The Game: You’re piloting a fighter jet on a canyon run through enemy territory. You can’t fly outside the canyon walls, so stay over the river and blast everything in sight. Well, almost everything – flying your plane on top of “FUEL” buoys instead of shooting them puts a little bit of gas in the tank, and if you run out of fuel, you might as well just swallow the next enemy bullet, because you’re goin’ down. (Activision, 1984)
Memories: A dandy upgrade from the Atari 2600 River Raid, the Colecovision edition plays much the same. There are some audiovisual improvements, but it’s also surprising to see what’s been left alone in the graphics department too: these elements of the game weren’t broken, so there are no “fixes” for their own sake.
This is another one of those games that demands the Super Action Controllers. It’s playable with the standard Colecovision “mushroom,” but River Raid needs a joystick with a little more “throw” to it, where you can tell if you’re moving the stick a little or a lot – the difference between veering off-course a little bit to blast a helicopter, or going out of your way to fuel up.
Overall, River Raid is one of the better Activision games for the Colecovision. Maybe it doesn’t go for all-out graphic improvements, a la Imagic‘s titles, but River Raid still looks good – and blows things up real good – on the Colecovision.