block one square below and to his immediate left or his immediate right to disappear, "digging" it out of existence for a temporary period of time. Enemies that walk over the then-missing block will fall into the hole and you'll be able to walk across their heads, safely avoiding their deadly touch. You'll also have to use your digging powers to create paths and shafts down through multi-tiered layers of brickwork to reach any buried gold bars that might be lurking underneath.
There's an Edit Mode that allows you to lay out your own puzzle levels yourself, if you tire of the game's set and standard array. There's also a Battle Mode, as Battle Lode Runner becomes the newest TurboGrafx VC title to support up to five human players at once. Like Bomberman '93 and Dungeon Explorer before it, you'll need at least one GameCube controller to reach full capacity.
Lode Runner is often overlooked in favour of other titles so it's encouraging that it has been given a chance to really shine on the VC. This is well worth a look and should keep you busy for a while.