River Raid

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Atari 2600 box art.

River Raid is a scrolling shooter designed by Carol Shaw and published by Activision for the Atari 2600 in 1982. It was later ported to many different platforms.

River Raid is the very first memory I have of ever seeing a video game being played. I don't remember if my family had bought a used Atari 2600, or was borrowing it, but it was around 1985. I though the game was really cool, and I remember my brother and his friend from across the street trying to figure out how to play the game, and learning that you shouldn't shoot the fuel tanks, because you needed them to keep flying, but you had to shoot the bridges, or you'd crash into them. I don't remember if I played the game then or not, but it certainly left a lasting impression on me.

Status

This game is not winnable.

Review

Good

  • The game in interesting to look at, and has pretty great graphics for a 2600 game.
  • Having to avoid shooting your fuel tanks, while still hitting the enemy, was a very clever idea.
  • Difficulty is increased by a number of different factors, increasing the number of enemy ships, decreasing fuel tanks, narrowing the canyon, and making enemies more active.
  • The 5200 release adds a more realistic river bank, a balloon, and tanks crossing the bridges.

Bad

  • You've seen pretty much everything the game has to offer after a couple of minute.

Ugly

  • Later in the game, fuel tanks become so rare that it becomes impossible to make it to the next one, preventing the player from ever being able to play indefinitely, no matter how good they become.

Box Art

Documentation

Link