Lode Runner - The Legend Returns

Microsoft Windows CD published 25 years ago by Sierra On-Line, Inc.

Not listed in MAME yet.


Lode Runner - The Legend Returns © 1994 Sierra.

A few traces of a storyline are present in the game. Your character is named Jake Peril (who wears a gray suit), although a second player can play as his identical partner, Wes Reckless (who wears a blue suit), who can be played during two-player cooperative levels and head-to-head hotseat play. In this reincarnation of Lode Runner, the robots of the original game are skeletal "mad monks" who wear red robes. The game's manual explains that Jake, and optionally Wes, travel to unknown underground worlds in the hopes of scavenging the untold golden treasures that litter the game's levels. At the end of the game, Jake is seen in the Technological world calling an elevator to the surface, eagerly waiting while the credits roll. The story concludes when the said elevator arrives but malfunctions, leaving Jake no other choice but to reach the surface using the presumably tall staircase.

The game takes place in a single frame with many different elements such as ground, ladders, treasure, items, and villains. The goal is to collect all the treasure, avoid touching any of the monks (who are the villains in the game), and making your way to the exit.

New elements introduced to this version include devices that can be picked up and used only one at a time. These devices include: snare traps, incapacitating sprays, jackhammers, two types of bombs, pickaxes (which make a pile of rock from the ceiling blocking your enemies), and buckets filled with goo that is used to cover surfaces and slow characters down.

The game also resurrects the original Lode Runner's several varieties of turf as well as introducing one more. In addition to the standard turf, which is susceptible to being dug through with the player's blaster, there are also the nostalgic bedrock (which can only be penetrated with a jackhammer or a larger bomb that, unlike small bombs, permanently destroyed turf or any other item in the level except the exit) and trapdoor turf, which resembles regular turf but which actually is empty space. Another form of turf is introduced: gooey turf, which slows the passage of both the player and his enemies.

The game contains 150 single-player levels broken up into ten different worlds: Moss Caverns (jungle), Fungus Delvings, the Lost City of Ur (ancient world), the Crystal Hoard, Winter's Dungeon (ice world), Skeleton's Keep (fossil world), Inferno's Playground (lava world), Shimmering Caverns (phosphorus world), the Shadowlands (dark world), and Meltdown Metropolis (industrial world). While most levels are set in the day, the levels of Shadowlands take place at night, when the entire screen is pitch black, save a moving circular patch of light within which the player is visible. There are also 30 duo-player levels. The two Shadowlands levels in this mode are not pitch black.

The game is an excellent example of the trap-em-up genre, which also includes games like "Heiankyo Alien" and "Space Panic".

A powerful level editor is included with the game, allowing several levels to constitute a single group of levels, as well as the ability to switch between different tile sets. The editor can choose to set the level in night or day, as well as change the background music regardless of the tile set.
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In 1993, Presage Software acquired the rights to the classic Lode Runner game by Doug E. Smith and set out to create a new, updated version for modern machines. The result of this effort was Lode Runner - The Legend Returns. This game did phenomenally well, winning many awards and leading to a sequel: "Lode Runner On-Line - The Mad Monks' Revenge".

As the Lead Programmer on both projects my responsiblity was to divide code responsiblities among the team, lead the coding effort in general, specifically shepherd the Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 efforts, contribute to the design, maintain the code base between two different remote offices, and deal directly with the client when called upon to do so. Also, all of the programmers were called upon to do design work insomuch as there was no significant paper design to begin with. Game elements were brainstormed, added and balanced exclusively by the programmers as needed, especially in the case of Lode Runner Online. My contributions to the ongoing design of Lode Runner led to my placement within the design department at Presage and to the many designs I created and contributed to while working there.

Lode Runner won many awards. In 1994, the same year that Myst won Games Magazine's Game of the Year and X-Com UFO Defense won Best Strategy Game, Lode Runner came in as Best New Arcade Game.


* Click the corner hotspots in this order Upper-Left, Lower-Right, Upper-Right, Lower-Left. Then type YOG or CTHULHU. You should hear a clang sound, and a cheat menu will now be enabled. Not only that, you can control monks by using the T-Y-U/G-H-J/B-N-M Keys, and use the TAB key to switch between monks and the character.

* If you've enabled cheats, go into the credits and once it starts scrolling, press "A". This reveals the "Secret Special Credits".


1. Lode Runner (1983)
2. Lode Runner - The Bungeling Strikes Back (1984)
3. Championship Lode Runner [Model HFC-CR] (1985, Nintendo Famicom)
3. Championship Lode Runner [Model HBS-G047C] (1985, MSX)
3. Championship Lode Runner [Sega My Card] [Model C-57] (1985, SG-1000)
3. Championship Lode Runner (1985, FM-7)
4. Lode Runner - Majin No Fukkatsu (1985)
5. Lode Runner II [Model HBS-G039C] (1985, MSX)
6. Lode Runner's Rescue (1985, Commodore C64)
7. Lode Runner - Teikoku Kara no Dasshutsu (1986)
8. Super Lode Runner [Model IFD-SLR] (1987, Nintendo Famicom Disk System)
8. Super Lode Runner [Model IM-03] (1987, MSX 2)
9. Hyper Lode Runner [Model DMG-HLA] (1989, Nintendo Game Boy)
10. Lode Runner - Lost Labyrinth [Model PV1004] (1990, NEC PC-Engine)
11. Battle Lode Runner [Model HC93054] (1993, NEC PC Engine)
12. Lode Runner Twin - Justy to Liberty no Daibouken [Model SHVC-7Z] (1994, Super Famicom)
13. Lode Runner - The Legend Returns (1994, Windows)
14. Lode Runner On-Line - The Mad Monks' Revenge (1995, PC [MS Windows 95])
15. Lode Runner - The Legend Returns [Model T-25101G] (1996, Sega Saturn)
16. Lode Runner 2 (1998, PC [Windows 95])
17. Power Lode Runner [Model SHVC-BPLJ-JPN] (1999, Super Famicom)
18. Lode Runner 3-D [Model NUS-NLRJ-JPN] (1999, Nintendo 64)
19. Lode Runner for WonderSwan [Model SWJ-BPR004] (2000, Bandai WonderSwan)
20. Lode Runner - Domdom Dan no Yabou [Model DMG-BXLJ-JPN] (2000, Nintendo Game Boy Colors)
21. Lode Runner 2 [SuperLite 1500 Series] [Model SLPM-86460] (2000, Sony PlayStation)
22. Lode Runner - The Dig Fight (2000)
23. Lode Runner [Model AGB-A39J-JPN] (2003, Nintendo Game Boy Advance)
24. Cubic Lode Runner [Hudson Selection Vol.1] [Model DOL-GQRJ-JPN] (2003, Nintendo GameCube)
24. Cubic Lode Runner [Hudson Selection Vol.1] [Model SLPM-62404] (2003, Sony PlayStation 2)


Developed by Presage Software.

Lead Programmer : Todd Daggert

See Goodies section.