Back in my early teens I used to spend a lot of time drooling over a certain section in my mum’s Littlewoods catalogue. Sometimes I would to flick through towards the back, scan through the games and dream of owning an Atari VCS, ColecoVison or Vectrex. Of the games that were shown River Raid stood out and I have always wanted to play it. It has taken 30 years but now I finally have due to the wonderful world of emulators.
I am a sucker for a good scrolling shoot ‘em up and this is definitely one of them. As expected, it has a rather simple scoring system and there are no power-ups to collect. The game play involves navigating a jet fighter down a never ending river canyon shooting enemy planes, helicopters, boats etc. There is also the occasional bridge that must be destroyed. The only tactical decision to make is whether to shoot fuel silos for bonus points or to fly over them to replenish your constantly diminishing fuel.
The best versions are for the Atari 2600/VCS (released 1982) and Atari 5200 (released 1983). Although the 2600 has weaker graphics, both play the same and have practically the same sound. Overall a very solid vertically scrolling shoot 'em up.
Just to add that I did play the Commodore 64 version but the controls didn’t feel as tight as the Atari duo.
|The sound and gameplay on both systems is virtually identical.....|
|.....although the 5200 benefits from better graphics|