In the world of video games, there are many forgotten masterpieces, and one such is “3-D Battles of Worldrunner”, also known as “3-D Worldrunner”. Released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987 by Acclaim and developed by Square, it predates their famous “Final Fantasy” series.
Unique Setting and Main Character
“3-D Worldrunner” immerses players in the fantastical universe known as Solar System #517, under threat from alien creatures called “Serpentbeasts”. The game’s protagonist, WorldRunner (known as Jack in Japan), is described as a wild “space cowboy”. His task is to hop from planet to planet, ridding Solar System #517 of the Serpentbeast menace and their villain Grax.
The gameplay of “3-D Worldrunner” involves navigating through eight different worlds, each divided into several stages. Unlike SEGA’s “Space Harrier”, WorldRunner can’t shoot at enemies or fly; instead, he must run, dodge, and make massive jumps over large gaps.
Players face various challenges, from finding bonuses hidden in columns across the arena to avoiding poisonous mushrooms. Each world ends with a boss battle against a dragon-like creature with different animal heads.
Technical Aspects, Music, and Nobuo Uematsu’s Legacy
A drawback of the game is screen flickering when too many enemies appear and a 3D effect using red-blue glasses, complicating gameplay.
The soundtrack is limited to just five tracks. Interestingly, the music for this game was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, known for his work on the “Final Fantasy” series. This early work of Uematsu adds special value to the game.
“3-D Worldrunner” can be completed in less than an hour, but it’s unlikely on the first try due to its difficulty. A sequel, “JJ – Tobidase Daisakusen Part II”, was released in Japan but not internationally.
While “3-D Worldrunner” may not be worth completing, it’s an engaging adventure worth returning to until frustration sets in. This game remains a bright example of innovative design in the gaming industry of its time, blending action and platformer elements, though it may not attract modern gamers.