Atomic Runner

Atomic Runner

released on Jan 01, 1988

Atomic Runner

released on Jan 01, 1988

The player takes the role of Chelnov, a coal miner who miraculously survives the malfunction and explosion of a nuclear power plant. Chelnov's body gains superhuman abilities due to the massive amount of radiation given off by the explosion, and a secret organization seeks to harness those abilities for its own evil purposes. Chelnov must battle and defeat the secret organization using his newfound abilities.

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A very brainless and mediocre run and gunner. The visuals are bland and the art style is all over the place, while the audio and gameplay are ok at best.

Imagine if Contra on the NES was an auto-runner, had stiff and awkward jumping, a rather convoluted control scheme (it gives you 32 combinations in the options menu I shit you not) on top of Gradius syndrome and you have Atomic Runner. It's an interesting concept, and the fact that you can bounce off enemies' heads was pretty funny, but Data East put out way better games for both the Genesis and Super Nintendo.

For anyone who has ever played any kind of mobile game before, you may or may not be familiar with the “runner” genre of games. These games were pretty simple, where you just simply ran forward endlessly, dodging plenty of obstacles and gaining plenty of items and powerups, while also trying to get the highest score you possibly could. While most of the time, these games are pretty brainless, and they usually have microtransactions up the wazoo, these can be a fun little distraction when done right, hence why they have become one of the most popular mobile game genres. With all that being said though, runner games didn’t start out on mobile phones, as they have been a thing for a very long time, with one of the earliest and more noteworthy examples of a runner video game being with Atomic Runner Chelnov, or just Atomic Runner.

I had known about this game for a little bit now, and I had always wanted to try it out for myself. Not only did it look decent enough to give a shot, but since it was one of the first runner games ever made, I wanted to see how exactly it played and if it held up all the way to this day. So, like I do with all of the games I review on this website, I decided to give it the ol’ college try, and after getting through most of it, I can come to the conclusion that… I cannot fucking stand it. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very unique and interesting game for the time, and one that can be fun in short bursts, but if you actually try to beat the game like I did, you will find the sinister nature of this game that dwells within as a result.

The story is along the lines of your typical comic book superhero plot, which works out well here, given how the game is initially presented to you, and how the story also presents itself (even though it scrolls by so fast you won’t be able to read it), the graphics are good, being good enough for the time that it came out for the arcades, but nothing about the game’s look is really eye-catching compared to other titles, the music is alright, having plenty of decent tracks to accompany you as you run through these stages, but it is nothing that will stick with you afterwards, the control is a little frustrating to get the hang of, especially when it comes to turning yourself from left to right while running, but you can get used to it eventually, and it is good for what it is, and the gameplay is pretty simple, yet innovative for the time, while also being incredibly frustrating too.

The game is a 2D runner game, where you take control of the Atomic Runner, go through seven different auto-scrolling levels, shoot down many of the enemies around you while constantly on the go, making sure to turn around and jumping when you need to, gather plenty of different weapons and powerups to increase your power and range of fire to help against the foes you will face, and take on plenty of bosses that are not part of any running sections, but will still test your running, jumping, shooting, and turning skills. For the most part, it is basically a typical arcade platformer, but of course with the main gimmick of having the player constantly moving at all times. Once again, for the time, this was a pretty neat idea for a game, but that doesn’t make the game any better in my eyes.

This may just be one of the most frustrating arcade games that I have ever played, and this is coming from someone who has played A LOT of hard as fuck arcade games. Sure, a lot of it is stuff that is typical for an arcade game, such as countless enemies being thrown at you, along with level design that can make going through some levels way harder than it needs to, but what adds onto all of this is the fact that you are constantly running. Because of this, you are given little to no time to plan before you are thrown into the fire, which may result in you either getting a lucky run and blazing through the enemies no problem, or, in the most likely of scenarios, you will die over and over and over and over again. It is nothing that is impossible, don’t get me wrong, but with the amount that this game throws at you at once, coupled with the fact that you die when taking only one hit, and you have a game that really shows no mercy on many occasions.

Now, that’s not to say that I completely hated Atomic Runner, because that is not true. I do like a lot of what this game has going for it, with the powerups being fun to experiment with, the feeling of blazing through enemies with a fully upgraded weapon being very satisfying, the movement of the runner being pretty responsive for most of the journey, and of course, the whole concept of the game being one that really is admirable for 1988. But unfortunately, when you take a typical case of arcade syndrome and combine it together with a game that is constantly auto-scrolling, I can’t say that that combination makes for a good time, and it certainly doesn’t make me wanna try to beat it anytime soon.

Overall, despite the fun power-ups you can use and, once again, the concept being inventive for the time, Atomic Runner was just too frustrating for me to really get behind, and it is definitely one of my least favorite games that I have played from Data East’s catalog. I would recommend it for those who are fans of arcade games, as well as those who are familiar with the runner genre, but for everyone else, there are definitely much better runners and arcade platformers that you could try out instead. But hey, if I had to give the game credit for one thing, I can’t think of any other titles that were mistaken for being a parody of the Chernobyl disaster. Slap that on your game box.

Game #432

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Why he cannot stop running it is like he is late for "Pizza" 😂😂😂 SUBSCRIBE for more

One of the most ass bullshirt designed games, was a cool concept though. Ruined by the unfair gameplay I don't know how anybody could beat this without cheats. I used save state for the final boss and still had to save over 100 times during the fight just to beat the boss! Maybe im just shit at the game, still felt way too unfair.