Hyper Lode Runner (Game Boy) review
"Treasure hunting is a dangerous business - not only does it usually involve hiring a team of foreign peasants to aid you in your quest that, movie lore has taught us, will contain at least one treacherous killing machine that works for one of your rival, not to mention navigating ancient tombs and cities that are no doubt filled with all manner of cool but deadly traps, but, as Hyper Lode Runner teaches, you are also destined to lose basic motor functions, such as jumping and beating the jolly r..."
Treasure hunting is a dangerous business - not only does it usually involve hiring a team of foreign peasants to aid you in your quest that, movie lore has taught us, will contain at least one treacherous killing machine that works for one of your rival, not to mention navigating ancient tombs and cities that are no doubt filled with all manner of cool but deadly traps, but, as Hyper Lode Runner teaches, you are also destined to lose basic motor functions, such as jumping and beating the jolly rogers out of your enemies. Shady.
Hyper Lode Runner is a fairly simple game. As in other Lode Runner titles, you control a treasure hunter. The aim is to clear each stage of all the gold, while avoiding rival hunters. Your character can not jump, and has no real attack move (despite the cover art portraying your character shooting laser guns at skeleton warriors... in fact, that cover bears no relevance to the game... ho-hum). All he can do is dig a whole in some types of brick. This hole fills again after a few seconds. Enemy hunters can be killed this way (although a replacement hunter arrives on the scene when they do), or it can be used to get treasure. This is where the puzzle aspect comes in. You will frequently find a piece of gold buried in the ground that you can easily get too. However, you must plot your course so that you can get out again without being buried alive. On other occasions you may apparently have collected all of the gold on the level, but still not have access to the exit. In this case it is likely that a rival hunter has some gold, and he must be trapped and buried in order to steal his horde.
On many levels you will find a key, which opens up a separate room on the level, effectively doubling the size of each stage. Rather than just being a bonus area, these backrooms are often tougher than the main area. Make no mistake, this game is a real toughie.
This is also a game with bucketloads of levels. Fortunately there is a level select, although if you are new to the series I recommend trying the levels in order. While this prevents the game from being too frustrating - getting 11 levels in when the batteries die, for example - it also keeps the challenge up, as to have access to all the stages you need a code, which is only gained by doing well in the previous stages.
Also available is a level creation feature. While initially your own levels will be, frankly, awful - either too overcrowded, or almost completely empty, and you may often make it inadvertently impossible - with time you will be creating levels almost as good as those available in the main game. With so many options available here (three types of floor, ladders, backrooms, tightropes.....) this game allows for near infinite possibilities, and gives the game heaps of replay value.
The graphics and sound here are nothing special, although as this is an early Game Boy title this is forgivable, and never detracts from the gameplay.
This game also has a two-player link up mode (although due to the relative obscurity of the game none of my friends were willing to risk buying it, so I don't know what this involves).
Although the platform elements of the game are far behind the likes of Mario in the quality stakes, and the puzzle elements are hardly gonna rival Tetris, this is a simple, fun, little game. If you can find a copy somewhere I'd recommend it, but not having it in your collection isn't worth losing sleep over.
Community review by tomclark (March 07, 2004)
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