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0:47 | Trailer
A character named Lode Runner must traverse and dig through fanciful designs of architecture to collect tons of gold, while utilizing physics and avoiding man-crushing, though foolish, guards.


Doug Smith (creator)



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A character named Lode Runner must traverse and dig through fanciful designs of architecture to collect tons of gold, while utilizing physics and avoiding man-crushing, though foolish, guards.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Sci-Fi


Did You Know?


In issue 72 of Your Sinclair magazine in December 1991, this was voted the 37th best game of all time. See more »


Featured in Video Game Vault: Lode Runner (2008) See more »

User Reviews

96% -- A side-view Pac-Man but with puzzles, ladders, and the diagonally digging gun
1 October 2018 | by ThePopulistSee all my reviews


  • Just because console games like Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros. have been groundbreaking in the 1980s and onward doesn't mean that computer games cannot. That said, what do you do when you only had an Apple II or MS-DOS on an IBM computer and no game console like the Nintendo Famicom? You play Lode Runner of course! In this classic, you play Lode Runner, a speedy hero who outsmarts enemies to pick up all golden treasure before escaping. It may look dated or primitive, but it is well designed with sweet animations and graphics and harmonious sequences of beeps and zoots.
  • In Lode Runner, you play one of the 150 ordered levels and are given unlimited time to study the level you are playing before making a move, after which the enemy strikes to pursue and take out your hero. There is no jumping, but Lode Runner always runs and even falls faster than his enemies without trouble, climbs ladders, and hangs on or drops from bars. Whatever the case, it is either to evade the enemy or to take the scattered treasure, or both, and what do you do when you are surrounded and there is seemingly no escape? You diagonally create pits with your blaster of course. That way, the enemy will fall in (sometimes appearing to stand on nothing), drop any gold that they picked up, and stay stuck there for a few seconds before climbing out, leaving Lode Runner an opportunity to walk over them and run; your best hope is that the ground is not solid for digging and that you have enough time to trap your enemies before it is too late. Importantly, the holes fill in after a short delay, killing any enemy and respawning that guy somewhere at the top of the screen, as well as Lode Runner himself, so be careful. And what do you do when the gold is inaccesible? You let the enemy bring it somewhere accessible since they often take gold in their path and drop it elsewhere, or you dig for it yourself. In the case of the latter, be sure to count the number of tiles needed to get there, as miscounting can cost your character a life. If an area of gold is accesible but but not exitable, it may need to be saved for the last, as picking up all the gold may result in spawning ladders to the top of the screen, which is the exit, and especially in such areas when there were initially no ladders. You also cannot trust your eyes, as some of the tiles that look diggable are actually fall-through traps. However, the game is fair, and if you think otherwise, you are always getting points for picking up gold, trapping and killing enemies, and completing levels, and you always earn an extra life for every level you have successfully finished.
  • One of the most memorable aspects of Lode Runner is the artificial intelligence-controlled enemies. Their constant chasing already leaves the player with making quick strategies before being fatally caught, and temporarily trapping them into the pits the player character had just created to walk over and bypass them is already satisfying, let alone the ability to kill them by digging in time for the pits to fill in after a short delay. However, the best part is exploitation, whereby moving to a certain position on the map causes enemies to change directions, sometimes away from Lode Runner and other times back into his dug pits that they just climbed out of. It sometimes appears to be to some degree that they are actually helping the player, i.e., without their exploitation, some of the levels would have been impossible to complete.
  • If you find that 150 levels is not enough Lode Runner, you have the easy and straightforward opportunity to use the level editor. One can design levels however they want, placing on the grid the start of Lode Runner, enemies, gold, bars and ladders and the ladders appearing after all the treasure is collected, diggable and solid blocks, and traps. I estimate the possibilities to be in the millions, but the question comes to mind: How good can you design yours? The game is truly designed to keep players in their seats to play this classic composed of only four colors.

  • Dying once in a level subtracts one life and restarts the level, and there is nothing particularly wrong with that. However, making huge progress within the level that was hard to achieve and then messing up in that same level can be frustrating, specifically if that means having to restart the level. I believe it could have given the players checkpoints of some sort, in which case they would only lose one life and not their progress in the level they are playing.

CONCLUSION: Lode Runner is the fast-paced and unforgettable puzzle platformer that cannot be bested by competitors and most of its later successors.

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Release Date:

1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kong See more »

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Production Co:

Brøderbund Software See more »
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