My HTML5 take on Activision’s classic River Raid is almost complete and it’s been a huge amount of fun.

The beauty of the original game was, for me at least, in it’s slick execution. I loved the way the plane rolled left and right and accelerated the more you held the stick. I also loved some of the neat little touches like having a tank approach the bridge rather than simply destroying a bridge. There was a tremendous sense of achievement and satisfaction in timing your shot such that you took both bridge and tank out.

title graphic

As with my earlier games I never simply carbon copy the original game. I don’t see the point.
For me it’s about taking some elements, throwing a few new ones in there and crafting a cool new game from it.

My inspiration for River Raider was actually in part Capcom’s classic 1942. I had always loved the way that game played and have tried to implement a few of its cool features in to my own game.

capcom 1942

Capcom's 1942

So what does River Raider give you ? How will the game play ?

In short it’s a straight shooter where the levels are actually bumped with every bridge that you destroy.
There’s all the usual suspects: planes, boats, choppers and land to avoid (although I let the player hug the river bank – I felt that was a bit too tight on a touch screen game) and at the end of it a bridge to knock down.
Rather than one shot to destroy the bridge I decided to build the bridge in sections. So you get to destroy the bridge bit by bit. I rather liked it when I first put it in and it’s stuck.

All of the adversaries will fire back at you. The farther you progress the more frequently they will shoot.
In addition I have planes attacking from the top of the screen.
To ease you in this is initially just a single jet fighter that launches its bombs towards you as it passes.
Later you’ll see a kind of death formation of jet fighters that come at you in a number of patterns and launch missiles your way. Tricky !

River Raider

River Raider Mobile HTML5 Game

There’s really nothing too complex about implementing the attack waves since the sprites are given a default downward behaviour that is modified to either float left or right depending on a flag when they hit a certain area of the screen.
To improve the effect I perform sprite rotations depending on which direction the planes are heading.

My HTML5 game system handles this with no fuss and it adds a huge amount to the appeal of the game.

Just now I’m in a phase of balancing the firepower of the player’s fighter with the attacks that are thrown at him.
I’ve opted to have 4 attack styles just now for the fighter. A standard solitary bullet, double bullets, 4 bullets that fan out and then 6 bullets per shot that spray from the plane.
I’d like to try and add some missiles as well.

What this means of course is that the enemy are simply cannon fodder so I need to up the ante a little on their part.
Right now I’m toying with the idea of a boss stage. Or atleast a stage that involves gunning down an enemy with a different AI.

I plan on having this game completed shortly after the Easter break.

4 Responses

  1. Hey Mark!
    I´m an old games enthusiast (specially Atari And Sega Genesis ones) and when I think your project is awesome! I have a project to remake old games also and I’d like to keep contact with you if possible :) Keep rockin man! Nice job!

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