Wednesday, December 03, 2008

River Raid

So a while ago, Kongregate had a very clever idea: have a series of tutorials to teach people how to program Flash. The tutorial featured a very simple shooter (called the "Shootorial"), and the tutorials stepped you through the basics of creating it -- first the simple things, how to make a ship and move it around, and then how to make that ship shoot, and then how to make those shots collide with enemies, and then a few additional features, like power-ups and bosses. Anyway, you get the idea, and like I said, it's very clever, because the more Flash programmers out there, the better for Kongregate.

Accompanying the tutorials was a contest -- you had to make your own game based on the Shootorial (which means, apparently, that it had to be some kind of shooter) and there were various cash prizes for the winners. Which brings us to today's game, River Raid, which captured first place in this contest. To give people an incentive to try out the contest winners, Kongregate created some points challenges (no badges, though), so, being the type of person that responds to incentives like these, I decided to give it a try.

As you might be able to guess from the preceding, River Raid is a pretty basic shooter. It is apparently a remake of an old Atari 2600 game by the same name, and it feels very much like an Atari 2600 game -- very low-resolution graphics, and pretty simple and unvaried gameplay. You control some kind of attack aircraft flying along a river filled with enemy ships, helicopters, and balloons; even though you're flying, leaving the river will cause you to crash. Naturally, your goal is to shoot as many enemies as possible. However, there are also fuel stations along the river, which you don't want to shoot, since your fuel is continually dwindling and you need these to refuel, so, unlike your typical shooter, holding down the shoot button is not recommended.

So, that's pretty much all there is. The game does offer a variety of different play modes and missions, as well as a variety of achievements (not that it'll tell you what they are), but since unlocking the different modes required completing five levels on the normal mode, which is nontrivial, I didn't bother. Oh, one other strange thing worth mentioning -- your shots can be steered even after you fire them; moving left or right also moves your shots, which is kind of unusual. Anyway, as mentioned, the graphics are pretty low-res, and the sounds are also pretty low-quality. The only thing which isn't Atari 2600-like is the background music, which isn't bad to begin with, but which is on way too short of a loop, so you'll get tired of it pretty quickly. The game is also riddled with typos and awkward constructions -- a native English proofreader would really have been a good idea.

Overall, River Raid just doesn't have interesting enough gameplay to be a really good game. For someone just starting out with Flash, it's not a bad effort, but it's just a simple shooter of the sort that has been around since the dawn of videogames, and so there's really no good reason to play this other than curiosity.

1 comment:

ToastyKen said...

Wow I had so much trouble controlling this game. Either I was speeding ahead and immediately crashing, or I was going really slowly and running out of fuel. :\