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Lode Runner Found and Released!


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#1 Atari Smeghead OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:10 PM

Hi everyone!

Lance at Video 61 has found yet another game/demo on an old Atari Corp hard drive for the Atari Lynx!

Lode Runner!

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy before he starts selling to the general public, and here's what I have found:

Although Lance is going to call it an incomplete demo of the game, (so he doesn't get angry emails) I believe it to be mostly complete. The gameplay seems to be all programmed... You can climb ladders, move along ropes and dig holes for the baddies to fall in. The enemy A-I, while rudimentary (they always run directly at you) appears to be solid. I have not had the game crash, but I have not played it a lot.
It has no music, but it does have sound in-game, when you pick up the pellets, when you die, etc. When you exhaust all your lives, you get the GAME OVER screen and you can restart it with the A button.

But here's the most exciting part... I found that when you hit the PAUSE button, the game skips to the next level without a loss of life. So, I went ahead and continued to hit PAUSE to see how far it would go. I got to level 150, with (as far as I can tell) 150 different, unique levels! After that, level 151 is the same as level 1, so you can continue to play even after 150 levels! I don't know if the skill level increases... I didn't check that. I also do not know if all 150 levels are complete, playable and beatable... they look to be, but I (and Lance) make no promises. But keep in mind that if a level is incomplete/unbeatable for whatever reason, all you need to do is hit PAUSE and jump to the next level!

Although I was never much of a Lode Runner fan on the A8, I'm pleased with this new Lynx title! It's a great addition to the library.

Video 61 is selling it at the same price as the other new releases (Pounce, etc) so it'll be $49.95, with free shipping. He doesn't have it listed on his website yet, last I looked.

***Keep in mind that I have absolutely no affiliation with Lance or Video 61. I am doing this as a favor to Lance, who was kind enough to sell me a copy before the general public.***

Here are some screen shots (These might be huge... sorry if they are):

Lode_Runner_Box.jpg
Lode_Runner_Cart.jpg
Lode_Runner_Title_Screen.jpg
Lode_Runner_Screen.jpg

Cheers,
Smeg

#2 Crazy Climber OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:15 PM

Sweet! Looks very cool, I am a Lode Runner fan :cool:

#3 Horst OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:37 PM

Very cool! Too bad I don't have any money :(

#4 EricDeLee OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:07 PM

WOW! Very nice and exciting! I've got to buy that as well! :)

150 levels eh?

#5 Sauron OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:07 PM

AWESOME!!!! I've always loved that game, and I remember hearing back at some point that there was a playable version for the Lynx floating around somewhere.

From what you've described, it sounds like the game is pretty much complete. No other versions that I've played (Atari 8bit, Apple II) had music during the game either, and I believe the standard version of Lode Runner came with 150 levels, although I may not be remembering correctly. The enemy AI sounds pretty standard as well. I'll definitely be ordering a copy once it's listed. :)

#6 Nukey Shay OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:12 PM

150 levels eh?


That is the number of levels in the original computer game. The layout shown on the screenshot above is present on 8-bit versions. And yeah, the levels are supposed to wrap back down to the first once you've played past level 150.

#7 atari2600land OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:16 PM

Where's the ROM for the Handy emulator?

#8 Allan OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:38 PM

Wow, cool. Do you know if that was the only thing Lance found on the Atari drive?

Allan

#9 Mitch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:47 PM

Where's the ROM for the Handy emulator?


It's been floating around for quite a while. I'm not sure if it's any different than the one Lance is selling though.
http://www.atariage....areLabelID=1986

Mitch

#10 EricDeLee OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:30 AM

I noticed the ROM last night... but I usually don't play the roms for lynx games, so I didn't know if that was a demo or what.

#11 Songbird OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:02 AM

As noted on the AtariAge page linked above, Kurt Olsen did this port. He was a Lynx fan back in the mid-90's that really helped me get going in the early days. I think he even sent me my first PC-to-Lynx cable. :) He did a really nice job with the game.

#12 matashen OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:15 AM

As noted on the AtariAge page linked above, Kurt Olsen did this port. He was a Lynx fan back in the mid-90's that really helped me get going in the early days. I think he even sent me my first PC-to-Lynx cable. :) He did a really nice job with the game.


Does Kurt Olsen already program for the Lynx ?

Greatings Matthias

#13 Atari Smeghead OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:21 PM

Wow, cool. Do you know if that was the only thing Lance found on the Atari drive?

Allan


Hi Allan,

Nope, I have no idea. But I have a funny feeling that he will end up finding other partial games/demos as time goes by. If I remember correctly, the hard drive in his possession has lots of files, but the names weren't very descriptive, like "File A, File B" etc. So he has to go through them one file at a time, in his free time. (Er... it's also possible I'm making this all up. I can't seem to find the email he sent me. Maybe he'll stop by and enlighten us.)

So, I'm not holding my breath, but with any luck, we will see other stuff someday.

Cheers,
Smeg

#14 Atari Smeghead OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:47 PM

150 levels eh?


Yup. Here is level 150...
Lode_Runner_Lvl_150.jpg

Cheers,
Smeg

Attached Thumbnails

  • Lode_Runner_Lvl_150.jpg


#15 ZylonBane OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:04 PM

The enemy A-I, while rudimentary (they always run directly at you) appears to be solid.

Ever played the original 8-bit Lode Runner? That's the AI in a nutshell. It's supposed to be that way, because Lode Runner is almost more of a puzzle game than an action game. Enemy movement is intentionally simple and predictable.

#16 Atari Smeghead OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:45 PM

...and for as much disclosure as I can give, I have been playing this game for a few days and I kinda suck at it. I have only been able to complete levels 1 and 2... after you pick up all the pellets/gold pieces/whatever they're called, a ladder comes down and you can proceed to the next level. I've tried a few more levels at random, but I can't get all the pellets before I get caught by a baddie.

I did see/try a couple of levels that I have no idea how to complete. Take a look at this one:

Lode_Runner_Lvl_6.jpg

I tried to blast thru to get to that pellet on the lower left, but I couldn't figure out how. I wonder if this level is the same as the A8 version.

Here are a few more random levels:

Lode_Runner_Lvl_34.jpg Lode_Runner_Lvl_44.jpg
Lode_Runner_Lvl_101.jpg Lode_Runner_Lvl_151.jpg

Cheers,
Smeg

#17 Sauron OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:57 PM

All of those levels look exactly the same as levels from the A8 version. It looks like it's a pretty exact port. I haven't seen any variations in the game between any of the other ports, at least in regards to the level design and gameplay. Too bad they couldn't have included Championship Lode Runner as well...

#18 Songbird OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:45 PM

All of those levels look exactly the same as levels from the A8 version. It looks like it's a pretty exact port. I haven't seen any variations in the game between any of the other ports, at least in regards to the level design and gameplay.

It's not a port as in a rewrite. It's a port in the sense he took the actual A8 game binary, and modified it to work on the Lynx. Both use the 65c02 processor, so this was a relatively easy (but still quite impressive) task if you were familiar with both A8 hardware and Lynx hardware.

That's also why some of the user interface is klunky... he didn't spend time mapping the buttons in the most intuitive way, he just tied A8 keys to Lynx keys so it would work. Patching binaries is a lot of work, I can attest to that firsthand. ;)

Too bad they couldn't have included Championship Lode Runner as well...

He did port the Champ levels as well, but as I recall it was a separate binary, since he did this all as a RAM load and he couldn't fit both sets of levels in 64KB.

#19 Nukey Shay OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:05 AM

I did see/try a couple of levels that I have no idea how to complete. Take a look at this one:

Lode_Runner_Lvl_6.jpg

I tried to blast thru to get to that pellet on the lower left, but I couldn't figure out how. I wonder if this level is the same as the A8 version.


As stated before, LR is a puzzle game. That "lode" in question can be collected by digging 6 pits. A relatively easy problem.

A small diagram, H = ladder, X = block, L = target lode

H
HXXXXXH
HXXXXXH
HXXLXXH
XXXXXXX

To collect it, stand near the right ladder and dig the pits in this order (blasting to the left)...one after the other...

H
HXXX12H
HXXX34H
HXXL56H
XXXXXXX

LR allows you to dig up to 7 pits at a time before they begin filling in. In this case, you only need 4 at a time (the 2 you are digging and the 2 you are using to stand on to dig). More advanced problems require you to wait for specific dug holes to begin filling in before you dig others (in addition to digging in a specific order)...or using fallen "Bungling guards" to walk on or collect otherwise unobtainable lodes. Also, LR includes "trapdoors" in some levels. These look just like blocks, but you cannot dig through them. Trying to stand on top of a trapdoor will cause you to fall straight through. You cannot walk into a trapdoor block from the left or right. That "O"-shaped level utilizes trapdoors...and is a pretty easy one.

#20 jaguar_fan OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:44 AM

Hi everyone!

Lance at Video 61 has found yet another game/demo on an old Atari Corp hard drive for the Atari Lynx!

Lode Runner!

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy before he starts selling to the general public, and here's what I have found:

Although Lance is going to call it an incomplete demo of the game, (so he doesn't get angry emails) I believe it to be mostly complete. The gameplay seems to be all programmed... You can climb ladders, move along ropes and dig holes for the baddies to fall in. The enemy A-I, while rudimentary (they always run directly at you) appears to be solid. I have not had the game crash, but I have not played it a lot.
It has no music, but it does have sound in-game, when you pick up the pellets, when you die, etc. When you exhaust all your lives, you get the GAME OVER screen and you can restart it with the A button.

