I’ve only recently acquired a Nintendo Entertainment System. Looking around the local Kay-Bee Toys, I found several options. Among the shooters, the adventures, the puzzles, and the weirdness, I found a gem: The 3-D Battles of World Runner.
The player begins the game on a vibrant, earth-like planet with one mission: run! As the Runner travels through the world known as Uno, he runs into pillars to find power-ups, avoids ghosts flying in the sky, runs past little green men on the ground, and leaps over vast gaps.
At the end of the stage, a giant worm-creature attacks! The worm is one iteration of a massive space creature Grax, the alien serpent-beast, bent on taking over the galaxy.
The player finds themselves running toward a ringed planet on stage 2, a gray, robot-filled stage called Toro, where we also meet the dreaded hand enemies. The hands rise up to block the runner and stop him dead in his tracks. I made it all the way to stage 2-3 before I was lulled into a false sense of security by an invincibility power-up and died at the hands of an alien creature.
In stage 3, Caverno, the difficulty really heats up as the player is forced to time their jumps onto little trampolines on both land and in the gaps themselves! I proceeded to plummet to my death numerous times in this stage, mentally singing Queen’s 1980 hit, Another One Bites the Dust each time.
From here on out, the game continues to become progressively difficult, but not in a frustrating way. Stage 4, Quanto, introduces the player to several new enemies set against a green background, while the following stages: Temero (Stage 5), Aquo (Stage 6), Ivinso (Stage 7), and Fino (Stage 8) all lead the player across massive gaps, large numbers of enemies all leading up to a final confrontation with the evil Grax.
The player’s journey across Solar System #517 is fraught with peril, so it’s nice to have some power-ups. Our runner can hit or jump on green pillars to obtain a rocket, which allows him to fire a laser pulse, and a potion, which renders him impervious to one hit. Unfortunately, getting hit removes both the effects of the potion and the use of your laser, so be careful!
Additionally, there’s an invincibility power-up and a mushroom that kills you in one hit, contrary to everything Super Mario has taught us. The music is happy and fun, though somewhat repetitive. It serves as a wonderful backdrop to the gameplay and the beautiful graphics, which combined with smooth controls makes The 3-D Battles of WorldRunner a must-play for any Nintendo owner.
3D Battles of the Worldrunner