River Raid is a scrolling shooter video game designed and developed by Carol Shaw, and published by Activision in 1982 for the Atari 2600 video game console. Activision later ported the title to the Atari 5200, ColecoVision, and Intellivision game consoles, as well as to the Commodore 64, IBM PCjr, MSX, ZX Spectrum, and Atari 8-bit family home computers. Activision published River Raid II in 1988. This sequel, programmed by David Lubar, has similar gameplay, but with a different landscape and increased difficulty. The Atari 2600 version of River Raid was republished via Microsoft's Game Room service in May 2010; River Raid II followed in June 2010.
Viewing from a top-down perspective, the player flies a fighter jet over the River of No Return in a raid behind enemy lines. The player scores points for shooting enemy tankers (30 pts), helicopters (60 pts), fuel depots (80 pts), jets (100 pts), bridges (500 pts), and (in non-Atari 2600 versions of the game) hot air balloons (60 pts).
River Raid (Atari 2600 version)
The jet refuels when it flies over a fuel depot. A bridge marks the end of a game level. The player's jet crashes if it collides with the riverbank or an enemy craft. In non-Atari 2600 versions of the game, tanks alongside the river also fire at the player's jet. If the player's jet runs out of fuel, it crashes. Assuming fuel can be replenished, and the player evades damage, gameplay is essentially unlimited. Unlike later scrolling shooters, there is little or no enemy fire in River Raid. Also, the player's jet cannot maneuver up and down the screen, only left and right. It can, however, accelerate and decelerate.
For its time, River Raid provided an inordinate amount of non-random, repeating terrain despite constrictive computer memory limits. For the Atari 2600 the game with its program code and graphics had to fit into a 4 KB ROM. The game program does not actually store the sequence of terrain and other objects. Instead, a procedural generation algorithm manifests them by employing a linear-feedback shift register with a hard-coded starting value, also called a pseudorandom number generator. Because of this the algorithm generates the same game world every time the program executes. The enemy crafts' AI relies on another pseudorandom number generator to make the start of the enemy movement less predictable as this pseudorandom number generator's starting value is not reset when a new game starts.
River Raid was the first video game to be banned for minors in West Germany by the Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Schriften (Federal Department for Works Harmful to Young Persons, now called the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons).
Find digital download of this game on
This version of River Raid was designed for Atari 2600, which was commercially very successful video game console of second generation produced by Atari from 1977 to 1992. It was the first console that used removable memory modules with games. At the time of its greatest fame, more than 30 million units of this console were sold for about $ 200 a piece. To date, the game library for this console contains nearly 1,000 original games. More information about the
Atari 2600 can be found here.
Recommended Game Controllers:
You can control this game easily by using the keyboard of your PC (see the table next to the game). However, for maximum gaming enjoyment, we strongly recommend using a USB joystick that you simply plug into the USB port of your computer. If you do not have a joystick, buy a suitable USB controller in Amazon or in some of your favorite online stores.
Available online emulators:
5 different online emulators are available for River Raid. These emulators differ not only in the technology they use to emulate old games, but also in support of various game controllers, multiplayer mode, mobile phone touchscreen, emulation speed, absence or presence of embedded ads and in many other parameters. For
maximum gaming enjoyment, it's important to choose the right emulator, because on each PC and in different Internet browsers, the individual emulators behave differently. The basic
features of each emulator available for this game River Raid are summarized in the following table:
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