Vintage Gaming: Run SaberBy Miodrag Kovačević | December 11, 2011 | Features | No comments | Share
Sometimes, you need a break from all the complex games with all those stats, puzzles and numerous mechanics. Sometimes, this break can come in the form of slashing through endless hordes of mutants with a phase blade. Run Saber is such a game away from games.
The story is almost non-existent. Evil scientist turns himself and all humans into mutants, good scientists make three hero robots, one of which malfunctions and goes homicidal, two of which you can play as and slash through throngs of non-humans. Ok, I think I need to look into a Vintage Gaming entry with a plot that can span at least two paragraphs for once…
The gameplay is pretty straight-forward. You slash horizontally or vertically with your phase blade (depending on your character choice), dash, slide, execute a Metroid-esque screw attack and climb walls. In case that’s not enough, you also have a limited number of super moves at your disposal which attack everything on the screen for massive damage. While you only start with a handful of health, you can get it up and beyond the default value by collecting medkits.
There are only 5 levels, but they’re quite long and eventful. It reminds a bit of the excellent Alien Soldier, as the levels are made up mostly out of boss fights, with anything in-between being mutant genocide to rack up powers, health and phase blade upgrades. Well, it’s not as boss intensive as Alien Soldier, but there’s still an emphasis on them. Each level has many mini bosses, and then tops it off with a more grandiose battle at the end of each stage. For example, the first level has you duking it out with various symbiont-like enemies on a fighter jet and you need to cling on to the jet in order to avoid falling down as it soars at max speed. Each fight is quite different and has its own gimmick, so it all seems quite eventful.
Graphically, the game is less colorful than your usual SNES game, but makes up for it by smart use of the palette, letting off a very appropriate bleak post-apocalyptic atmosphere. The enemy and boss design leans towards Contra and Alien Storm with a grotesque B-production sci-fi aesthetic. Frankly, some of the enemies are downright disturbing in their appearance, while the jungle level boss is just disgusting. On the other hand, the music is quite pleasant.
It’s not a difficult game once you learn to be patient. Lives and credits are plentiful and should keep you covered throughout all the stages. It’s quite relaxing though and definitely an appropriate change of pace after playing all the big-name modern titles that have been released recently. If you ever feel like just kicking your feet up without playing cover-based shooters, look into finding Run Saber and giving it a whirl. It also has a two player co-operative mode, which is always a fun way to plow through zombie mutant ninja robots.
Run Saber was released in 1993 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in the US and Europe. It was developed by Hori Electric and published by Atlus.