[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Hyper Lode Runner

March 29th, 2010 by Benj Edwards

Hyper Lode Runner Game Boy Ad - 1990Our Viking Future

Earthdate: 2264. These are troubled times for the planet. After centuries of peace, the renegade Red Lord of Darkness has led his cyborg fanatics in a bloody revolution that has overthrown the United World government. Millions of political prisoners are being tortured in his infamous Labyrinth of Doom far beneath the surface of the planet. Very little is known about this subterranean maze of brick-walled catacombs. Just vague rumors about the hidden millions in stolen gold guarded by a ruthless army of mutant cyborg zombies commanded by the merciless General Zod, governor of the Red Lord’s death camps. Only one thing is sure…none of your predecessors have ever come out of this dreaded place alive. But, you must find a way out with a lode of gold big enough to launch the counterrevolution. You are the last hope; the last of the great Lode Runners.

I don’t know what’s scarier about the future: the Red Lord of Darkness or the United World government. Hard to choose.

[ From Video Games & Computer Entertainment, January 1990, p.60 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: In your opinion, what computer or video game has the best plot/story of all time?

24 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Hyper Lode Runner”

  1. Geoff V. Says:

    Myst. It is hard to explain how well this game brought me into the story.

  2. lilimist Says:

    Totally agree with Myst. Also, the Blade Runner adventure game (I believe there were 3 outcomes, depending on how you played; I got the ‘replicant sympathizer’ plot). And Chrono Trigger.

  3. JackSoar Says:

    First off, General ZOD?? If that’s the case, I don’t think “the last of the great Lode Runners” is going to be enough. This looks more like a job for the son of Jor-El.

    Anyway, it’s hard to choose a best story… but the one I got into the most was probably Final Fantasy VII. Cliche, I know, but whatareyougonnado?

  4. jdiwnab Says:

    I agree about Myst. The series was created (even from the first one) with a ton of backstory, everything from the immediately preceding events to centuries of civilization and technology.

    Chrono Trigger was interesting in that your actions effected the path of history, and it was a very good game, but, generally, plot wise, it was fairly straight forward. Very good, but not the best, IMO.

    FF7 had a good plot, with plenty of back story and twists. It’s only cliche because so many people agree on it, because it does have a very good story.

    I remember Load Runner, but I don’t remembering it having much of a plot. I don’t remember Hyper Load Runner, so maybe they tried to put a plot in for that version.

  5. pinball22 Says:

    The Exile (now Avernum, in their remade form) series. I’ve never felt so much like I really was part of the world in any other games. Recently, though, I’ve been playing Dragon Age… I’m not quite done, but it’s come close to the same feeling.

  6. Donn Says:

    Ultima V, of course! So many things going on in what seems on the surface like a Robin Hood story. Legislation of morality, good of one vs. good of many, and the playing of the 8 virtues against each other, which is the hallmark of the middle Ultimas.

    Though as a straight narrative The Dig was very good, and the original Monkey Island probably the funniest.

    Sacrilege, I know, but I have never finished KOTOR. It may be the actual winner for best story.

  7. svofski Says:

    Star Control II!

  8. Geoff V. Says:

    I’ll echo Star Control II as well. Great game with an immersive storyline.

  9. Lost Chauncy Says:

    “I don’t know what’s scarier about the future: the Red Lord of Darkness or the United World government. Hard to choose.”

  10. Lost Chauncy Says:

    That gave me a good chuckle.

    Off the cuff I’m gonna say Syberia I & II. The already engaging story was greatly enhanced by well written, and well voice-acted characters. But there was something much more to it that just appealed to me…the idea of setting out to do something fairly mundane and being swept into a great adventure.

    As for Myst: Just downloaded REALMyst a short time ago. When I finally carve out some time to play it that will be my first play-through ever. Read the book, but have never played the game (and I was around during the original heyday).

  11. Matt Says:

    I am extremely shallow 🙂 , but I LOVED the first few Syphon Filter games for story. Besides that, I have always been more of a classic/retro guy I think. I would rather play the LCD Mattel Electronics Dungeons and Dragons game than Portal. Seriously.

  12. Geoff V. Says:

    Great topic Benj!

  13. Benj Edwards Says:

    Thanks, Geoff. I love reading everyone’s replies. Keep ’em coming.

  14. Multimedia Mike Says:

    Best video game storyline ever? Easy: Blaster Master (NES): Man’s pet frog escapes, hops out to the backyard where a radioactive crate has emerged from the earth, instantly mutates, falls through to the underground, man pursues down the hole, finds a super-tank at the bottom, suits up with the corresponding power armor and proceeds to search for his pet frog.

    Now that I’ve had 20 years to think about it, I wonder if something got lost in the translation.

  15. Xyzzy of ye olde UDIC Says:

    I’d have to vote for Ultima V: Warriors Of Destiny. Among other things, it was an excellent illustration of the differences between internally-motivated situational ethics vs. following one-size-fits-all dictates of an authority figure, their effects on society & individuals, how people that think they’re doing the right thing can become horribly corrupted, etc. It wasn’t just a backstory (as in most games), either — it was the foundation for most of what the player did or encountered. More info here:

    In other words, it wasn’t like most other games, which were characterized by Richard Garriott as:
    “You start the game as the great hero. (You know this because you are told so in the instructions.) You job is to kill the big evil guy. (Also, from the instructions.) You pillage and plunder everyone and everything to become strong for your final battle. (Of course the supposed bad guy is doing no evil right now, but you sure are.) When ready at last, you kill the ‘bad guy’ who has been sitting there peacefully waiting.”

  16. Xyzzy of ye olde UDIC Says:

    Also, am I the only one raising my eyebrows over the shape/location of the weapon that the Hyper Lode Runner guy is firing a glowing white substance out of? (I have heard some artists do things like that for their own amusement, knowing a kid — okay, or someone really pure-minded, which I am not — would never notice.)

  17. Xyzzy of ye olde UDIC Says:

    (Wait, no, the stuff he’s firing out is bright yellow, surrounded by white. Still, you get my drift. If that wasn’t intentional, it sure seems like an unfortunate placement…!)

  18. Jay Says:

    Ah, mutant cyborg zombies. They must be the truly dangerous kind.

    @Multimedia Mike: Oddly enough, that story was completely invented for the US version of Blaster Master. The original (called Meta Fight) had a completely different and much more pedestrian storyline. Where the frog weirdness came from is anyone’s guess. (Maybe someone at Sunsoft decided to see what they could get away with.)

    And best story: Final Fantasy VI (3 US). No game’s plot, before or since, has ever brought me to tears. It did, twice.

  19. Spencer Says:

    Final Fantasy 10 or Metal Gear Solid. That’s my own personal opinion from the games that I have played.

  20. DPenn Says:

    DPenn’s 5 cents — Thief: The Dark Project. Off the top of my head, it’s hard to point to a game that tells a groundbreaking story, but I enjoy the world created for Thief, the strange beats in the plot and the little notes scattered throughout the game that flesh out the people who inhabit it.

    I also think of Portal as a finely crafted short story, or its video game equivalent.

  21. DPenn Says:

    I guess that’s supposed to be “two cents.” Oh well, you got three additional cents.

  22. Ant Says:

    I loved Lode Runner as a kid, but on Apple 2 machines. I never liked the newer ones though. 🙁

  23. DPenn Says:

    OMG. Forgot Planescape: Torment. It took the tired “I’m an amnesiac thrust into a violent world” thing and ran with it, crossed the finish line and put it on a trophy shelf in its den.

  24. Joe Says:

    I have to agree with Jay, FFVI (III in the US) had by far the best story of a game IMO.

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