Beamridr.jpg (12062 bytes)
Beamrider is a very interesting game indeed. You are a ship on your way through an alien sector avoiding or destroying whatever is in your way in order to get to the boss or what is known as "The Sector Sentinel."

However, there are supposedly 99 different sectors! Each new sectors adds new challenge and more nasties! And each new nasty has its own unique form of attack. This game is very similar to Tempest. However, it definitely has an Activision personality. This game can be found on four different classic systems: Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Colecovision, and Intellivision.

Disqualified: Atari 5200
I am a huge fan of the Atari 5200. While many people despise the system because of its controllers, I have found them to be competent with almost all the games in its library (if they're functioning properly). However, with Beamrider these controllers just plain suck. Trying to get from beam to beam is a job that can only be done with a self-centering controller and perhaps only a digital controller. The floppiness of these controllers kill what is otherwise a good-looking game. Perhaps with a third-party joystick, such as Wico, this game would be better.

Bronze Medal: Intellivision
The Intellivision version of Beamrider suffers the same fate as the 5200 version except to a lesser degree. The Intellivision disc is fine with moving the ship, but after a full game of Intellivision Beamrider if your thumbs had a mouth they would say, "Please, play a different version!" This is a game that requires constant shooting and therefore constant pushing on the awkward Intellivision fire buttons. Otherwise, this version is quite charming. Cool sounds and graphics. Overall, this is definitely a step up from the 5200 version.

Silver Medal: Atari 2600
I've been waiting to a do a review of this game for a while now. What kept me from doing it was the 2600 Beamrider cartridge had been eluding me, but I finally tracked one down recently. It was worth the wait, this version is impressive. Although graphically inferior to the competition, it plays really well. The game progresses the same in this version as in the rest and all the enemies are there, the yellow lips, the blue cognizers, they're all there. This is yet another good game for the 2600 by Activision.

Gold Medal: Colecovision
This version is superb. It plays good enough to win the gold with the standard Colecovision controllers, but even better with the Super Action Controllers...try it with them if you haven't already. The graphics and sound are best and play is the smoothest. I love the challenge of the higher levels. I can play this version for hours coming back trying to beat my high score or get to the next sector. I think my best so far is Sector 19 or 20. Anyone done better?

(Doug Saxon is an engineering student at the University of Cincinnati. He's mainly into 2600, 5200, Colecovision, and Intellivision. He's also a proud owner of a mint Chase the Chuckwagon cartridge which set him back $1. He can be reached via email at Doug is also looking to complete the Atari 5200 set and needs these games. Bounty Bob, K-Razy Shootout, Quest for Quintana Roo, Star Wars:ROTJ-DSB, and Zenji. If you have any for sale or trade give him an e-mail.")

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Tom Zjaba 1997 - 2015      

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