C64 Review of River Raid from Issue 26

ZzapTest Logo by Biggest Jim


As the best pilot in the air force you've been voluteered for the most mega-important mission ever. Now, backed up by a fleet of four planes you're ready to penetrate deep behind well-defended enemy lines.

The objective is to fly up a large vertically scrolling river, taking out the bridges which are encountered at regular intervals. Points are awarded for destroying a bridge and for achieving the secondary task of destroying as many military targets as possible.

The plane has to keep a course directly over the water, as straying onto the bank results in its destruction. As the mission progresses the river becomes increasingly congested with helicopters, ships and balloons, shuttling back and forth across the raging torrent. Contact with enemy aircraft is fatal, so dodging or blasting is absolutely necessary. On later levels aeroplanes fly across the river at high speed and tanks fire explosive charges from safe positions on the bank.

The plane's fuel supply is represented as a diminishing bar, with supplies replenished by flying over the striped rectangular fuel depots marked 'fuel' - the slower the plane flies the more fuel is collected. A complete lack of fuel results in the loss of a plane.

As the mission continues the river becomes increasingly thinner, more congested with enemy vehicles and fuel depots becomes scarcer. Well, nobody told you it was going to be easy ...

This review was typed in/OCRed by Jianso

ZzapBack Logo by Biggest Jim
In the spirit of ZzapBack, you can have your say about how the game reviewed above, stands up in the cold light of today. Has it aged badly or is it still worth a few plays? Read other peoples thoughts and post your own.

The current ZzapBack rating is : 73%

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Conrad - 2 Apr 2011
Great shoot em up and should be played with friends to see who gets the highest score. Me and my nephew still compare scores and I am 39 years old!!!!
Very addictive.

Rating : 100%
Jarek - 5 Mar 2008
Great shoot'em up. Simple but addictive. Spent many hours with it together with friends.

Rating : 80%
bazfan - 26 Apr 2006
absolutley brilliant vertically scrolling shootemup.yes graphics are not so hot, but going up that river of no return soon went from easy to near on impossible. great game that still holds your attention today.

Rating : 90%
joe - 19 Sep 2005
this one was the first of its kind. all the rest is just a copycat.

check it out, this is pretty much like the original game!

Rating : 100%
alessio - 5 May 2005
Are you kidding?? this game has had too much coverage over the years why?? i dont know, maybe because it was one of the first shooters for the 64. honestly if you are really after an old shoot for youre 64 get space pilot, it has great graphics, sound and most of all that urge to see the next level! and thats what its all about!

Rating : 35%
CraigGrannell - 11 Aug 2004
If nothing else, Activision knew how to make playable games - and judging by its rereleases around this time, the 'nothing else' portion of that statement rings true. The game is displayed in chunk-o-vision, although scrolling is decent enough, and the sound effects are basic to say the least.

Where River Raid shone - and continues to shine - is in its pick-up-and-play gameplay and perfectly judged difficulty curve. This really had that 'one more go' feel, and stands the test of time today. Sure, it's not a game to keep you enthralled for weeks at a time, but its one you can go back to time and time again for a quick blast.

The ratings were spot-on at the time - I wouldn't change a thing.

Rating : 70%
Rick - 10 Jul 2004

Rating : 3%
neilb - 17 May 2004
My first shoot em up - and still a true classic.

Yes the graphics and sound are tired. And yes, the gameplay is repetitive.

But it can still command hours of your time. And it was clearly influential in the making of many of the shoot em ups of the 80's.

Rating : 93%
Synek - 14 May 2004
The newest version of River Raid game is NOW avaliable. You can find River Raid eXtreme at www.rraid.4.pl

Rating : 50%
martin heilds - 12 Apr 2004
one of the most addictive games ever

Rating : 90%
rich - 5 Apr 2004
still stands out as one of the best games 22 years later.

Rating : 99%
Richard Eddy
Yeah, this is what I want! I remember playing this on an old Atari and it's still got that same mindless appeal that it had then. The graphics are coarse and the sound grates, but it still has the stuff classics are made of - playability and the urge to return for 'just one more game.' River Raid may look dated, but it plays considerably better than most recent release [sic] - so go grab your two quid, buy this and get playing.
Julian Rignall
This must be the oldest vertical scroller on the Commodore, but it still manages to knock the pants off new stuff like Xevious, Aftermath and Terra Cognita. The graphics give an inital air of simplicity, but the scrolling is dead smooth and the action fast and furious. On later levels things get pretty hairy, what with the density of the traffic jam increasing as the width of the river decreases. Having to stay on the river adds a little twist to the gameplay, and keeping and [sic] eye on the fuel keeps the adrenalin pumping. Definitely the best budget shoot 'em up around.
Steve Jarratt
This ageing and simplistic shoot 'em up may still offer a decent blast for fans of the genre, but I didn't find it particularly enthralling. The screens get progressively tougher, but do not alter graphically, which makes things a little repetitive. Although looking a little dated now, River Raid is certainly no disaster - but your budget collection won't suffer by it's absence.
Presentation 87%
A one or two player option, pause mode, restart and four separate entry levels.

Graphics 42%
Very simple, but the scrolling and sprite movement is very smooth.

Sound 29%
A few simple but suitable spot effects.

Hookability 78%
Instantly enjoyable pick-up-and-play shoot 'em up action.

Lastability 54%
Eventually pails due to lack of variety.

Value 81%
Sensibly priced for a couple of weeks entertainment.

Overall 70%
Suitable fodder for the shoot 'em up fan, providing a simple, but very enjoyable blast.