BIT.TRIP RUNNER, (occasionally written as BIT.TRIP Runner following the release of Runner2) is the fourth mainline entry in the BIT.TRIP Hexalogy and the direct sequel to BIT.TRIP VOID. The game revolves around CommanderVideo and his new friends traveling the galaxy in eachother's company. Along the way, CommanderVideo and co. encounter an adversary in the form of Mingrawn Timbletot, who would go on to be a central antagonist in the series.
The game is perhaps the most widely-known entry in the original Hexalogy, and is very easily the most popular. Its presence and reception resulted in it gaining a spin-off subseries, with two sequels: BIT.TRIP Presents... Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien in 2013, and later, Runner3 in 2018. In the mainline series, however, the game is succeeded by BIT.TRIP FATE.
The game features Anamanaguchi as a guest composer.
Runner was the first BIT.TRIP game to truly shed the usual three-level structure of previous games. While there are still three levels, they serve more as Worlds would in a traditional platformer. Each of the three Levels contains eleven regular stages, as well as a respective retro stage for each, in addition to one boss per world. This brings the overall total number of playable stages to 69, the second highest in the series, behind Runner2 at 120, and just ahead of Runner3, at 63.
This world is where our protagonist, CommanderVideo awakens and uses the energy in him to run.
As CommanderVideo continues to run through the world that he explored, he tries to get a hold of something in his life to be proud of.
- Lesser Timbletot
- Hairy Knorwhisp
- Flyss Whizzle
- Wizened Elderband
- Pandinkoris Plains
- Moint Moint
- Radbot (Meet)
- Slobbering Falls
- Beats Mines
- Middle of the Middle
- Watcher's Watch
- BOSS: Non Trotski
CommanderVideo went through many trials through out this journey and soon will triumph in the end.
- Paradise Lost
- Leaky Krinkston
- Withering Moint
- Sewer Snark
- Tubular Unders
- Gall Blaster (Meet Meat Boy)
- Ginger Pit
- The Gauntlet
- Beginning of the End
- Rusty Warren
- BOSS: The Source
BIT.TRIP RUNNER is a 2D platformer in which the player takes control of Commander Video, the main protagonist of the Bit.Trip series who had appeared only during cut-scenes in the previous titles. The game is split into three worlds, known as "Impetus", "Tenacity" and "Triumph" respectively, each containing 11 stages and a boss encounter. In each level, Commander Video runs automatically from left to right. To complete a level, the player must input certain commands on the controller, including jumping, sliding and kicking, to avoid or destroy obstacles and enemies. If Commander Video is hit by any object, he is immediately warped back to the beginning of the level and starts running again.
During levels, the player obtains power-ups that upgrade the score multiplier, starting at 'Hyper' and progressing through 'Mega', 'Super', 'Ultra', and finally 'Extra'. As these multipliers are gained, the background music becomes more advanced accordingly, with new melodies being added and modern instrumentation layered on top.
Commander Video is also able to collect gold bars distributed through the course of the levels - if all the gold bars in a level are acquired, the player is given access to a short bonus stage based on Pitfall, the famous Atari 2600 game programmed by David Crane.
As the fourth of six BIT.TRIP games, RUNNER was designed as an attempt at "fleshing out the BIT.TRIP universe into a fuller, richer place by showing players what exactly the world looked like: an optimistic and colorful place while at the same time dreary and hostile." The game makes a number of notable changes to the design conventions of the other BIT.TRIP games, like a more traditional playable character and a structure consisting of lots of smaller levels rather than three long ones.
In an early version of RUNNER, Commander Video had a wider arsenal of abilities, some of which were callbacks to CORE and VOID, but designer Alex Neuse decided to remove the more complicated moves after observing that playtesters were becoming overwhelmed.
The game's soundtrack combines 8-bit music with contemporary genres such as techno and electronica. The independent chiptune band Anamanaguchi contributed some songs to the soundtrack. Meanwhile, to fit with the use of Commander Video as a character, artist Mike Roush created the graphics with a heavy emphasis on eyeballs, providing the locations with a greater personality.
Following the game's success, CommanderVideo would see a sudden surge in popularity. A majority of his cameos in modern games being a result of RUNNER's unprecedented popularity. This would come to a peak when a standalone sequel, Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien was released. Interestingly, due to the sudden departure from the series mainstay, the original RUNNER was rebranded as simply Runner, to match the sequel. And later on, Runner2 would get a sequel in the form of Runner3.
- Though the game is the only one in the original series to lack a NETHER MODE, the Retro Challenge bonuses could be considered a sort of NETHER MODE. All music is removed and the sound effects become discordant and simplistic, the sound effect for grabbing Gold is a unique sound that only appears in NETHER MODE in FATE and FLUX, and failing boots the player back to the Level Select.