AGH Atari 2600 Review:

by Activision

River Raid II
In 1988, David Lubar was given the task of attempting to recapture the spirit of one of Activision's original 2600 smash-hits, River Raid. Pitfall II added more elemets to the original and it worked out great, so why not River Raid II? While there are a slew of new features which are welcome additions, something seems to have been lost in the update because it just doesn't feel right.

River Raid II does have a more realistic feel. You start by taking off from an aircraft carrirer. Each level has two parts: the ocean and the river stage which you're all familiar with. The object is the same -- you must destroy the bridges, and then land back on the carrier. In the ocean you fight planes, helicopters and other aircraft carriers (and black things that can't be destroyed). Here you can fly at different altitudes, and the lower you fly, the faster you go. Unlike its predecessor, you can fly over the ground and ground targets, without dying. You have two weapons; the normal gun to hit air targets, and a torpedo to hit ground targets. Fuel once again plays a big part in the mission. You'll have to keep a constant eye on the meter and fly over gold planes and buoys to keep from running out. Once you destroy the bridge, you must fight your way back to the carrier.

The graphics are better that RR1, with more details and nice touches all around. Improvements have also been made in the sound department, albeit minor. However, with all new additions, the game has become more complicated than it should be. You have to worry about altitude and speed, not to mention the slightly difficult landing sequence on the aircraft carrier. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but fans expecting a bigger and better version of the addictive and fast-paced River Raid will wonder what happened.

Lubar did do a commendable job overall, and RR2 should appeal to fans of who enjoy more strategy in their aerial games. As for me, I'll stick to the simple blasting fun of the original.

Title River Raid II
Publisher Activision
System Atari 2600 (VCS)
Graphics 8
Sound 8
Gameplay 7
Overall 7
Reviewer Adam King

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