Software Projects Ltd
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair
Another ladders and levels game you cry, as you aim Lode Runner at the dustbin ready for the drop.
But, however, there is something extra which makes the game different from the rest. Once you have run up the ladders, swung from poles and picked up gold bricks while dropping the enemy into freshly dug holes, you can switch to Edit mode and change the positions of all moveable objects on any of the 150 screens. You can even switch levels around so that, for instance, level one could become level four at the touch of a key.
Redesigning a screen is as simple as moving a cursor. You first select the object which you want to deposit on the screen. It can be a gold bar, or even yourself. Moving the drop cursor and pressing the fire button will put it on to the new set up.
As for the rest of the game, you might just as well forget about it. The user definition is the most exciting aspect of it and anyone who can work their way through 150 screens of matchstick heroes deserves a prize for perseverance.
Publisher: Software Projects
Ok, so Software Projects only had a few months to come up with a 128 title but why pick Lode Runner? And why make so few alterations?
When I'd loaded the game I expected a melodious tune to waft from the television speaker and hundreds of very different rooms in this levels and ladders game. Instead the only sounds are bleeps and squeaks - admittedly using the 128's three-voice capability - and 150 rooms full of red brick, yellow ladders and gold blocks.
For those of you who don't know how to play - the plot is four-years old - here's the story. You are a highly trained Galactic commando who has ventured into enemy territory. You are after the gold which the power-hungry leaders of a repressive Empire have stolen.
The only way you can stop the magenta monsters is by drilling a hole in the ground. Then you can stamp on their heads using them as bridges over those holes.
Once you've cleared the gold bricks from one level a ladder extends off the screen and you can escape to the next. The final screen is the most artistic, though it is the easiest to complete. You'll probably never get there, however, unless you use the screen editing facilities.
The screen editor allows you to change and produce user-defined screens and save them to tape. The game can be made easier or more difficult, depending on the ladder and level system you set up.
It is also possible to try the new set ups you have made by going into the editor menu and typing in the number of the screen you want.
The only reason for bringing out this 128 game is to be included in the list of companies with products available for the machine. There is no music in the game and only minimal sound effects - which occur if you are killed by an alien or if you pick up a gold brick.
If you forget about the abysmal plot, substandard graphics, lack of music and predictability of each screen you could say that the game is addictive. Yes, you could, but I'm not.
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