The Running Man logo


Television is one of those laundred industries where only the pure can venture to the silver screen. One whiff of scandal, a breath of drugs or porn rackets and wham, you have had it. Just look at Frank Bough. Running Man changes all of that by offering criminals an opportunity at superstardom; albeit the pathway can lead towards their maker.

Based religiously around the film, the game sees hardened criminals brought onto TV to engage in a battle to the death against the Stalkers all for the viewers' benefit in this modern-day version of Spartacus. Ben Richards is a policeman unjustly convicted of murder who now has to compete on the Running Man show where his death is all the viewers want.

The game is similar to watching Tommy Cooper's stage performance with Richards coming up against death and pausing every now and again for a commercial break. Enemies range from a gang of brain-dead Stalkers in level one to a remarkably resilient opera singer with a fetish for electrocution. Even Buzzsaw, a freak passionately into leather, appears astride his motorbike just to invoke a moment of terror.

Between levels there is a challenge code element where you shuffle a set of icons around one side of the screen to make up the code on the other. If you succeed, you can shut down the cameras tracing you. With only a minute to spare it is no easy task.


The five backdrops for each level re colourful enough, but they are severely lacking in detail when you consider the capabilities of an Amiga. Only a small width of the screen is utilised so it is not always easy to see who is attacking you or the methods used. The action does not move particularly when scrolling is utilised, so Richard's movements won't exactly blow your mind - more like lull it to sleep.


A variety of inhuman foot kicks make Running Man a street-fighting game in a different league to the rest. It is astonishingly close to the film which makes a change from the majority of film orientated releases. Code cracking between levels adds an unusual strategy element to the game, however, graphics and speed could have been improved to give it a far more addictive feel. An opening sequence of brilliant sampled music and digitised pictures just is not enough to sustain your interest when you get into the game. Additionally, since the game is only five levels long, the whole thing can get ridiculously hard ridiculously quickly.

The Running Man logo

Price: £24.95

Arnie explodes onto your screens yet again, this time in the guise of one Mr Ben Richards, selected, against his will, to participate in a futuristic gameshow, where the only way you win is by staying alive.

Running Man, the game, has you in control of our beloved Arnie in his escape bid along five right-to-left scrolling levels.

The intro sequence is probably the most impressive part of the game, and it deserves all the praise it gets. It is nothing short of amazing. It is composed almost entirely from animated digitised scenes from the movie. The producer counts down the start of the show, while random faces flash up on screen. Then come up four short scenes from the movie, closing with the compere, Mr Bald, spinning round, arms wide shouting 'It's showtime!'. Then if that is not enough, you then get to see Arnie catapulted down a tunnel in that bullet-shaped box, just after muttering 'I'll be back'. This all takes up one of the two disks you get in the packaging.

The game has you, as been who has to run, walk, jump, crawl, punch and kick his way to freedom. He has to run to get from one end of the screen to the other; he has to walk when he is fed up with running; he has to jump to get over obstacles that line the levels, like walls and fallen lighting equipment and such, and he has to crawl to go under other obstacles, like pipes or to pick up makeshift weapons, like bricks or sticks.

The punching and kicking comes in when Ben encounters something unpleasant. There are two types of 'something' in the game. The first are the Alsations that are trained to go for you. Should they succeed in lunging for you, you lose energy. To get it back, you have to kick the dogs (do the RSPCA know about this? - Ed). The other kind of opponent you meet on each level are the stalkers. There is one on each level, and boy, do they get tough.

The first savages you with explosive hockey pucks, the second packs a chainsaw, the third is a mean dude by the name of Electro, who fires energy bolts at you. Lord knows what or who comes next.

Should you manage to destroy The Stalker, you are allowed access to the next level, provided you manage to get the 'uplink' code. The uplink code is collected by completing a small puzzle sub game. Two circles of eight icons are displayed, and one of them is systematically jumbled up. You have to, by swapping pairs in one of the circles, make them match, and all within a minute. Sometimes you will find it really easy, other times, you just won't be able to do it in time. It is all down to luck.

The graphics are pretty fab. The sprites are large and well defined, and the animation is pretty good too. The scrolling contains quite a few levels of parallax, most of which are not immediately visible. As you go through the game, odd items like lighting rigs will appear in a previously unused line of parallax and scroll past, giving a new feeling of depth to the game.

The sound is quite nice, consisting of a jolly tune and a few in-game effects, such as the dogs growling, or yelping in pain when you kick them. I was a bit disappointed about the fact that you do not get any extra effects when you turn the tune off, which then more or less leaves you in silence.

RM is fun for a while. But behind all the glitz is still a run of the mull beat 'em up.


A package of prizes as big as one of Arnie's pecs lies in await for our lucky readers.
Grandslam have put together ten sets of memorabilia from Mr Muscles latest excursion - and this includes the Running Man game (please let us know which format you require), a Running Man T-shirt, a cassette of the official film soundtrack, plus a box of popcorn(!!) which has been cunningly disguised to look like the video of the film.
All you have to do is answer this amazingly easy question. Grandslam's next release will be Thunderbirds, so what is the name of Lady Penelope's chauffeur?

Answers on the butt of an Armalyte to: Arnie Compo, Commodore User, Priory Court, 30-32 Farringdon Lane, London EC1R 3AU.

The Running Man logo

Grandslam, C64 £9.95 cassette, £14.95 disk; Amiga £24.95

It is the year 2019, and horror of horrors, the most popular show is an incredibly violent TV series starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. What? Arnie's no longer a movie star? This is terrible. He should've retired long before he had to stoop doing TV.

Well, the plot is he's a reluctant star (doesn't sound likely, does it?). He used to be a cop, but a wrongful conviction for police brutality has made him Star Runner on The Running Man show. The name of the show is due to the fact that when unarmed contestants are approached by four stalkers, armed with various death-dealing implements, they tend to run.

The show takes place in the ruins of Los Angeles, with the stalkers politely taking turns to assault Arnie - one per level. The first stalker is Subzero, blessed with the delicate sensibilities we expect of an ice hockey player, shooting exploding pucks at our hero. Arnie must jump over the ravines, kick to death attacking dogs and dismember Subzero.

Complete a level and you get a puzzle section, swapping icons around on a circular disk to match a completed disk. Succeed and you get full energy back.

The next stalker lives in the suburbs, but sadly isn't either Terry or June, no he's Buzzsaw and, yes, you guessed it he's got a chainsaw. Fortunately medical kits can be picked up to boost health, and lead piping used to show your opponent the error of his ways. But Buzzsaw's a push-over compared to Dynamo, who throws lightning bolts at our Arnie. Then there's Fireball in the Complex, his flamethrower can also be used to fly about with!

The final level takes you back to the TV studio - Arnie's such a natural star - where you must fight his way through armed guards to get to the incredibly irritating TV show host.

Phil King Following the impressive intro sequence the game itself comes as something of a disappointment. Graphically it's very dull with bland backgrounds and simple parallax scrolling. Gameplay is just as simple, consisting of repetitive beat-'em-up action with very few moves to choose from. Admittedly, the enemies are varied but still don't make up for the general lack of content.
Stuart Wynne The Amiga game has been out a while, and is remarkable for a great intro, big main characters and good animation. Unfortunately gameplay is sluggish, irritatingly tough and unimaginative. None of these flaws are fatal, but this playable game offers little special for the price. On the C64 you'd hope the big, bulky graphics would be stripped down to make a fast and highly playable game. Sadly they are more sensibly sized, but are incredibly just as sluggish. Gameplay is a touch easier, making for a more playable game - but not by much.