Run Saber

Rub Saber
Nintendo Super Famicom

Run Saber

Horisoft / Atlus 1993
Original Post Date: February 12, 2019

Run Saber is a side-scrolling platformer developed by none other than Hori, the same Hori known nowadays as a manufacturer of controllers and arcade sticks. Despite Japanese development, this game was never given a release in Japan, although one was planned, and even advertised.

Its western exclusivity is nothing short of a tragedy, because it is among the finest games available for its platform.

The gameplay of Run Saber is often compared to Strider, as an action game spanning five levels with an emphasis on acrobatics and mini-boss battles, complete with a laser-sword wielding hero.

Rather, heroes in this case, as Run Saber features two playable characters who may both be used in cooperative play. The characters possess similar attributes, with their main difference being the arc of their sword swing – Allen’s blade allows for better horizontal range, while Sheena’s blade is closer range but provides superior vertical coverage.

In addition to their standard slices, each character can turn their jump into a lethal ball of death by holding up when performed. In mid-air, pressing down on the D-pad will result in a flying kick. These additional mid-air options allow you to attack from a great number of angles.

You also have a slide, and while it can be used to damage foes, it is quite slow and is best used only when essential. Each character also has their own screen-clearing bomb, and can both run by double tapping forward, greatly speeding up level navigation.

Other than the relatively expansive moveset, the coolest aspect to Run Saber is the sheer volume of boss encounters each of its five levels throw your way – a standout fight to me occurs in the third stage, where you’ll battle a giant bird whose decapitated head is stolen by a rogue reptilian post-fight.

Later in the stage, you’ll encounter the same reptilian, who now summons a cyborg constructed from that very bird’s head.

Run Saber’s formula might not exactly break new ground, but it accomplishes everything it sets out to do, and does so exceptionally well. The controls and pacing rank up there with the best, with the action never letting up for a moment.

Rating: 9/10

Back To Top