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River Raid II - The Atari Times

River Raid II

Quick, shoot the bridge!
by Brendan Onfrichuk

March 19, 2007
I have a secret that very few know. I do not own a copy of River Raid (I can hear your gasps from here). But before you throwing stuff at your computer monitor in a fit of rage and start sending me hate mail I would just like to say that I do own a copy of River Raid II. It is kinda odd that instead of coming across the more common original I would trip over it's less common brother but it is a strange world we live in. River Raid II is one of Activision's more famous titles. It was not programmed by the now famous Carol Shaw and that may come as a disappointment to some. But River Raid II is technically superior to the first and has enough action and surprises for any gamer.


You start the game on the runway of an aircraft carrier and you need to learn how take off. This adds a bit of flight simulator realism to the game. As you fly forward you will have to dodge attacks and shoot airplanes and boats below you. You will slowly run out of fuel so you will need to fly over friendly fuel planes to stay flying. You will then arrive to some land and If you fly to low you will hit the ground and crash. This is a little annoying because it is hard to remember what level your altimeter should be at. But after you get used to flying your plane you will arrive at your objective and you will need to bomb the bridge. After that you will fly back to the aircraft carrier and land for refueling just to start a similar mission directly after but most 2600 games work this way. The game is more fun when played alternating with 2 players.


Everything is beautiful and colorful in this game. The aircraft carrier you take off from looks realistic and the enemies look fantastic. You will see explosion effects in the river, that's a very nice touch and the buildings on the ground are easy to recognize. I only think that the player could use more detail. Your plane is nothing but a grey shape which is a bit disappointing.


There is no music to speak of in the game but everything else is top notch. You will find that the engine sound is as well done as any other game. The firing missiles and explosions are also nice, especially when you explode the bridge. I just think that some music could accompany the completion of a round.


The controls take a while to master. When you take off you need to hold down the button to accelerate and pull back of the stick to take off. While flying you hold forward to get closer to the ground and fly faster and hold the stick back to do the opposite. Since these controls are both the same it does cause some problems like crashing into the ground but after learning how to read your altimeter it doesn't present much of a problem. While flying you press the button to fire and you need to hold back the stick and fire to drop a bomb. The controls come off at confusing first but practice makes perfect.


This game is slightly more complex than other vertical shooters available making this one more of a simulation. But if you can look past that than you should have no trouble enjoying River Raid II. I'm sure that fans of the original would be glad to play this sequel.

River Raid II

(c) Activision

Thankfully the VCS didn't get TOO much sequelitis.
In this version you launch off the deck of an aircraft carrier.
But you're still dodging the bad guys.
Now this looks more familiar!
River Raid II
System: 2600
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Shooter
Graphics Score: 90%
Sound & Music Score: 80%
Gameplay Score: 95%
Control Score: 80%

Final Score: 90%

Reader Comments for River Raid II

River Raid 2: :P by BLUFOX@MIDCOST.COM on 2007-03-25 13:58:57
Rarely have I disagreed more with a review. You OBVIOUSLY do not have the farfarfarfarfarfar (did I mention FAR) superior Original. Everything about Carol's game is superior: Colorful graphics, not dingy grey and brown junk. Excellent, easy to use controls; fantastic audio, wicked bridge explosions-and lastly the DESIRE to play over and over and over to top your score. I played RR2 8 times and finally realized it was not worth it. I WILL give you that it is more "realistic" - but I HATE flight simulators to begin with! PlayTHE REAL RAID! -Bluefox
in response to BLUFOX@MIDCOST.COM by Brendan Onfrichuk on 2007-07-31 21:47:44
Just because the prequel could be (and most likely is) superior to the sequel does not make my opinion on this game any less valid. I didn't have the luxury of playing the other because I simply don't own it. Thankfully the second game doesn't require that the player has played the first one (as is the case with most sequels). And just because you don't like flight simulators doesn't mean that this gamer can't enjoy them either. I enjoyed this title and would still recommend it to anybody who asks my opinion.
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