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LODE RUNNER : THE DIG FIGHT (VERSION B)

PSIKYO 2000



Description:

Lode Runner: The Dig Fight is based on the original Lode Runner created by Douglas E. Smith in 1983.

Not too many people seem to know about this little gem in MAME. While this was made in 2000, the Lode Runner series has been in existence since the 1980's. During that gap, several variations and remakes of the game were made for a variety of home and computer consoles, much like Tetris, sort of. Recently a remake of the game was release for the GameBoy Advance.

Just like the original, the goal of the game is to get all the gold within the stage. Once you get them all, an exit will appear for you to clear the stage and advance to the next. Of course getting all the gold isn't as easy as it sounds.

For one, there's the enemies chasing you. Their not too smart and follow certain patterns that you can utilize for your advantage. But like Pac-Man, if you kill them, they simply reappear somewhere else. To get them to stop pestering you, you need to trap them.

The next difficulty are the placement of the golds themselves. Early on, golds might be right there for the taking, but in later and more difficult levels, it may not. Golds may be place between walls, or deep within platforms, requiring a bit of clever thinking to get. Check out the screenshots.

In the game you are the Lode Runner. You can run left and right, climb ladders vertically, and swing along poles horizontally, as well as fall straight down. Besides movement, you have one, and only one ability, your gun. It's no ordinary gun and cannot even shoot down enemies. Instead, what it can do, is zap and make disappear, the ground platform block to the left and to the right of you. Look at the 2nd screenshot to get an idea. Basically you make holes into the ground. By doing this you can do all sorts of stuff. You can trap enemies temporarily, you can fall down in it to a platform beneath it, or shot a series of holes to get the gold beneath. If you don't understand this, simply play the game and watch the attract mode. You can learn so much just by sitting and watching the computer play. Or just play the game yourself.

The series has been known much less for its platform oriented nature, but more so for its puzzle nature. Sure the first few levels may be brain-dead easy to figure out. But as you advance, they get a lot tougher. When I say a lot, I mean a LOT.

The music is fabulous as well. I love the tune played during each cut-scenes. Short, but so so catchy. I find myself humming it all the time.

The game is 2-player as well. The both of you can battle against one another in fight mode or you can combine forces in a co-op play mode.

Gameplay: 5/5
Difficulty: 5/5
Artwork: 4/5


LODE RUNNER : THE DIG FIGHT (VERSION B)
MINI FAQ

How many levels: There are 7 levels to select from. Only one level per credit. The first 2 have 6 stages, while the other 5 have 12 stages. The first level has a difficulty of 1, the easiest. Second has a difficulty of 2 and so on. The 7th level, of course, has a difficulty of 7, which is the hardest. All in all, there's a total of 72 stages. Quite a lot, isn't it.

Each level has its own story as well. As you beat certain stages you see cut-scenes that advances the story. Of course, the story finishes when you beat the last stage of that particular level.

What are the controls: The D-Pad is for movement. Button 1 shots the ground to the left. Button 2 shots the ground to the right. If you already made a hole, you can shot it again to make it solid once more. Note that some platform blocks cannot disappear if you shot it. Press Start to restart the stage.

Tips:

  • Enemies can get trap in a stage with no where to go. You can also get trap as well. If this happens, which will be often, hit the Start button to restart the stage all over.
  • The only thing that enemies can do is move. Their movements replicates the lode runner. They have no means of attack. They can only harm you by making contact with you.
  • When you shot down the ground to make a hole, know that the hole will turn back solid within 5 to 6 seconds.
  • When an enemy falls into a hole that you made, they are able to climb out of it within about 3 to 4 seconds. That is unless the hole solidifies while they are still in it. In that case, the enemy dies there and reappears again somewhere else.
  • Unlike the original, the only way you can lose is if time runs out. You can make contact with the enemy and still not die if there is still time on the clock. You start out with 3 minutes. Time is rewarded when you get the clock item (+60 seconds) within a stage, or by exiting and finishing a stage (+120 seconds). The maximum time that you can have is 6 minutes. 
  • Time penalties are given whenever you touch an enemy (-60 seconds), have to restart a stage (-10 seconds), or get killed if you are in a hole that you made that is turning back into solid (-60 seconds).
  • When an enemy touches you, you lose time as stated above. Also, you are momentarily immobilized for a few seconds. That is, until any nearby enemy runs the hell away from you.
  • If you happen to fall onto an enemy's head, you can stand on it, and not be penalized for contact.
  • If an enemy touches a gold, it can carry it as it moves though the stage. If you trap an enemy with a hole you made, the enemy will fall into the hole, but the gold will stay on top of the surface for you to take. Enemies can only carry one gold at a time. They cannot carry a gold for long periods of time and will likely drop it if they held it for too long.
  • To get golds deep within platforms, make a series of holes on the surface and work your way down. In a sense, form staircases.
  • Timing is key to later success.
  • Enemies are stupid. Learn their patterns and take advantage of them.
  • Watch the attract mode. I learned so much from it and you can too. You learn simple, yet valuable, techniques that you may have not realized you could do. It really shows you the  cleverness of the game and series.
I like this game. What other games are similar to this: If you enjoy this variation of the Lode Runner series, I suggest and highly recommend that you play the other 4 Lode Runner games available in MAME as well. Each of them were made in the mid 1980s. One thing I should tell you is that these games are much harder than The Dig Fight. The puzzles aren't that hard at all, though the enemies can be a real pain. There are more enemies per stage, enemies are faster, and enemies are much more annoying. You really have to make use of the enemy's patterns in order to beat many of the stages in these games.
Anything else: Versions:

There are two versions of the game: the first version is A, and the later and final version is B. This page describes version B of the game.

Game menus, level system, and color scheme are different between the 2 versions. There might be more as well.

Two Players:

In 2-players mode, the both of you battle against one another within the level. (Fight mode)

However, if you go to the Dip Switch menu, you can change the 2-player mode from a fight mode into a co-op mode. In this mode, both players cooperate with each other in beating each stage.

Go to Game Settings and select Single or Together mode under Game Mode. Either one enables co-op mode. Both players play using the same screen. Single mode enables only one monitor while Together mode enables both so that 2 people can play on one monitor and another 2 can play on the other. 

There are a bunch of new levels in both mode as well. It's like a whole new game by itself.

Maintenance Code:

Go to the Dip Switch menu and click on Maintenance code. Enter in 50820. You will gain access to a whole lot of new features and settings that isn't normally available.

Credits to Paul Priest for providing me with the information concerning the 2-players mode and the differences between versions.