Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, Amiga, ZX Spectrum, Dragon 32
|Genre(s)||Shoot 'em up|
Gridrunner is a series of shoot 'em up games written by Jeff Minter. The original Gridrunner was published for various 8-bit systems in 1982 and 1983 with Gridrunner 2 following in 1983. A third installation, Voidrunner was released in 1987. Confusingly, Gridrunner 2 was released in the US under the name Attack of the Mutant Camels, which was also the title used for a totally different game released the same year by Minter.
The original game was written in a week. The series was revived in 2002 with Gridrunner++, for modern platforms, and followed by later games in the series. In August 2012, a Mac OS X port was released via the Mac App Store.
The game is similar to the Atari game Centipede, in which the player controls a green ship, the Gridrunner, at the bottom and shoots at enemies which zigzag down from the top. The player must also avoid pulses emitted by the X-Y zappers which patrol the edges of the grid. The game has twenty waves of enemies to complete.
The player controls a small, constantly firing, ship that can be steered around the whole of the playfield with swipes of the iOS touchscreen. Various enemies appear on the playfield and will attack the player's ship. The game is divided into a number of levels (or grids) with set patterns of enemy attack on each grid. At the end of each level a bonus life is awarded and the next grid begins. To aid the player shooting certain enemies will release spinning coloured disks that increase the player's attacking powers, these power-ups are short-lived but collecting multiple disks will increase the potency and/or duration of the power-up. More enemy types are introduced as the player moves through the levels of the game, enemies also become more dangerous as the game progresses. The game can be played in Pure or Casual mode. In Pure mode the player has to start at the first level and progress through each level consecutively until all their lives are lost, after level 4 and every 4th level thereafter the game will create a save point. In Casual mode the player can resume the game at any of the save points they created when playing in Pure mode with their score and lives set to their best performance at that point. Pure and Casual modes have separate high score tables.
Llamasoft released Gridrunner in 1982 for the unexpanded VIC-20. Although it draws its inspiration from the arcade game Centipede with the concept of a snake-like enemy descending the screen through a series of obstacles (mushrooms in centipede, pods in Gridrunner) it plays much faster. Versions of the game appeared for many of the home computers of the early 1980s along with sequels such as Matrix and Voidrunner. In recent years Llamasoft have revisited the game with Gridrunner++ and Gridrunner Revolution extending the game play in both cases. Gridrunner for iOS is part of Llamasoft's Minotaur Project to revisit classic gaming platforms with modern hardware.
Of Gridrunner, The Commodore 64 Home Companion advised "forget the plot; fast action is the name of this game". Ahoy! called Attack of the Mutant Camels the product of "a fiendish mind", with "serviceable" graphics ("so if you're wondering what a mutant camel really looks like, forget it") and excellent sound effects, and concluded that it was "all in all, a fine game".
- Cowan, Danny. Jeff Minter Readies Updated Gridrunner For iOS. IndieGames. 22 February 2012.
- Cowan, Danny. Best of iOS news: From Midway Arcade to Ziggurat. Gamasutra. 28 February 2012.
- Beekman, George (1984). "Human Engineered Software (HesWare)". The Commodore 64 Home Companion. p. 171-172. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
- Kincaid, Scott (May 1984). "Attack of the Mutant Camels". Ahoy!. p. 59. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- Stanton, Rich (2 March 2012). "App of the Day: Gridrunner". EuroGamer.net.
- "Touch Arcade Gridrunner review".
- "MetaCritic rating for Gridrunner iOS".