Developer(s) – Colour Dreams
Publisher(s) – Colour Dreams & HES Interactive
Producer(s) – Frank Waung & Dan Burke
Rating – N/A
Released exclusively in Australia and North America as one of the many unlicensed games produced by the infamous development company Colour Dreams, Raid 2020 is largely considered to be one of the worst games available for the original NES; especially after having gained increased exposure across the Internet following reviews from the likes of the Angry Video Game Nerd and Stan Burdman. After playing the game myself, it’s no wonder why it has been given such a terrible reception. It’s mediocre at best; even for the time.
Graphics – 6/10
The best thing about the game is the visuals, but even they come into question. The conceptual design of the game is quite varied, with levels taking place on boardwalks, in futuristic cities, swamps, and even in space at one point. From a technical standpoint, the graphics aren’t too bad either, with the developers taking advantage of some of the most revolutionary techniques used at the time; such as giving characters black outlines and the use of shadow here and there. Even enemies from one of Colour Dreams’ previous efforts, Robodemons, make a cameo appearance towards the start of the game. The problem being is that most of the levels are largely recycled, and by proxy, it can feel as if the player is simply playing the same level three times in a row before advancing to the next stage. Also, like Robodemons, the music exactly the same throughout, which can become irritating after a while.
Gameplay – 4/10
Raid 2020 is a run-and-gun 2D side-scroller, with vehicular combat interspersed between levels. Though the game does have variety in that respect, compared to other games of the time, it can also be seen as being fairly inaccessible, since it is much harder than it ought to have been. This is compounded by the fact that there are things happening in the game that doesn’t make any sense, such as the player losing health after being hit by bird droppings or being hurt by stepping on tomatoes in the road, or being hit by flies.
Controls – 5/10
The control scheme is also very needlessly complicated, to say the least; mostly due to the fact that the movement is extremely awkward, despite the fact that the 2D side-scrolling formula had been perpetuated for over five years prior to the release of this game. When the player presses the up button, the character moves diagonally up and left, and for down, it moves down and right, as opposed to simply moving up and down, as the player would have come to expect at this point.
Lifespan – 1/10
The game can take a grand total of 20 minutes to complete; just like Robodemons, it’s hopelessly short, even for the time. Given the fact that the RRP price of an NES game back then was anywhere between $40 and $65 in the US in particular, I’m sure it would have felt like an insult to anyone who may have gone ahead and bought it at the time.
Storyline – 3/10
The story of Raid 2020 follows a detective who is codenamed Shadow, who is on a mission to topple a massive drug empire by the kingpin Pitbull. Though it does break away from the typical white saving the damsel in distress story that the industry had become synonymous with at that point, the plot still makes little to no sense, since not only are there merely vague explanations of what exactly is going on, but the dialogue interspersed between levels only appear on-screen for a few seconds, which would have made is even more unnecessarily harder to follow what exactly is going on.
Originality – 2/10
The only true aspect of originality this game has going for it is the fact that the gameplay is fairly well varied and it isn’t all just the same thing over and over again. The problem is that everything else is the same thing over and over again. The individual levels are largely recycled throughout despite visual diversity between stages of the game, and personally, I’ve found that inaccessible games always make for a much more needlessly frustrating experience.
Overall, Raid 2020 is thoroughly deserved of the bad wrap it had gotten; especially over the last few years with the advent of YouTube reviewing. Out of all the efforts produced by Colour Dreams, it stands as being one of the worst; if not, the worst.