Lode Runner Legacy
From the numerous challenging levels to the addictive gameplay and simple to use editor, there are many reasons why the original Lode Runner is considered a classic by many people. Since its release in 1983 there has been a steady stream of sequels and ports for just about every system imaginable, but the original still holds fond memories for most fans. Before the bombs, teleporters and other gimmicks added by later games, you simply ran around avoiding enemies while recovering stolen gold. Your character was incapable of jumping and your only means of defending yourself was a gun that could be used to create holes in the ground to trap enemies. Lode Runner Legacy continues in this tradition, but wraps up the classic gameplay in a glossy new Voxel coat.
Players are once again cast in the role of “Runner” with the purpose of recovering stolen gold from nefarious enemies. These guys will kill you on contact, so it is best to evade them using the platforms, ropes and ladders that make up each level. The gun that can dig holes directly next to you in the floor also makes a return, but using it requires a bit more strategy than using something that simply shoots projectiles. Firstly, you cannot dig a hole if an enemy is too close to you, so you need to plan your moves ahead. Secondly, since you cannot dig holes directly beneath your Runner, it is possible to get yourself stuck with no way of escaping. Most levels take advantage of this by placing the gold that you need to collect in all kinds of tricky spots, so it’s not just a case of strolling up to everything and then beating a hasty retreat. In addition to dealing with enemies chasing you down and hard to reach gold, there are also some other things to contend with as the levels become more challenging. Some blocks cannot be turned into holes, while others are hollow and cause you to fall through, but only reveal this the first time you walk over them. Also, while enemies can be killed if they are stuck in the holes you dug until refilled, they simple respawn, so your victory is only temporary.
While the classic Lode Runner formula has been used for this game, it does offer up a couple of different modes for variety. The “Adventure” mode is the best place to start as it eases you into the game and makes sure that you understand all the basics before ramping up the challenge. Spread across 50 different levels, this mode introduces new enemies along the way and levels are addictive enough that you’ll constantly want to have just one more go. Lode Runner has always been equal parts puzzle and action, so it is no surprise to see a “Puzzle” mode also making an appearance. Also containing 50 different levels, this mode drops the enemies and makes it all about figuring out how to get to the gold. Some of the puzzle levels definitely require a bit of planning and lateral thinking to pull off, but they are just as addictive as the Adventure mode.
One of the biggest treats in Lode Runner Legacy is the “Classic” mode, which offers exactly what it sounds like; all 150 levels of the original game. The levels in Classic mode also use voxels instead of the original art style, but for the rest they are just as challenging and entertaining as you remember them. Some versions of the original game, like the NES release, didn’t include all of the original levels, so this is a great opportunity to see what you have missed if you only had access to a cut-down version back in the day.
Of course, the level editor contributed a lot to the success of the original game, so it’s no surprise to see that Lode Runner Legacy also features one. Creating levels is fairly straightforward and can also be uploaded to the game for other players to try out. Accessing levels created by other players is done via the “World Levels” feature and there are already a couple of really nice ones available. Tozai Games didn’t just stop there either, but put the Voxel nature of the game to good use by providing a character as well as an item editor too. Using these you can create your own Runner character, enemies and custom gold items. Although these editors are slightly trickier to use than the level editor, it is still possible to pull off some impressive results. A quick browse through the Steam Workshop revealed that fans have already created a couple of really nice custom characters such as Kirby, Bomberman, Link and even Dovahkiin of Skyrim fame.
The Voxel visuals are a great match for the game and gives everything a polished sheen. Even though the visuals are in 3D, the game is still in 2D, so you only have to worry about moving in four different directions. The game does include a first person mode, but to be honest it feels more like a gimmick than anything that is genuinely useful or really needed. Lode Runner Legacy doesn’t feature any backgrounds either, which is in keeping with the style of the original, but it does make it feel like the levels don’t have a lot of variety in terms of visuals. Levels are all still single screen in style, but can now range from small to large, with larger levels pulling the camera further back to fit everything in. The audio is decent enough, but the tunes are all relatively unobtrusive, which is probably a good thing. The controls are also very straightforward and works well using either a keyboard or controller. The interface feels a little more cumbersome than what it needs to be in terms of selecting levels and accessing options, but this doesn’t detract too much from the experience.
Tozai Games could simply have featured the 150 classic levels using the new Voxel visuals and most fans would have still loved this game, so all the additional content is really just a bonus. Aspects like the online rankings and user created content also expands the longevity of this title a great deal. If you are a fan of the original game, then this is a must-have title and even newcomers will find plenty to like about Lode Runner Legacy.
- OS: Windows 7/ Windows 10
- Processor: Intel® Core™ i3-530 @ 2.93 GHz or Better
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
- Storage: 500 MB available space