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Video Game / Urban Runner

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Urban Runner: Lost in Town is a French computer game developed by Coktel Vision and produced by Sierra in 1996. The game is a movie adventure spanning four CD-ROMs controlled by a mouse, divided into Clue and Actions turns. The player character is Max Gardener (voiced by Brandon Massey), an American journalist in Paris, covering a story about a drug dealer shielded by an influential politician. To get the drug lord talking, the player offers him photographs, but when the player arrives, he is dead, and the player is framed for the murder.

Urban Runner was not too popular at the time due to high graphics and monitor resolution requirements - 640x480 resolution, 256 colors at minimum and 32-bit colors recommended; there are very few reviews that have been released about the game.

Despite the serious premise, the game invokes a deliberate B-movie feel, and the story gradually becomes sillier as it goes on.


This Video Game contains examples of:

  • '80s Hair: Max has a bad case of this, even though the game was released in the mid-'90s.
  • Abandoned Warehouse: The first portion of the game appears to take place in one.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Max runs through one while being chased by Buffalo Bill.
  • Advertised Extra: Buffalo Bill appears on the cover of the game, despite only playing a part in the opening before not appearing in the rest of the game. He doesn't even get a page in the plot recap at the end of the game.
  • All There in the Manual: Apparently, the drugs Dr. Dramish and Kevork were making were supposed to create Super Soldiers, but you wouldn't get that detail in-game.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Lagrange, the young and ambitious politician who is willing to make deals with the criminal underworld to get ahead in the political world.
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  • Artistic License – Physics: Adda uses a "pocket laser" to kill Eraser, which knocks him back against the wall. An actual laser weapon wouldn't have any meaningful kinetic force.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Kevork's sniper would have easily killed Max in the restaurant, if Kevork hadn't called the restaurant just to taunt Max.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Buffalo Bill is ultimately this to Marcos. He can catch up and kill Max on occasion but also makes bumbling mistakes such as not taking the opportunity to kill Max, which allows Max enough time to hatch a trap that sends Bill tumbling down the stairs like an idiot.
  • The Charmer: Max is certainly one, if he is to be believed.
  • Clear My Name: Max's goal is to prove himself innocent of killing Marcos, the dead drug dealer.
  • Corrupt Politician: Paul Lagrange, who covers for drug dealers.
  • Deadly Gas: Used by Kevork in an attempt to kill Max, even though after he escapes the room filled with it, he has no visible problems. Insecticide is later used by Adda to kill Kevork.
  • Deuteragonist: Adda is one, and the player controls her at points.
  • Dies Wide Open: Adda if you choose to let her die.
  • Dirty Cop: van Dalle, alledgedly.
  • Disney Death: Happens if you choose to let Adda survive being shot by Kevork, even though it looks like she Dies Wide Open.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Invoked by Adda to distract Inspector Van Dalle so that Freddy can look for Max's letter, not that we see the effect.
  • The Dragon: Eraser is one to Kevork.
  • Dramatic Chase Opening: And the only chase scene in the game.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Several are opened up due to the dubbing over French acting, such as the lack of explanation over character actions or events.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Kevork is probably the loudest character in the game compared to the protagonists.
  • Facial Composite Failure: The police sketch of Max is not accurate to say the least.
  • Fantastic Drug: The capsule that the bad guys are manufacturing, which has a radioactive label for your convenience.
  • Fat Bastard: Eraser, the biker thug inside Max's apartment, whom Max nicknames "Fatso" and immediately tries to kill Max.
  • Frameup: Max is framed for killing Marcos at the beginning of the game, presumably by the Big Bad. Later, it turns out it was Adda who kills Marcos, making Max into a sort of Unwitting Pawn.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: When being chased by Buffalo Bill, Max is clearly spotted during several cutscenes and even shot at but the hitman is still looking for him during gameplay. A large majority of the game comes under this trope in fact.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: None of the guards at Marco's warehouse seem to notice Adda doing very suspicious things in front of them. They even don't realize that they are talking to each other on the phone via a Man in the Middle trick until they see Adda run by.
  • Gun Twirling: Buffalo Bill does this right before the very first gameplay section of the game, where Max is locked in the basement.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Buffalo Bill can at point fire almost directly at Max and not hit him at one point.
  • Improvised Weapon: When faced with a thug in his apartment, Max has the options of kicking a ball at his face or throwing a cuddly toy at him, as well turning on a flashlight to blind him.
    • Later, Adda uses a can of insecticide to kill Kevork and a "pocket laser" to kill Eraser.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Max is this...and this job is what gets him into trouble.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Max goads Buffalo Bill into the basement in order to trip him up and knock him out.
  • Jerkass: van Dalle is probably intended to be one, not that we actually see it.
  • Karma Houdini: Adda can be one, if the player so chooses.
  • The Killer Was Left-Handed: In a slightly odd variation of the trope, the epilogue explains that Adda killed Marcos with her left hand to avoid suspicion.
  • Lights Off, Somebody Dies: Happens to Legrange at the restaurant.
  • Made of Plasticine: While it's less gory than most examples, Inspector van Dalle gets knocked out when Max slowly closes a trunk on his back.
