In Lode Runner, your weapon was your shovel: you ran around a vertical maze of platforms and ladders trying to collect gold and stay out of the clutches of the guards. You had the power to dig holes in the platforms, into which the guards could fall and become trapped.
Lode Runner is a great example of a game where a very simple premise leads to a hell of a lot of rich gameplay — it took a very fine sense of timing to evade those guards, whose quirky AI was tough to predict, and the game’s extremely cerebral level design (it shipped with 150 of them) demanded an exhaustive knowledge of its little universe’s laws of physics.If a guard falls past you through a gap, can you safely run across his head as he’s falling to reach the other side? Much depended on the answer.
Lode Runner was also one of the first games to ship with a level editor, so you could roll your own levels — an important innovation in its own right.