Championship Lode Runner is the sequel to the popular game Lode Runner. It's got one-third of the levels but a lot more challenge per level. The story: The Bungeling Empire once again stole a bunch of gold chests(they look more like wine barrels) and you are trying to get them back from the robots(which look more like American Indians) by climbing up and down stairs, across ropes, and over cement and bricks. This time they've made fifty extra-tough levels, although much else is the same(scoring, rules, etc.) However, the computer gives you a nice message at the end for each level you've completed. Although Championship Lode Runner doesn't have some of the features of Lode Runner, they would be redundant and are thus excluded to save memory. Challenge: Lode Runner requires you to solve puzzles and run around to keep alive at the same time. There are some puzzles where you no longer can solve the level--or where you must do something immediately, or last of all, or where you can't kill a robot because he’ll pop back up in the wrong place--aggravating at first, but it quickly adds to the addiction. Maybe you’ll have to jump on or walk over a falling robot or just outrun them. There's always a way if you're careful. You also need to avoid falling down a hole and getting stuck there. All the levels seem to require a different trick, which is good--you never feel you're doing the same thing over and over. For some levels, there was even trial-and-error, which is a little scary when you only have so many lives to solve the game before you have to restart from the first level. Graphics: Not bad. You can see your character and the robots running, and although there are only so many different sorts of "terrain"(9 icons total) the design is so clever that some of these look really neat. Levels can look like buildings, and there is one in the shape of a musical note. And if you think you can do better, pull out the original Lode Runner and edit a level there and try to solve it on your own. Controls: six keys right next to each other. Easy to get the hang of. You can even speed up/slow down the game. One nice feature is saving the game, which you couldn't do in the original version, although the second time you recall a saved game, you lose a “life,” which means you can’t just hack away at a level--you have to plan in advance. You can still pause, which really comes in handy. You can also use a joystick, but a keyboard is easier, and somehow it fits in with the “no-frills” appearance of the game. Replayability: you bet! Each level seems to have its own twist. Although you can't play any one level over again(unless you've saved the level there), it's fun to re-play some of the tricks. I got a certificate mailed to me after solving all 50 levels, and although I can't get one again, I still want to go back to play the levels. Some day. Championship Lode Runner is a true classic. Broderbund put a lot of thought into the levels, and they are tough to unravel. It’s one of those games that have a simple yet unique premise but unlimited potential for creativity.
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