Few games have a history as deep as Lode Runner's. The game has gone from its roots on computers like the Apple II and the Atari 800, to 8-bit console systems like the NES. It also appeared in arcades. But most of these versions kept the same basic gameplay: Get all the gold, avoid the monks, and dig lots and lots of holes. Lode Runner 3-D is a major departure from the gameplay that has served the Lode Runner series so well for more than a decade. Sure, you may still be getting gold, avoiding monks, and digging a ton of holes, but bringing the series into 3D changes enough to make it only loosely feel like the older games, and the resulting game manages to be interesting, though not nearly as addictive as other games in the genre.
A good portion of the levels in Lode Runner 3-D is sans monks. These levels give the game a much slower, more cerebral feel. You won't just be running around burying monks and quickly grabbing all the gold. Instead, these levels force you to think before you act. Even the levels that do have the monks move at a fairly slow pace, mostly due to the deliberately dopey monk AI. It's a good thing the monks aren't smarter, because if they were given more than half an electronic brain, the game would be just about impossible. As it stands, there are already several levels in the game that are hard enough to warrant kicking in your TV screen.
The game is broken up into five different worlds. Each one gets a bit more complicated than the last, introducing new obstacles and objects to work with. To progress to the next world, you must find five cards in the previous world. You can find the five cards without completing every level in a world, so you can occasionally skip ahead to a different world if the level you're currently on is giving you too much trouble.
Graphically, Lode Runner 3-D is adequate, but nothing really stands out - except for the occasionally troublesome camera angles. You do have camera control, but it isn't quite as sticky as it should be; instead, it wanders back to the default view without your permission. The music is, for the most part, upbeat and quite generic. The game controls reasonably well, but you'll occasionally get stuck on corners and curves.
Lode Runner 3-D is by no means a bad game - the game is long and challenging. However, it's an easy game to put down, and a hard puzzle game to get addicted to. You'll definitely want to play this one before purchasing it.