Saturday 30 May 2015

The 3-D Battles of WorldRunner (NES review)

Developer: Square
Publisher: Acclaim
Released: 1987

The 3-D Battles of WorldRunner is a third-person rail-shooter and platformer.

You control Jack who automatically runs along the level and you must avoid enemies and obstacles while jumping over gaps. You can adjust your speed by pressing the d-pad Up or Down and the longer you hold the A button the further you'll jump. At certain points you'll come across pillars and if you bump into them they'll drop useful items such as extra lives, invincibility and missiles that you can fire. The first world isn't too taxing and it's entertaining as new enemies are gradually brought into the mix. Once you've passed four sections you'll face a boss; the same one appears throughout which is a shame but it's still a lot of fun. It's inspired by Space Harrier and you must shoot as the boss sways towards the front and back of the screen. These are a real highlight and help to break up the action. There are some really weird enemies throughout including hand icons that stop you in your tracks and static frogs that you need to bump into to clear large gaps! The difficulty becomes excruciating in World 5 and the game starts to beat the living daylights out of you! It features purple blobs that home in on you and they appear out of nowhere, giving you no chance to react. As you progress further the action gets faster and more manic and the 'fun' factor is thrown out of the window in place of frustrating gameplay. There's too much trial and error and many sections have unintuitive features that are impossible to predict without many deaths. The music is extremely repetitive and will have you reaching for the mute button!

The 3-D Battles of WorldRunner is a game I really wanted to love as it's a cross between the twitch gameplay of Trailblazer, the art style of Fantasy Zone and the action of Space Harrier. The first half of the game is a blast but it eventually becomes way too difficult and starts to wear out its welcome.

Random trivia: Pressing the Select button during a level allows you to access a 3D version of the game. It doesn't work terribly well but it'll give you an excuse to wear the amazing red and blue glasses!

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