Rookery’s Retro Review: Beamrider (Atari 2600)


Overall Score: 4 (of 5).  Futuristic blasting with lasers, torpedoes, alien ships, and dodging action.

Story:  Zoom across a grid of an unknown world while flying saucers try to shoot you before you can shoot them.  If  you destroy fifteen, a mother ship called a Sector Sentinel will be summoned for you to torpedo before moving on to the next sector.  Pick up rejuvenators and dodge debris.  Remember also that not all enemy ships can be destroyed.  On the grid, your ship automatically locks into lines on the grid like lanes on a highway so you can better focus on your foes.  Don’t sit on autopilot too long though, aliens have a keen eye for taking you out.  Got all that pilot?  Good, you’re ready for blasting off so press the fire button when ready.


If you’re wondering whether or not this game is worth ponying up a little cash to get since it isn’t common, the answer is a resounding “yes!”  Although it doesn’t quite reach legendary status in the world of Atari 2600, it is one with high replay value and simply straight up fun.

Highlights: Action-packed, easy to play, cool iconic sounds, smart adapting enemies.

Lowlights: Inevitable doom, could use different stages or sequences, no simultaneous two player (split-screen top/bottom would’ve worked nicely perhaps).


Similar Style Games:  Tempest (arcade), River Raid, Yar’s Revenge, Astroblast, Warplock

Final Thought:  The Atari 2600 game Tempest fans had been waiting for!

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