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''Lode Runner'' is a {{Puzzle Platformer}} created by American Douglas E. Smith in his dorm room. In it, the titular Lode Runner must collect every piece of gold before escaping a stage. Each level has a handful of enemy {{mooks}} trying to protect the gold by picking it up themselves and catching the Runner, but they can be trapped (and forced to drop what they're carrying) by pits instantly dug into the platforms using a special gun. These holes regenerate over time, which can defeat enemies (or the player character) if they don't manage to climb out.

The original game, released in 1983 for the UsefulNotes/AppleII by Creator/{{Broderbund|Software}}, consisted of 150 levels and was one of the first games to include a LevelEditor. A myriad of ports and remakes have been released ever since by companies such as Creator/{{Sierra}}, [[Creator/NamcoBandai Bandai]], and Creator/HudsonSoft (mostly due to the NES version being [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff a resounding success in Japan]]). A true sequel, the aptly-named ''Lode Runner 2'', was released in 1998 for [[UsefulNotes/MicrosoftWindows Windows]] and [[UsefulNotes/AppleMacintosh Mac]].

!!Tropes in the ''Lode Runner'' series:

* AllThereInTheManual: The story, as is typical in these early games. Turns out the [[TheEmpire Bungeling Empire]] stole the gold from peace-loving people, so the Galactic Commando ("bounty hunter" in ''The Legend Returns'') known as Lode Runner is tasked with reclaiming it from the guards (later known as monks).
* ArtShift: Common in most versions, as the minimalist graphics were interpreted in different ways. Some even had an entirely different ExcusePlot to match, or replaced the characters and setting.
* AscendedGlitch: The enemies have an odd artificial intelligence. These quirks have to be exploited in ''Championship Lode Runner''.
* AttractMode: The original game showed gameplay from Stages 12, 31, and 11.
* BuriedAlive: One of the ways for players or enemies to get killed is to get buried inside regenerating bricks. Later games such as ''The Legend Returns'' even have the character scream in agony while being crushed to death.
* CollisionDamage: Touching enemies from the side or having them land on the player's head means instant death.
* CraniumRide: It's possible to stand on the enemies, and in some levels it is necessary to access platforms that are otherwise unreachable (the enemy mooks move more slowly than the player, even when falling, so the player can stand on their heads and walk off as they pass a platform).
* DistaffCounterpart: ''Lode Runner 2'' introduces the female Lode Runner, Jane, as a playable character. It's unknown what her relation is to Jake (the classic male one) besides the manual calling her his "companion", but if his jaw dropping in the opening FMV is any indication, she's supposed to be some FemmeFatale.
* EveryTenThousandPoints: Or every level in this case; completing a level nets the player an extra life.
* TheFaceOfTheSun: Some of the Wacky World levels in ''Lode Runner 2'' had a sun which would usually look sort of confused, and occasionally would laugh strangely for no apparent reason.
* FakePlatform: There are trap blocks that look like normal bricks, but can be fallen through ([[DirectionallySolidPlatforms while remaining solid when approached from either side]]).
* HardModeFiller: In some ports of the original ''Lode Runner'', the levels eventually begin repeating themselves (for example, the UsefulNotes/{{Commodore 64}} cartridge version only has seventeen distinct level layouts), but with faster monks.
* HelloInsertNameHere: ''Lode Runner 2'' has the default name of "Digmo," although the manual itself provides different names for each gender.
* HubLevel: The World Hub in ''Lode Runner 2''.
* JumpPhysics: Averted. The player cannot jump, only fall.
* KingMook: In ''Lode Runner 3-D'', the main antagonist is shown as the mad Emperor Monk.
* LevelEditor: It really wouldn't be ''Lode Runner'' without it, since the original game is well-known for having one of the first custom level editors. Most ports retained this feature, although the worldwide {{NES}} port did not allow the player to save custom level data since the Data Recorder add-on [[NoExportForYou was not released outside Japan]].
* LogoJoke: Broderbund's "triple crown" logo provides the layout for Stage 4.
* MeaningfulRename: Since some incarnations introduce the concept of more than one Lode Runner (namely ''Battle Lode Runner'''s five multiplayer men and Wes Reckless from ''The Legend Returns''), the name of the main Lode Runner was later given as Jake Peril.
* MissionPackSequel: Virtually ''all'' of the 2D games (although even ''Cubic Lode Runner'' resembles a simplified ''Lode Runner 2'') - especially ''Championship Lode Runner'', which is just a fan-submitted level compilation pack.
* NintendoHard: It's very easy to die in these games. ''Championship Lode Runner'' in particular is much more difficult since the player needs to be intimate with the enemy AI.
* OddballInTheSeries: ''Lode Runner's Rescue'' is an isometric [[SpinOff spinoff]] similar to ''VideoGame/CrystalCastles'', starring Lode Runner's daughter [[SpinOffspring Alexandra]] (who could jump and swim, but not dig).
* PowerPincers: Some of the cover art depicts the guards as robots whose only weapons are clamps for hands.
* PressXToDie: Nearly all of the games literally have a suicide button (necessary, since there are certain situations that can render a level unwinnable).
* RespawningEnemies: Enemies respawn after getting killed. In some levels, this must be exploited by causing the enemies to respawn near gold piles that are otherwise unreachable by the player.
* RevengeOfTheSequel: ''Lode Runner: The Bungeling Strikes Back'' for the arcades.
* SharedUniverse: The Bungeling Empire are actually stock villains in several Broderbund games that were first seen in ''Choplifter'' and later in ''Raid on Bungeling Bay''.
** Hudson Soft developed a video game in 1985 that serves as a direct prequel, showing the odd origin of Jake Peril (aka Lode Runner) as a humble little robot named [[{{VideoGame/Bomberman}} Bomber Man]]. You may have heard of it.
* ShoutOut: The bricks and ladders in many levels are arranged to spell messages. Some are obvious (for example, gaps in the ladders on Level 44 spell out "LODE RUNNER"), while others are subtle. For example, Level 56 has bricks that form the letters "UW", a reference to Douglas E. Smith's ''alma mater'', the University of Washington.
** Later releases such as ''The Legend Returns'' and ''Lode Runner 2'' started incorporating bombs as legitimate gameplay elements, likely in reference to the aforementioned Hudson-developed tie-in.
* [[TreasureIsBiggerInFiction Treasure is Bigger in Fiction]]: Large gold piles in this series are very common.
* UpdatedRerelease: ''Lode Runner On-Line: The Mad Monks' Revenge'' is this to ''The Legend Returns'', featuring new items, new level themes, and online multiplayer.

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