"Activision has always been synonymous with quality. Their line of Intellivision games is certainly no exception. Too bad they only released seven games before the crash. Beamrider has all the makings of a classic game: fast action; new surprises and enemies after every few levels; not much emphasis on complexity or eye-candy; lots of replay value; et cetera.
"The graphics and sound effects, while not an integral part of the game, are nothing to sneeze at. The high-tech appeal of the grid combined with the pulsating sounds really do pull the player into the game like no other game of its time. I recently hooked up my Intellivision to an old blurry television set, resulting in an anti-aliased grid that glows. I like the new look even better, though it makes it harder to distinguish the extra ships from the enemies.
"The gameplay is simple yet challenging: shoot everything in sight (with the exception of the extra ships, which you must collect). You must shoot 15 of the white drones to end the level and make the Saucer appear. Destroy the Saucer for bonus points. You also get three missiles per level. Missiles have a longer range than the standard shots and can also destroy anything that the standard shots cannot. Of course, shooting is not all you do. You must maneuver back and forth among five vertical beams in the grid, dodging everything that the enemy dishes out at you.
"Beamrider also was ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Colecovision, MSX, and Commodore 64. Whether other ports exist I do not know. The one shortcoming with the Intellivision port is that there is no difficulty selection; players must start on Level 1 each time, which is a bit of a chore for serious players like myself who want to go straight to the higher levels. Other than that I have no complaints whatsoever." Rating: 5/5 -- Mike Hayes