I have fond memories of playing Lode Runner as a pre-teen/teenager on my dad’s old computer. As a puzzle game, it could be very addictive! I even remember having a dream about how to solve one particular level I was stuck on.
The premise of the game is that you are a treasure hunter (depicted as a little white pixilated silhouette) who is underground trying collect chests of gold and climb to the surface. Once all chests are collected on a particular level, an exit ladder appears (complete with a little victory ditty) to allow you to climb to the next level.
There are ladders, ropes to swing across, trap doors, and layers of bricks that you can dig through. The catch is that holes eventually fill up, and if you get caught in one, you lose one life.
There are also varying numbers of thieves/guards that are competing with you to collect the gold on each level (some levels have no guards, but the puzzle on how best to dig out the gold is more complicated on those levels). They are little blue men, and if one touches you, you lose one life. If they touch a chest of gold before you do, they steal it. You can only steal it back by digging a hole for them
to fall in, which causes them to drop the chest. They can climb out after a certain set time, but the trick is to time it so that the hole closes up before they wiggle out, while not getting caught you. That way, they reappear at the top of the screen and fall back into the room. Sometimes you can arrange it so they are trapped in a different part of the room than you when they fall back into screen – this vastly simplifies your task!
Graphics are pretty simple. There are basically four colors: white for ladders and ropes and you, blue for the guards, brown for treasures, red for the bricks. Game play can be controlled through the keyboard or a joystick. In either case, you have a choice of setting your dig function to dig ahead of you or dig behind you. It’s important to remember which setting you are on so you don’t unwittingly walk into your own trap!
There is seemingly an infinite variety of levels and puzzles, and in the version I remember, you could even build and save your own levels, including how many guards and treasures were in the room with you! This leads to hours of diversion.