Vertical shooter for nostalgia buffs
River Raid is an early example of the scrolling vertical shooter, like Xenon or Raiden, but lacking the sci-fi twist and instead being set firmly in the real world, with players taking control of a fast-moving fighter jet and tasked with blasting hordes of enemy planes, tankers, helicopters and even bridges. The action is fairly simple but no less enjoyable for that fact and maintains a high-pace that keeps the challenge up. There is little to do beyond blowing stuff up, so this isn't one for those who crave complexity, but for high score freaks this really is a blast, with plenty of opportunities to rack up the points and which proves to be immensely addictive. The addition of fuel considerations does add some depth to the gameplay though, which is an interesting feature, but the lack of weapons and upgrades may prove disappointing to those brought up on more modern shooters. Visually, this remake remains true to the spirit of the original, which means that again it lacks any modern flair, but its retro stylings remain part of its appeal. Sound too is likewise fairly primitive but in this case, it just adds to the charm rather than proving irritating as is so often the case. River Raid is something of an under-appreciated classic, a gem that has passed many people by. While the gameplay is simple and lacking in variation, it is undeniably enjoyable in an old-school way and stands as a solid testament to the skills of designers who had to work with very limited resources. Definitely check this one out if you are a fan of shooters or just as a slice of enjoyable nostalgia.