september 22, 2012

Hyper Lode Runner for Game Boy

Hyper Lode Runner (JP) Hyper Lode Runner (US)
There's always time for a review. Crazy.
Lode Runner is a fine little series that was created in 1983 and was made known on the Apple IIe. I actually played it as a child. I like how it is not based on randomness, it is completely strategy and skill that matters, and I think that makes for a timeless classic.

Lode Runner was very popular in Japan as well. Interesting because it is an American game made by the very creative Brøderbund company who later made Prince of Persia, Myst and other original titles. You can see inspiration from the Japanese game Heiankyo Alien though, in my opinion, only that you see Heianyko Alien from a top-down perspektive and Lode Runner from a platformer perspective.

Lode Runner was so popular that they released two famicom Lode Runner and one Disk System lode runner for the fanatics. The Game Boy game was made by Bandai as early as 1989 and later ported to the west, as it happens.

I looked at the reviews on gamefaqs. One guy gave it 10/10 in every category, another reviewer at least admitted it was "For fans only, or nuts like me who like the obscure and old-school..."
(not my video) As for gameplay, I think Hyper Lode Runner -- or any Lode Runner game -- is excellent. Graphics is excellent, the sounds are always so cheerful with the "du du du".

The early levels are a good mix of strategy and skill. However, the later levels become ridiculous. My theory is that they figured everyone were familiar with the concept and so they made it very hard to complete the game. One level requires you to drop down when the enemy is on the exact right pixel, then immediately drill a hole for him to fall into, and then keep that going. For me, this takes away the fun.

It's also quite painful to see your character die in that painful way when you fall into your own hole. There's a claustrophobic feeling to the game. Also, while there is a password for the later levels, the game kind of just wants you to play levels and make a mental note that you've beaten them. It's not very rewarding for that reason. I give it 3/5.

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