Square’s cutesy take on Sega’s surreal Space Harrier eliminates the latter’s excessive shooting and commits to Forrest Gump-levels of running. Indeed, in 3-D World Runner, all you do is run through eight worlds of forward-scrolling madness. You don’t run for your life or a princess. You run to collect stars, to dodge cacti, to leap over gaping canyons. You run to justify your lime sherbet jump suit. If you collect rockets, you can run and shoot. Rockets are helpful when you run into the bosses, the Serpentbeasts. But even if you lack rockets, you run. Because this isn’t 3-D World Shoot-and-Runner.
The game came with its own 3D glasses, which don’t really work (but are now really rare and expensive, thanks to 80s children throwing them away). Praises be, you can switch between 2D and 3D mode to save your head from melting.
But is there joy to be had in running such long distances? 3-D World Runner excites upon first play because so few games attempted forward-scrolling 3D. And even though the 3D wasn’t very good, the game still looks vibrant and distinct. Nevertheless, 3-D World Runner is simple in its construction, and might wear on the player looking for more than a marathon run through an acid trip.
3-D World Runner is known as Tobidase Daisakusen in Japan and was originally released on the Famicom Disk System on March 12th, 1987. According to Google and other sources, “tobidase daisakusen” translates to “Jump out operation,” which may or may not be accurate.
PUBLISHER: Acclaim DEVELOPER: Square GENRE: Arcade
RELEASE DATE: 09/1987 – (US)
ALSO AVAILABLE ON: Famicom Disk System