Challenger is a video game developed and published by Hudson Soft in 1985 for the Nintendo Famicom. The game was originally planned as a port of the ZX Spectrum video game Stop the Express (later released for the Commodore 64 and MSX), which was released by Sinclair Research Ltd in 1983. Stop the Express only contained the first train level, and 3 levels were added for the release of Challenger. The game's title screen displays the slogan 'Realtime Action Adventure.'
The game is uniquely constructed, where the levels consist of a side-scrolling platform game, a top-view scrolling shooting game, and a fixed-screen action game. The game was also unique for its 100-screen map, which was extensive for its time. The game has been re-released as a mobile phone application, and was made available on the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console for 500 Wii Points in May, 2007. The game was also coupled with Milon's Secret Castle (Meikyū Kumikyoku in Japan) and released for the Game Boy Advance as part of Hudson Best Collection Vol. 3 Action Collection compilation on December 22, 2005. A Mobile version was released in 2005 with several changes in gameplay.
The title character, Challenger, is an archaeologist who seeks to rescue the princess, Maria, from the hands of the evil boss, Don Waldorado, in the land called Pleasio Land. The setting of the character as an archaeologist is an homage to the Indiana Jones franchise, while his name may be an allusion to Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger (best known for his appearance in The Lost World).
The scene in the first level where the princess is taken away by the villain is programmed as part of the level, and it is impossible to catch up to the princess no matter how quickly the player progresses. The background music for this level is an arranged version of the well-known military march by Franz Schubert.
The player controls the main character, Challenger, and must head towards the goal in each level. The player can attack by throwing knives, but some enemies are invulnerable to this attack, and require a power-up item or the assistance of a hidden character to defeat. In levels 1, 3, and 4, touching any of the enemies results in a loss. The player can jump in the side-scrolling scenes, and can also duck by pressing down on the keypad in the first level. In most other games, the A button is used to jump, and the B button is used to attack, but in Challenger, the controls are reversed, where the A button causes the character to attack, and the B button causes them to jump. The player also falls off the train and loses if they throw a knife while they are on the connecting area between train cars.
A life gauge is used only during the second level. The player receives damage whenever they touch enemies, and loses only when their life gauge reaches zero. There is no jump button for the top-view level, but the player can venture across the island to search for items. A timer is displayed on the upper right corner of the screen during all of the levels, and the player also loses a life when this timer reaches zero. Falling off of very high places or getting caught in traps also results in a loss, and the player is taken to the game over screen when there are no lives remaining.
The player can also choose the game's difficulty from 16 different settings on the title screen. The number of enemies decreases for lower level settings. However, the player must defeat certain special enemies in order to gain items required to complete some levels, and the decreased number of enemies on the lower difficulty settings actually makes it more difficult to finish the game. Therefore, the lowest setting is not necessarily the easiest difficulty setting.
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4 different online emulators are available for Challenger. These emulators differ not only in the technology they use to emulate old games, but also in support of various game controllers, multiplayer mode, mobile phone touchscreen, emulation speed, absence or presence of embedded ads and in many other parameters. For
maximum gaming enjoyment, it's important to choose the right emulator, because on each PC and in different Internet browsers, the individual emulators behave differently. The basic
features of each emulator available for this game Challenger are summarized in the following table: