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River Raid

aka: Carol Shaw's River Raid
Atari 2600 Specs [ all ]
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Description official descriptions

River Raid is a vertically scrolling action game. You fly a jet up a river in an attempt to destroy bridges that are vital to the enemy. The river is heavily guarded, however, with balloons, ships, choppers, and enemy aircraft trying to stop you. Along the way, you will need to fly over fuel stations to refuel your jet and keep flying.

The plane is armed with a cannon with unlimited ammo. It can be used to destroy enemy vehicles and bridges, but a careless player can accidentally destroy a fuel station. Colliding with the riverbanks or with the enemy aircraft destroys your plane and makes you lose a life.


  • γƒͺバーレむド - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Atari 2600 version)




Average score: 87% (based on 20 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 121 ratings with 4 reviews)

An incredible game - one of the best ever

The Good

To me, the thing that really did it for me with River Raid was the amazing control. The game actually responded in the 2600 version at home the way that other shooters --like Defender -- responded in the arcade. This made the game a huge hit with just about everyone I know.

The graphics were good for the 2600, the refueler twist on the standard shooter, and the awesome hit detection are just a few of the things I'd mention if I were going to list everything good, but what's the point? Everything about the game was so tight, so perfect, that going on and on about what I like would be useless.

Everyone will enjoy playing this game.

The Bad
I liked everything.

The Bottom Line
If you haven't played this game, you should find a way to play it. It's easy to pick up and play for gamers of all skill levels. It is one of the best games ever on the 2600, and it deserves to be played by everyone. You will love it.

Atari 2600 · by MagFram (33) · 2005

This classic on PC? Yeah!

The Good
Everyone who was at least a bit in touch with gaming in 80's must know this game. Simple basic mechanics resulting in lot of fun and challenge. Regarding PC version, it's 16-color, there's PCjr/Tandy 3-way sound support and of course controller support, so everything you need for good arcading on almost Atari/Commodore level of quality.

The Bad
I'm not sure if it was only emulator issue (in both DOSBox and DOSBox-x) or it was also in original game, but game didn't have stable framerate. There were some slowdowns, then returned back to normal. It was always no matter what I tried, fast emulation, slow emulation, CPU type, cycles, etc.. This can affect playability a bit, especially in later harder levels.

The Bottom Line
I still think that 8-bit versions (with more fixed HW which was also more suited for arcades) were a little better, but this PC version is really close! Solid 4*!

PC Booter · by Vladimir Dienes · 2023

One of the best games on the Atari 2600

The Good
So simple and so much fun, I like the urgency element of the game. One moment you could be dodging helicopters and ships then you are low on fuel. Competing with other people for the best score was also fun.

The Bad
The game seems like it has no ending.

The Bottom Line
River Raid is a game where you have to shoot your way through various moving objects while staying within the river. Fuel is also a thing to keep an eye on.

Atari 2600 · by James Eldridge (38) · 2013

[ View all 4 player reviews ]


German index

With this game, the German BPjS (Federal Examination Office for Youth-Endangering Publications) expanded into the area of computer games. Put on the German index for being, among other things, a "para-military training game for kids" on December 19, 1984. For about 18 years, this game was not just an adult only game in Germany, but it was also illegal to advertise for it and therefore (as advertise also means the pure presence on a store's shelf) it could only bought per request. However, it was eventually de-indexed by the BPjS in January 2003 after a verification request by Activision. Otherwise it would be on the index until December 2009 (25 year statute of limitations law appendix; originally, it wouldn't be de-indexed automatically).


River Raid was based on the arcade game Scramble; it was made into a vertically scrolling game as this allowed for smoother scrolling.

Programmer Bonus

The original Atari 2600 version sold very well. As a result the game's programmer Carol Shaw was awarded a cash bonus equivalent to her annual salary.

River Raider Patch

Players who were able to rack up 15,000 points or higher were eligible to receive the "River Raiders" patch from Activision if they sent in a screenshot to the company. Here is a picture of that patch at AtariAge.


  • Flux Magazine
    • April 1995 (Issue #4) - #87 in Top 100 Video Games of All-Time* Retro Gamer Magazine
    • January 2008 (Issue 46) - #3 in the β€œTop 25 Atari 2600” Games poll* Zzap!
    • May 1985 (Issue 1) - #50 'It's the Zzap! 64 Top 64!'

Information also contributed by Big John WV, PCGamer77, and Xoleras

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Related Sites +

  • AtariAge (Atari 2600)
    for Atari 2600: downloadable ROM; scans; manuals; additional material
  • AtariAge (Atari 5200)
    for Atari 5200: downloadable ROM; scans; manuals; additional material
  • AtariMania (Atari 2600)
    for Atari 2600: database; downloadable releases; artwork; additional material
  • AtariMania (Atari 5200)
    for Atari 5200: database; downloadable releases; artwork; additional material
  • AtariMania (Atari 8-bit)
    for Atari 8-bit: database; downloadable releases; artwork; additional material
  • Game Base 64
    for C64: Downloadable links, Database, Music, Emulation, Frontends, Reviews and Articles
  • Internet Archive
    for ZX Spectrum: downloadable release; online emulation of game; additional material
  • Lemon 64
    for C64: games, reviews and music
  • Wikipedia
    combined platform entry
  • World of Spectrum
    for ZX Spectrum: release information; additional material; player reviews; magazine references; magazine adverts

Identifiers +


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Servo.

Commodore 64, Intellivision, ColecoVision added by PCGamer77. Atari 5200 added by RKL. Xbox 360, Windows added by Alaka. BREW added by Kabushi. Atari 8-bit added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Guy Chapman, Alaka, formercontrib, LepricahnsGold, FatherJack, ZeTomes, robMSX, 64er.

Game added August 10th, 2002. Last modified September 21st, 2023.