According to the manual, Beamrider is 3D. Dark, Dangerous, and Demanding. Riiiight. Silly acronyms aside, Beamrider is a futuristic shooter which takes place on beams of light. Your mission is to destroy the aliens that inhabit a restrictor shield which has mysteriously surrounded the earth. The restrictor shield is 99 sectors deep, so unless you have the reflexes of a cat and a lot of time on your hands it's doubtful you'll ever see the ending.
While it may not be in true 3D, Beamrider uses a nice perspective to give the illusion of 3D. Enemies appear on the distant horizon and slowly move their way towards your ship at the bottom of the screen. The whole game looks like a flat version of Tempest, and plays somewhat similar. Remember that to start each level you must move the joystick (to open the launch doors). I wonder how many gamers sat there pushing the joystick button wondering why their game wouldn't start?
To advance to the next sector, you must blast all 15 enemy ships which infest the beams. You must be careful however as not all ships can be destroyed by your normal blaster (laser lariat), certain enemies such as Blockers and Trackers can only be destroyed by torpedoes. Your ship only has three torpedoes per sector, so use them carefully. After you've wiped out all 15 ships the Sector Sentinel will appear, this is the sector boss and can only be taken out by a torpedo. Since the Sector Sentinel hides at the far end of the beam hitting him is tough, but thankfully there is no penalty for letting him escape. Every now and then you'll see what appears to be a small yellow version of your ship slide down one of the beams. This "Rejuvenator" is really an extra life so grab it quickly for a free man, but be careful not to shoot it or it will turn into a pile of debris that is deadly to the touch!
And that's pretty much all there is to
Beamrider. While it may not be the most original game
out there, Beamrider plays really well and that's what's
important. Interestingly Beamrider (along with The
Dreadnaught Factor) were both originally designed for the
Intellivision and then ported to the other consoles of the
day. This is unusual as Intellivision exclusives were
generally designed around the strengths of the system and were
usually never ported to other systems.