3D Battles of World Runner (NES) Retrogaming Review

The 3D Battles of World Runner (or Tobidase Daisakusen as its called in Japan) is a sort of platformer developed by Square and published by Square itself (Famicom) or Aclaim (NES) in 1987. A brief description of the Story is that Jack (aka World Runner) has traveled to Solar System #517 in order to defeat the Serpentbeasts and their leader known as Grax. Reason i decided to play this is because of the sheer amount of times i’ve ended playing it due to it being the first in my list of NES roms.

As soon as i loaded up the game the Logo really stood out with the words ‘World Runner’ not only being in a larger font but also in All caps. It was a weird assumption but i thought maybe they were planning on making more than one game with this guy (which was true for japan).He also appeared as a secret character in another game called Chocobo Racing.

As soon as you press start you are immediately taken to the Game Over screen which i always will find incredibly stupid. Although i guess the reason was to show the Player what the first Serpentbeast was (The Game Over screen is basically the same style but with the Serpent Beast of the current world). You have to press start again in order to really start playing the game.

The floor bugs me...
The floor bugs me…

First thing i noticed when i started the game was the tiled floor which i found quite strange although it was quite easy to get used to considering it only changes colors between stages. The backgrounds look quite nice too (although its hard to ignore the fact the trees actually look like giant broccoli). Something else i noticed first was the HUD which i think was really well made with the Score, World, Time Left, Stars Count, Player Count and even a little icon of jack. The Music is quite nice too although some people may be driven a little crazy when they realize that there is only about 3 tracks in this game (Main gameplay, Bonus and the Boss tune).

At first i thought the gameplay was quite simple with simply dodging and jumping over gaps but its actually much more complex than it looks. First of all you can speed up and slow down and the jump is adjustable depending on how long you hold the A button. In other words the controls are really good and easy to use., i personally liked making him live up to his name by having him permanently at full speed.

Secondly since i never read the manual i actually missed quite an important part of the game. As it turns out by bumping into the pillars (not the fire ones obviously) you can get items like a laser gun, a potion thing (that grants an extra hit), temporary invincibility, a 1-up and a rare item that completely refills the timer, There is also a Magic Mushroom that appears from pillars that unlike what you are probably thinking actually insta-kills you which i found kinda strange. With all these extras the game becomes easier and in ways more fun but obviously people can still ignore the pillars if they want a challenge (although there’s actually a Hard Mode that’s enabled by pressing B 4 times then holding Up and Left, then Start on the Title Screen).

There are actually a few more extra things that appear in later levels like hand-things that block you and ‘jumpers’ which are things that launch you across gaps that are too big for you to simply jump over which is obviously a nice addition.

Yep, you just randomly start flying.
Yep, you just randomly start flying.

At the end of each world (there’s 8 altogether) you go into a Boss Battle with the Serpent Beast which is a creature made up of sections. The gameplay is very different from normal with the most notable difference being that he can fly and move around the screen freely (he also gets a gun even if you didn’t have one earlier). The idea is to dodge its attacks while shooting at the segments until they explode and the boss is defeated (in the first world there is only one but from then on there is 2 Serpent Beasts per Boss Battle. I personally think the boss battles work quite well as a change of gameplay which also stops the normal gameplay from being too repetitive.

Something else that is worth mentioning is the fact that the game actually has a Anaglyph 3D (Red and Blue) mode by pressing Select during Gameplay which i personally think is an awesome little extra to have in a game that’s as old as this one.


Visuals: Although the floor can be a little annoying the graphics are actually quite nice. Not sure if the 3D mode actually works properly on an emulator but it was still ok either way.

Sound: The sound is nice although some people will obviously be annoyed at the fact that there is only really 3 tracks in the whole game (and one is for the bonus and therefore could be ignored).

Interface: Like i said earlier i actually really like the HUD with all the things being neatly placed. Being a NES game there isn’t really any menu’s in this game at all.

Lasting Appeal: This may not be a totally awesome game but its nice enough that I’ve chosen to play it every now and again in an attempt to win it although when i do i’ll probably stop playing.

I personally think this game is worth at least one play although this game was supposedly criticized as a Space Harrier ripoff. I don’t think i’ve ever played that game though and if you haven’t either i’d recommend at least play this one first.


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