    • When Eraser is first encountered, Max deals with him by blinding him with a nearby desk lamp and kicking a handball into his face. He's a really big dude, but this attack levels him. Shortly thereafter Max is able to wrestle the microfilm out of his hand and... he just sort of walks off as Max dives to retrieve it.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: Buffalo Bill, Tony Marcos' bodyguard, chases after Max because he believes that he killed his boss.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: The last puzzle will be incredibly tedious to solve if you don't know the last two digits of the code that weren't given on the microfilm. The hint is Dr. Dramish drawing an X on the floor before she dies. The game just barely alludes to this.
  • Mr. Exposition: Max's narration in the dubbed version is included to explain the plot and what the characters are doing.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Adda. She even wears a Spy Catsuit at a few points.
  • Multiple Endings: Adda can either live or die in the ending. Not in a moralistic decision sense, the game just flat out asks you whether you want her to live or die.
  • Never Trust a Title: The name of the game would make you think it would be a Le Parkour game like Mirror's Edge, but there's only one chase scene in the entire game and it's a cutscene.
  • The Nicknamer: Max refers to the thug chasing after him as "Buffalo Bill" and the other thug he encounters in his room as "Fatso" (later revealed to be called Eraser).
  • Off Screen Villainy: van Dalle, so much so it almost crosses over into Designated Villain territory. All his supposed corruption is talked about vaguely by Max in the narration and we never witness it, aside from trying to put Max in the trunk of his car.
    • He does try to kill you during the end-game, however, and is seen directly helping the big bad.
  • Oh, Crap!: Max gives this face after his plan to throw the cuddly toy at Eraser doesn't work.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: At the beginning of the game, Max goes to have a talk with a drug dealer. He gets a shock when he finds out that the drug dealer is a corpse.
  • Personal Mook: Buffalo Bill is this to Marcos, serving as his bodyguard.
  • Pixel Hunt: At some part, you have to look around Dr. Dramish's backyard for his security system. The problem is that most of the picture is blurred and you only have a tiny field to focus on to find three security cameras and a magpie that you can easily confuse with the leaves surrounding them.
  • Plot Hole
    • Pops up if you choose to have Max revisit the hotel first instead of Adda going to the post office. Max manages to knock out Inspector Van Dalle and stuff him in his trunk at the end of his sequence but once Adda's starts, Van Dalle is alright and casually talking to Freddy.
    • D.D. is found by him lying in a pool of his own blood that we clearly see after trying to escort Adda yet he accompanies Max at the end of the game. This is handwaved by D.D. wearing a bulletproof vest but that doesn't explain the pool of blood.
  • Police Are Useless: Max apparently eludes a city-wide manhunt by jumping over a fence and hiding. Inspector van Dalle is a secondary antagonist, but he's dumb enough to be easily outwitted by both Max and Adda.
  • Prepare to Die: Said by Kevork near the ending.
  • Properly Paranoid: D.D. is right about Max being followed.
  • Punk in the Trunk: Van Dalle intends to transport Max in the back of his car. Its him who ends up in the trunk.
  • Secret Underground Passage: In the restaurant.
  • Slashed Throat: How Tony Marcos dies. Also Legrange at the restaurant.
  • Staircase Tumble: Buffalo Bill goes on one in the opening, resulting in him being knocked out briefly.
  • Stop, or I Will Shoot!: Buffalo Bill shouts this after he sees Max at the start of the game.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: After solving the first puzzle of the game to knock out the armed bodyguard ("Buffalo Bill") chasing Max, the player must search "Bill"'s unconscious body to get an item for the next puzzle. The player is not given the option to take Bill's gun (which would neutralize Bill's primary threat) or keys (which would make the next section of the game unnecessary).
  • Sunglasses at Night: Eraser when he enters the restaurant.
  • Take Your Time: Averted. There's a hidden timer in pretty much any scene where it would make sense for there to be one (trapped in a room with deadly gas, a killer is pointing a gun at you), and letting it run out leads to your death(s).
  • The Syndicate: They are known as The Elite.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Like any decent Sierra game, there's many, many ways that Max and Adda can meet their ends.
  • Timed Mission: Occurs late in the game.
  • Unnaturally Blue Lighting: Noticable in the alleyway where Eraser tries to run down Max.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Max is ultimately one to Adda, who killed Marcos and Legrange while setting it up to look like Max did it. In the end, he forgives her for it.
  • Vehicular Assault: Eraser tries to run Max over at one point. You can run at the car, try to jump over it, or roll under it, the latter of which is the correct option.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Throwing a cuddly toy at the thug, among other things.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Max's wears his borrowed clothes at the beginning of the game with the buttons undone. This is subverted when he changes his clothes at home though.
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: For all we know, Buffalo Bill is still roaming the abandoned factory looking for Max, as he isn't seen again afterwards.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: After Max is chased into a dead end, Buffalo Bill, for no reason, locks him in, giving him just enough time to conduct up an escape plan, instead of just walking in there and killing him at the start.
  • Wrongful Accusation Insurance: Max, who is framed for murder and has to prove his innocence, goes on to commit theft, arson, assault of a police officer, and at least two counts of murder.
  • You Killed My Father: Adda's father and brother were killed by Kevork and his goons before the start of the story and she manages to kill him using insecticide.