Atomic Runner (USA)


Platform, scrolling shooter


Sega Genesis


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Atomic Runner (USA)25 Downloads


Sega Genesis

Atomic Runner (USA)

Atomic Runner Chelnov[a] is a Japanese runner arcade video game developed and published by Data East in 1988.


The player controls Chelnov’s movements with the eight-way joystick, and the three buttons to attack, jump, or turn around. Six types of weapons can be obtained during the game: laser, fire rings, boomerangs, spike bola balls, spike ball whip, missiles. By collecting power-ups you can improve Chelnov’s attack power, rapid-firing capability, attack range or jumping height.

The game is a forced side-scrolling game where the screen continually scrolls to the left at a constant speed unless the player is fighting a boss, in which the screen will stop scrolling. Chelnov will continue to run with the screen even if the player lets go of the joystick. Though the player can move to the left or right of the scrolling screen by entering the corresponding direction on the joystick, it is impossible to stop or move backwards except when fighting a boss (Chelnov can turn backwards while jumping). The main character’s sprite animation is highly detailed and smooth for its time, comparable to the level of Karateka and the early Prince of Persia games. The ending screen appears when the player finishes all seven levels of the game.


The player takes the role of Chelnov (Челнов), a coal miner who miraculously survives the malfunction and explosion of a nuclear power plant. Chelnov’s body gains superhuman abilities due to the massive amount of radiation given off by the explosion, and a secret organization seeks to harness those abilities for its own evil purposes. Chelnov must battle and defeat the secret organization using his newfound abilities.


Atomic Runner Chelnov was controversial at the time of release. The setting, where a coal miner is caught in a nuclear accident, a hammer and sickle visible on the game’s opening screen, and the game’s title (Chernobyl is written チェルノブイリ in Japanese) led many to interpret the game as a parody of the Chernobyl disaster. Data East responded in a television program that the name “Chelnov” was merely a relative of Karnov, the title character of one of the company’s games, and was not at all influenced by the events at Chernobyl.[6][7] Other development staff members later explained that the game had been planned under a different name, but the events at Chernobyl led to the name “Chelnov”, which became the game’s title.[6] Under this explanation, the parodic elements resulted purely out of coincidence, but over a year and a half passed from the accident to the first release of the game, which was ample time for the developers to reassess the suitability of the game’s plot and content. The game’s storyline was changed considerably to remove connotations with Chernobyl when the game was ported to the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis.

After Data East became defunct due to bankruptcy in 2003, Paon bought the rights to Atomic Runner Chelnov.

This work © 2023 by Wikipedia is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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