But here's the most exciting part... I found that when you hit the PAUSE button, the game skips to the next level without a loss of life. So, I went ahead and continued to hit PAUSE to see how far it would go. I got to level 150, with (as far as I can tell) 150 different, unique levels! After that, level 151 is the same as level 1, so you can continue to play even after 150 levels! I don't know if the skill level increases... I didn't check that. I also do not know if all 150 levels are complete, playable and beatable... they look to be, but I (and Lance) make no promises. But keep in mind that if a level is incomplete/unbeatable for whatever reason, all you need to do is hit PAUSE and jump to the next level!

Although I was never much of a Lode Runner fan on the A8, I'm pleased with this new Lynx title! It's a great addition to the library.

Video 61 is selling it at the same price as the other new releases (Pounce, etc) so it'll be $49.95, with free shipping. He doesn't have it listed on his website yet, last I looked.

***Keep in mind that I have absolutely no affiliation with Lance or Video 61. I am doing this as a favor to Lance, who was kind enough to sell me a copy before the general public.***

Cheers,
Smeg



Wow, great find.

Thanks for sharing your review with us.

#21 Sauron OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:11 PM

It's not a port as in a rewrite. It's a port in the sense he took the actual A8 game binary, and modified it to work on the Lynx. Both use the 65c02 processor, so this was a relatively easy (but still quite impressive) task if you were familiar with both A8 hardware and Lynx hardware.

That's also why some of the user interface is klunky... he didn't spend time mapping the buttons in the most intuitive way, he just tied A8 keys to Lynx keys so it would work. Patching binaries is a lot of work, I can attest to that firsthand. ;)


Good info to know. I haven't tried out the image yet in Handy (don't have it on my current PC yet), but I wouldn't imagine it should be too bad since the controls aren't overly complicated.

He did port the Champ levels as well, but as I recall it was a separate binary, since he did this all as a RAM load and he couldn't fit both sets of levels in 64KB.


Wow, sounds like he was a step ahead. Do you know when he completed the ports, and if he had planned on releasing them in cart form?

#22 SwedenLynxer OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:33 PM

Nice that this game is being made available to the Lynx community.......I guess.

But maybe Video61 should have asked Kurt Olsen first, before selling copys and making money of his game? And if this indeed is a complete game, with all 150 levels included etc, is it not kind of sad that it never was released many years ago in a proper maner. Then again I guess Kurt Olsen never had any permission to port Lode Runner to the Lynx in the first place? Just a few of my thoughts.

#23 Atari Smeghead OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:19 AM

Ever played the original 8-bit Lode Runner? That's the AI in a nutshell. It's supposed to be that way, because Lode Runner is almost more of a puzzle game than an action game. Enemy movement is intentionally simple and predictable.


Y'know, I never really did. Not sure why. I have a copy, I'm pretty sure. It's probably cuz I wasn't very good at it right off the bat, so I didn't get into it enough to try to get better. I probably got frustrated, threw the controller across the room like I do, and went on to play a game of Archon or Galactic Chase... assuming of course I didn't break the joystick. :roll:

But yes, having played it a bit on the Lynx, I'm seeing what you mean. Knowing what the baddies are going to do helps to map out a pattern. So I'm getting the fun of it, now.

Cheers,
Smeg

#24 Atari Smeghead OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:22 AM

As stated before, LR is a puzzle game. That "lode" in question can be collected by digging 6 pits. A relatively easy problem.


Hey, thanks for taking the time to map it out and explain it to me. It makes sense that it would be easy enough, since it is only level 6.

And yeah, the levels are supposed to wrap back down to the first once you've played past level 150.


Oh, and after I PAUSED it up to level 151 to take the pic, I went ahead and played that level. I beat it as easily as I did level 1, so it doesn't look like the AI gets any better/faster.

Cheers,
Smeg

Edited by Atari Smeghead, Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:26 AM.


#25 Songbird OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:45 PM

Good info to know. I haven't tried out the image yet in Handy (don't have it on my current PC yet), but I wouldn't imagine it should be too bad since the controls aren't overly complicated.

Oh, the gameplay is fantastic. Joypad, A, and B all do what you'd expect. It's the other keys -- Opt 1, Pause, Reset, etc. -- that aren't as refined.

Wow, sounds like he was a step ahead. Do you know when he completed the ports, and if he had planned on releasing them in cart form?

It was well over a decade ago. Early 1996 I think. He never pursued a plan to release anything on cart, because none of us (except maybe 42Bastian ;) ) were even close to building PCBs back at that time. I lost contact with Kurt probably a year or two later, and haven't been able to get back in touch even though I've tried several times.




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