Release Date: 1982
Genre: Shoot’em Up
Alternate Title: N/A
Model #: M707
Programmer: Gary Kitchen
With only a handful of copies known to exist, Air Raid is one of the rarest games for the 2600.
This was the best possible thing to happen for this game, since without the extreme rarity, it would have been quickly forgotten as it is one of the worst games on the system.
The concept is pretty standard. You are a lone ship which must protect the only two buildings in the world against a never ending stream of invading alien ships. At first this seems like an easy task given that the enemy vessels can only appear in three different places and slowly descend before vanishing on the horizon. However, due to a variety of problems, what should be a manageable invasion quickly turns into the complete and total destruction of the civilization below you.
The biggest issue is the fact that you occasionally fire phantom bullets. Normally when you hit an enemy ship it explodes and rewards you a handful of points along with the satisfaction of knowing that you made some alien child an orphan. Here however the programming is so shoddy that unless you hit the ship in the exact right spot your bullet will pass right through it, giving your would be conqueror an opportunity to take aim and blow your ship out of the sky. Now while that does sound bad, there is a bit of good news. Given that the invaders will typically fire their weapons as soon as they appear on screen, thereby giving you zero time to protect the structures below, your game will be over due to there being nothing left for you to defend well before you run out of ships.
While those are serious problems, the biggest sin Air Raid commits is that it is just plain dull. Your ship can only move from left to right, and there is a magical barrier between you and the enemy ships that prevents them from crashing into you. In fact the only amusing part of the game is coming up with the backstory of the low rent aliens who apparently got their invasion fleet at a galactic yard sale. There is a standard flying saucer, a rocket ship, something that looks like an ancient mystical symbol, and a helicopter. It is one of the strangest combinations of enemies that you will ever see.
If you are looking for a fun space ship based shooter, there are literally dozens of better options for the 2600. However if you are looking to play a game that is worth tens of thousands of dollars, this is without a doubt your best bet.