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The 3D Battles of World Runner (NES) artwork

The 3D Battles of World Runner (NES) review


"3D World Runner is best for killing an hour while waiting for your next class or thinking of something to do. It’s fun for a while, but grows old quickly as you realize you’re encountering the same enemies and jumping the same gaps, just with occasional tweaks to make it more challenging. "



3D technology is nothing new, and anyone looking back at The 3D Battles of World Runner now will likely think it’s nothing special. In a way, they would be right; World Runner wasn’t the first game to employ 3D technology, but it was one of the first to offer a separate 3D mode.

Equipped with a pair of 3D glasses (inside every box), players could experience the game in eye-popping wonder as objects seemed to jump out of the screen at them. Of course, we all know now that this was merely an illusion, and modern gaming far outclasses this by any standard. Still, it might be fun to endure the almost epileptic strobing effects for a few minutes just to reminisce about the old times when this sort of thing was fresh and exciting.

Whether you play in 3D mode or regular, however, your objective is the same. Controlling a space adventurer named World Runner, you must travel through an octet of strange planets, each divided into individual sublevels. Thanks to automatic scrolling, you’re constantly on the move, though you do have the ability to speed up or slow down your avatar’s progress.

This constant movement provides an additional challenge as you leap over expansive canyons, dodge menacing enemies, and collect handy power-ups and point-giving stars (if you don’t fade through them instead). Bonuses such as the rocket enable you to fire missiles at any monster that gets in your way. Potions set you ablaze, nullifying any attack that hits you once. Atoms provide you with four-second invulnerability, allowing you to cross any obstacle (except gaps) unimpeded. But beware of mushrooms. Consume one and die. Once you die, you must start again at your current sublevel.

The game may be simple, but it’s not easy. It moves quickly, and if you’re not careful, you could easily lose a life. Mis-time a jump, and you’ll end up in a crater. Fail to sneak past those pesky hands that constantly block your movement, and you may fall victim to the merciless time limit. Waste too many lives, or fail to gather extras in the bonus worlds, and you may not have enough for the boss at the end of each world.

These bosses are all the same. Large centipede-like serpent things of different colors, some possessing multiple incarnations, that wend and wind across the screen as you try to kill them section-by-section with an infinite number of missiles. One touch by this wily enemy and it’s instant death, just like with everything else fatal, but instead of spawning you back in the fight, you have to start all the way at the beginning of the last sublevel. Fortunately, you’ll likely not get hit at all, since the creatures’ movements are so predictable and easy to dodge.

3D World Runner is best for killing an hour while waiting for your next class or thinking of something to do. It’s fun for a while, but grows old quickly as you realize you’re encountering the same enemies and jumping the same gaps, just with occasional tweaks to make it more challenging. It may feel old, it may feel samey, and It may not be the sole contributor to today’s technological advancements, but somewhere locked within its simplistic coding lay the foundation for today’s 3D marvels.

Rating: 6/10

wolfqueen001's avatar
Community review by wolfqueen001 (November 22, 2008)

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