River Raid Review by: iN008River Raid : Atari 2600River Raid : Atari 2600
A review by iN008.
River Raid is an Action game in the top-down perspective developed and published by Activision, it was released for the Atari 2600 in the year of 1982, this version of the game, was the first of many to come and set the basic rules for those to follow it. River Raid was a series of games created between 1982 to 1988 and was released on multiple platforms such as the Atari 5200, curiously enough, the direct sequel to this game was the last game to be release and was held on the console of the original game, in this case the game I shall talk about today.
Graphics and design : 9/10
Of-course we all know of the Atari 2600's lack of superior graphical capabilities, however it was one of the earlier home consoles. In River Raid you pilot a basic white fighter jet from the looks of it, it is rather plain but for the system it represents a fighter jet or similar well. The shots I find are amazing to be honest, I mean it has some "effects" to it in which many Atari 2600 games lack. This matched with the sinking animation of fallen enemies is quite satisfying. Enemy design itself is basic as would be expected, helicopters and boats can easily be recognized as threats within the game, however they don't have much contrast to the blue water below them, this could cause problems for those with partial blindness or color blindness, however it does give you the ability to switch between black and white to color if one desires to.
Along the way you'll see various others objects on the screen, mainly including the fuel restores, trees and houses. These are easy to identify and make the landscape less boring. Notably I like the fact that when using color, the fuel restores are easy to see against the blue backdrop. The design of the landscape is rather bland as a whole so the houses and trees are much welcomed sights as an oddly shaped river really isn't that exciting.... unless your into geography or something. So, starting the game up you see that your straight into the game, the only interface viewable is that of the grey bar along the bottom, I feel as if they could have made it slightly more interesting, however you can clearly see your lives and fuel levels, so it's all good. A basic interface is a good interface in my opinion. My favorite part of the graphics has to be the "effect" when ships and helicopters sink, I felt this added some immersion and some extra detail to the game.
Interestingly enough, I left the game on for quite a long time without playing it to find that the screens colors would invert and change slightly ever second or two. This is what set the graphics for me, this small Easter egg I found was enjoyable and quite surprising, something which I never expected.
Sound : 6/10
Honestly there really isn't much to say here, lack of background music made the game quiet spare the sound effects. However I'm quite happy about the lack of BG music due to the fact that any previous experience for music in games around this time period showed me that the music is more ear-wrenching. So even though it lacks the music, I don't mind as it is not a significant loss in that retrospect. So what is there to talk about? Well sound effects for one, there aren't that many in this game, these include shooting, destroying enemies, dieing, your plane flying, forward speed flying and going over a fuel restore. The constant plane-flying sounds didn't bother me to much after I played it for a while and they weren't really that annoying. The only real notable sound-effect is that of going over a fuel restore, this gives a tingle of sorts and is pretty cool in comparison to the rest of the sound-effects.
Addictiveness and Replay-ability : 4/10
I myself never really found the game that fun to play and I guess that's why I find it not so addictive, after you've played it your better of going to do something else rather revisiting it to play again. Due to the lack of interesting stuff that happens, the game severely lacks a replay-ability factor and the game is more of a one play fix. Also due to the fact there wasn't much going on my attention would drift to something more interesting, such as the bird on the phone-wires outside my window. Really what I'm saying is this, it's boring overall.
Depth : 4/10 and Story : 3/10
Due to the lack of story I've grouped these two categories together. The game is not generally that long and even if it was I never intended to stay long enough to complete it, lacking in depth, there are some choices that come along the way but this is usually just a branching path that reconnects together once more a second later and really doesn't add anything depth wise. My experience when playing really wasn't anything to be over-joyous about, it was pretty boring besides for a small Easter Egg which I talked about in the graphic category, this did in-fact add something to the game.
Now as I stated there is a lack of a story, the story itself comes from the box description which can be found on the games page. To summarize it : You set out on a mission, code named River Raid, to break the enemies blockade and destroy bridges to stop advancing enemy troopers. So yeah there really isn't any story, it should be noted that the terrain itself has a code name : River of No Return.... I wonder why... the game doesn't really suffer from a lack of story, but it could gain from a better one, be it on the box or in the game.
Difficulty : 3/10
The game itself is not that difficult, the enemies are generally easy to avoid and can be done so with ease, veteran gamers and newbies alike could play this game without much threat. There are some difficulty factors however, mainly the level design and a certain mechanic, this mechanic being fuel restocking, if you can't get to a fuel restore due to some jerk-like enemy placement then you have the chance of dieing, however shooting usually does the trick, unless you shot the Fuel restores that is. As I said the level design also has some difficulty with it, most of the time it's when it goes close together for a bridge, this was where I ended up crashing into the sides multiple times. Besides that the controls were solid and easy to learn, nothing much left there.
In-conclusion : 6.5/10 The game is just above the average standard for an Atari 2600 game, however it does suffer some flaws causing it to stumble at certain hurdles. Would I recommend you playing it? Yeah to check the Easter Egg out for yourself, but that's really the only reason. This game gets my approval and disapproval.