The Game: Cavernous rooms are loaded with gold, just ripe for the picking. But before you celebrate hitting the mother lode, look again – there are other gold-diggers homing in on the treasure. What do you have that they don’t? A drill gun that can blast a hole in the floors, into which your opponents will jump blindly. Eventually, the holes will reseal themselves, and that process will swallow your enemies (and you, if you happen to be clumsy enough to wander into the hole yourself). Grabbing all of the gold will reveal a passage to the next level of the game. (Bandai, 1989)
Memories: A nifty revival of the computer classic, Hyper Lode Runner actually manages to pack in a surprising amount of what made the original game so addictive – right down to the “edit mode” that allows players to build their own levels.
If there’s a payoff, though, it’s a matter of control. You have to be in just the right place for Lode Runner to take out a wall that’s blocking him from his loot – and in just the right place to escape again before it becomes his tomb. I’ve played games of Hyper Lode Runner where I did everything just right, only to be sabotaged by how picky the controls are. Also, though I wasn’t expecting this to be a feature on an early monochrome Game Boy title, but some players may be disappointed to find out that their homebrew game levels can’t be saved permanently.
But when you get right down to it, it’s hard to mess up Lode Runner unless you start screwing with the fundamentals of the game, and in this case, Bandai delivers the goods. This is authentic Lode Runner fun, and it’s hard to believe that this game hasn’t been revived since in handheld form.