Codex Gamicus

Lode Runner: The Legend Returns is a 1994 Windows and Mac OS remake of the classic Lode Runner video game. The gameplay is essentially similar to the original, but a number of new features boost gameplay to new levels.

There are devices that can be picked up and used only one at a time, the devices being: snare traps, incapacitating sprays, jackhammers, two types of bomb, pickaxes which make a pile of rock from the ceiling blocking your enemies, and buckets filled with goo that is used to cover surfaces and slow characters down.

The game also resurrects the original Lode Runner's several varieties of "turf" as well as introducing one more. In addition to the standard turf, which is susceptible to being dug through with the player's blaster, there are also the nostalgic bedrock (which can only be penetrated with a jackhammer or a larger bomb that, unlike small bombs, permanently destroyed turf or any other item in the level except the exit) and trapdoor turf, which resembles regular turf but which actually is empty space. Another form of turf is introduced: gooey turf, which slows the passage of both the player and his enemies.

A few traces of a storyline are present in the game. Your character is named Jake Peril (who wears a gray suit), although a second player can play as his identical partner, Wes Reckless (who wears a blue suit), who can be played during two-player cooperative levels and head-to-head hotseat play. In this reincarnation of Lode Runner, the robots of the original game are skeletal "mad monks" who wear red robes.

The game contains 150 single-player levels broken up into ten different "worlds": Moss Caverns (jungle), Fungus Delvings, the Lost City of Ur (ancient world), the Crystal Hoard, Winter's Dungeon (ice world), Skeleton's Keep (fossil world), Inferno's Playground (lava world), Shimmering Caverns (phosphorus world), the Shadowlands (dark world), and Meltdown Metropolis (industrial world). While most levels are set in the day, some take place at night, when the entire screen is pitch black, save a moving circular patch of light within which the player is visible. The game is an excellent example of the trap-em-up genre, which also includes games like Heiankyo Alien and Space Panic.

A powerful level editor is included with the game, allowing several levels to constitute a single group of levels, as well as the ability to switch between different tile sets. The editor can choose to set the level in night or day, as well as change the background music regardless of the tile set.

One year after its release, Sierra released Lode Runner Online: Mad Monks' Revenge, which fixed many of the bugs and added additional gameplay features. In 1998, Natsume packaged Lode Runner: The Legend Returns with Lode Runner Extra as a 2-in-1 game for the PlayStation.

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