A downloadable game for Windows and Linux

Answers the question:

What if River Raid was a 2-player couch co-op game like I thought it was supposed to be when I was 12?

This is a port

This is not just another knockoff made to look like the original River Raid (you know, the legendary game by Carol Shaw and Activision). Nope. This is a port from the Atari 2600 binary code to a modern game engine. Thus, the ground-breaking level generator is the same as the original. Even the fantastic flight controls that feel like they suck you into the canyon walls are the same (well, minus the near-nil jitter that I smoothed out). The things that are different are what I chose to make different, as you will see below.

Remastered for the Atari 7800

The primary goal is as stated up top: to mod River Raid into a co-op game. That, alone, would have been worth blowing up a bridge over. But, because I wanted a bit more reward for trying to make sense of the disassembled code, I thought I would up the specs a bit. Thus, I remastered the graphics to what should be doable on the 7800. Consequently, what you find here is actually a prototype for testing gameplay before porting again to the 7800 (join the discussion below: Where is the Atari 7800 build?).

Never fear, river raiders (or is that canyon bombers?), I kept all enemy sprites pixel-perfect to the original, even though I did things like recoloring the ship into a river boat or PT boat. I did, however, make one, possibly controversial, change. I decided that the player's jet looks the most like an F-86 Sabre, and so I got out my pixel hacksaw and chopped the tailplane down to match it a bit better. Thus, the rear of the jet is now 1 pixel narrower on each side. At first, I thought this might only allow the extremely rare close call after coming out of a bank near an object but, after testing, I noticed you can miss a few frames of refueling if only skimming near a fuel depot. Thus, I might widen the tailplane again, or might just call it a 2-player variant. Not sure. Happy to hear your thoughts on this.

There are, of course, other changes simply because of, well, 2 players! Kick butt!!! Oh, yeah, back to the topic.... The bridge now takes 2 hits to destroy (at half the hit points each). The screen is also taller allowing you to see and hit 1 more enemy sprite ahead. This has the side effects that it takes a tad longer to fire again if you miss, and it changes when enemies start patrolling and jets start flying (which is pretty random according to game start time anyhow). And... other geeky things I'm probably forgetting at the moment.

Todo list

The game/prototype is pretty well complete, but:

  • Make the escort game winnable. Current best idea is to add a UCD (unidentified countermeasure device) to button 2 (ugh) that simultaneously fires [fireballs] left, right, and down (and maybe scores half the points). Limited shots (4-8) that refill every other bridge (because you should only need it for the jagged levels).
  • Block input for 1-2 sec when entering in-game menus
  • Hold last frame of splash down if last life of game
  • Kill both planes if they both collide with same object on same frame (black plane currently escapes in this case)
  • Upload my commented 2600 asm code (that was started by Thomas Jentzsch)


[ Supported Controllers on Linux ]

The list of supported controllers in Windows is the same as Linux with the added bonus of XInput controllers supported as well. Thus, you are much more likely to be able to use recent controllers in Windows at this time. On Windows, DirectInput controllers may not be detected on first launch (and is an issue with the game engine). In this case, hit Esc from the main menu to re-scan the controllers.

Keyboard controls

1P: Player 1
Arrows, Space to fire
2P: Player 1
WASD, Space to fire
2P: Player 2
Arrows, Enter to fire
PauseP or Esc
Screen size presetsCtrl+1 to Ctrl+5 (not Linux)*
Fullscreen toggleCtrl+0 (or Alt+Enter if you must)
Reset game and
re-scan controllers
Esc from the main menu

* Only Ctrl+1 works on Linux for reasons that are beyond my noobiness. And Ctrl+3 is the same as Esc on Linux in this game engine?? Also, the screen size commands are only active on the main menu, for now.

Game modes

1-Player Escort
WIP. Escort game based on the 2P co-op modes. Refueling is twice as fast and bridges are twice the points.
2-Player Joint
Your combined score gets a new life for both players at every 10,000 points. When player jets touch, fuel balances instantly between the two.
2-Player Own ItYour individual score (not shown) earns that player a new life at every 10,000 points. When player jets touch, fuel balances slowly between the two.

Yeah, my fault for being unable to decide on only one 2P mode. I tried. I failed.

Install instructions

I completely and totally (with all my heart) recommend using the itch app to install River Raid Squadron and to keep it updated. I worked hard at tuning the installation to work super-cloud-soft-wonderful with it. Don't waste it. (Otherwise, just unzip and run... and updates are on you.)

Linux notes

Currently, I can only build for 32-bit Linux. The game has been tested and runs on: 32-bit Ubuntu 14.04, 64-bit Ubuntu 18.04, and 64-bit Mint 19.2-20.3.

For info on installing on 64-bit Linux, see my post here:

[ Linux: 32-bit Game on 64-bit OS ]


river-raid-squadron-linux32.zip 8 MB
Version 0.9.2 Feb 07, 2022
river-raid-squadron-win32.zip 4 MB
Version 0.9.2 Feb 07, 2022

Development log