Review: Raft Rider (Atari 2600)

In this review, we try the survival game Raft Rider. We find out if this game is worth the splash.

This game appears to have been released in 1982.

The objective is quite simple: ride the raft and avoid getting sunk by the obstacles in the river. The obstacles include rocks, flashing rocks (?), moose, and drifting wood.

The controls can be a little tricky to figure out the first few tries, but once you get the hang of it, this is a very straight forward game to play. You nudge down to “swing” down and nudge up to “swing” up.

The way in which the raft behaves can be critical to your success. Sometimes, you’ll encounter a certain set of obstacles and you may find yourself needing to utilize the delayed “swings” so you can simply swing around one obstacle as you make your way through a tricky path to avoid the next. Since these obstacles seem to be randomly generated, you may find yourself in an unavoidable collision.

You have three lives, but once you use them up, it’s game over. You rack up points based on how long you survive the rapids.

Probably the most interesting thing about this game is the fact that the rapids both speed up and slow down. It isn’t a linear speeding up of the rapids until you die because for every 1000 points you obtain, the water slows back down.

Generally speaking, this game can be entertaining for all of 15 minutes to a half an hour. Once you’ve mastered the movements of the game, the only thing stopping you is a randomly impossible path to get through. So, the challenge isn’t always there, but the challenge doesn’t exactly disappear entirely here.

Graphically, the game was fairly good for the time. I’m not entirely sure what to make of the animal that occasionally passes by, but I assume it’s just scenery because you can crash into the shoreline as well. Some of the rocks are a bit hard to see, but I figure that this was just to increase the challenge of the game.

The jingle at the beginning of each play was decent enough. I don’t really have any complaints about that. The water sounds as well as the weird sound that you hear when a moose appears was OK. For a game of the time, I would say the audio was OK.

Overall, this is definitely a short game. It can take a bit of getting used to the controls, but once you’ve mastered them, your scores will quickly blossom. The changing of the speed was definitely interesting. There are parts which requires you to basically sit and wait, but the game is neither always a cakewalk or impossible throughout the gameplay as a whole. The graphics were decent enough and the audio was also not bad. So, a fairly good game in my opinion.

Furthest point in game: Score: 6661.

General gameplay: 17/25
Replay value: 7/10
Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 70%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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