CES '08: XBLA digging up Lode Runner

Independent developer Tozai revamping classic platformer with polygonal graphics for release later this year on the Xbox 360.


LAS VEGAS---A pretty easy way to gauge gamers' ages is to ask them if they played Lode Runner when it first came out. Today, though, gamers both young and old rejoiced at the announcement that the classic platformer is coming to Xbox Live Arcade later this year.

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Today at Microsoft's tent-enclosed booth at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show, Xbox Live Arcade product manager Jeremy Wacksman showed off the XBLA Lode Runner to GameSpot. While Brøderbund's original was a primitive 2D platformer with flat graphics, the new version--from independent developer Tozai--reimagines the game in polygon form.

That said, the new Lode Runner offers nearly the same evade-and-collect gameplay that made the original a hit--in the primary journey mode, anyway. The revised edition adds two-person online or offline co-op, much like that found in other Xbox Live Arcade classic titles like Golden Axe.

Wacksman also said new version adds two other modes. First up is puzzle, which will have up to two players use their characters' ground-blasting ability to move elaborately stacked blocks and collect ore. The final mode, called hang on, will challenge up to four players to outlast one another as they are hit by wave after wave of endless foes. In a twist, players who die will come back to life as a reanimated zombie bent on killing the surviving players.

Last but not least, the XBLA Lode Runner will come with a timeline-based text history of the game, which first became popular in 1983 on the Apple II computer. Since then, it has appeared on nearly a dozen systems, including the Commodore 64, PC, NES, Game Boy, and Nintendo DS.

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