Cart: The Running Man Cab: Atari ST / Amiga Coin: Emerald Software
Neither Arnold Schwarzenegger’s finest film, nor Stephen Kings’s greatest novel; the Running Man was simply made for the 80’s. A hero adorned in bright, golden spandex? Check. A senior citizen dropping the f-bomb on live TV? Check. A chainsaw-wielding, middle-aged, punk-biker out for death and destruction? Erm, what the hell: check!
Deploying about as much subtley as a sledgehammer; The Running Man was – and remains – a complete hoot. And the game – developed by the short-lived British developer Emerald Studios – rose to meet the occasion with style. Well, so far as the 80’s could muster genuine style at least.
Featuring only five, short levels and difficulty spikes as grotesque as the cast’s jock-straps; The Running Man was an uncannily faithful interpretation of it’s source material – and strangely satisfying to boot. You genuinely felt as though you were pitted against gladiators from the future in a one-on-one guts and glory slog-fest. Part platformer, part brawler and part puzzle game; The Running Man’s presentation was pretty slick for its time, with a cool intro, atmospheric music and parallax graphics being used to good effect to realise the gritty, cyber-punk vision of a future gone horribly wrong.
And so why is this a guilty pleasure, you ask? Well – it was all a bit pants, really, if we’re going to be honest. But rather like golden spandex pants: the memory of it lasted an uncharacteristically long time.