Fans of classic gaming are in for a treat with the release of Lode Runner for Xbox Live Arcade on the Xbox 360. Being one of the few games made over a quarter of a century ago, this title has always been a classic and ported over to multiple platforms. This game has been around for so long, it has been “rebooted” several times to catch up with modern gaming but the core game play mechanics have always remained as solid as it started. Lode Runner is a timeless classic that got even better with this latest rendition.

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Lode Runner is a platform game that mixes action with fast puzzle solving skills. The goal is simple, get the gold, avoid the enemies and get out. I couldn’t tell you what a lode is or why he is running it and sometimes the game looks futuristic with a spacesuit clad man fighting aliens or it looks like Indiana Jones is being chased by monks, but the goal always remains the same. Your character can blast holes into the ground, making a block sized space in the 2D game world. You can fall through these holes to get around the level or use them to trap enemies. You can’t jump, but you can climb on ladders and ropes to get around, so blasting holes counts as an attack as well as a strategy to navigate the level.

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lode_06The game has a natural puzzle feel because you have to think quickly and plan ahead when exploring for gold. You can trap yourself in your own pits if you blast blocks away without thinking! The blocks will reappear after a bit and enemies can eventually climb out of them if you don’t time it just right. The action elements of the game come from constantly being on the move to avoid enemies you can’t directly attack. You find yourself running around the level with a frantic and fun pace that isn’t matched by many games these days.

The online and local co-op modes make the game stand out. Playing with a friend is a blast and a whole new dynamic to the game. A competitive four player mode allows you to play as the bad guys chasing the good guy for a change. The single player modes include a standard journey as well as a puzzle mode. This is the ultimate version of Lode Runner. I’ve seen a lot too, from the NES to the PC and beyond, but thanks to the easy access to custom downloaded levels on Xbox Live and the built in sharing and player matching and the super easy to use level editor, you have it all. A lot of people have been saying the graphics are a bit lackluster, but I enjoy that it hasn’t been color lighted and sparkle spazzed out with new age graphics.

Available now on Xbox Live for 1200 Ms Points (about $15) this is one revamped classic that is worth every penny. Grab your lode and get ready to run!

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