Release Date: May 1984 (supposed)
River Patrol can be considered the Holy Grail of every Atari collector. The game was released in 1984 (probably) by Tigervision as a port of the aracde game of the same name made by the bscure company Orca and today only 6 copies are known to exist, making it one of the rarest and most expensive games for the Atari 2600. I doubt one of you ever played the real game and I also doubt you own it, but in case CONTACT ME! I’d love to see the real thing!
The bible of atari games, AtariAge gave this game the rating 9 “Extremely Rare”, along with other games like Swordquest – Waterworld and X-Man.
In River Patrol you control a ship…on a river (…) patrolling the waters to rescue some unlucky guys who are drawning and ready to be the main course for the crocodiles (or at least that’s what I understand from the box). The game features 99 level after which yout ship collides against the dam and it’s game over.
Below you find other two images related to the game: the back of the box and the label of the cartridge itself.
We read from the back of the box:
Pilot the leaky boat up the river. Realistic steering action with thrust control. Be careful to avoid the obstacles; logs, alligators, swirling whirlpools and the river banks. Try to save as many people as you go to collect bonus points. Complete the course before you take on too much water or your boat will sing. Great piloting for the entire family.
The first issues of 1984 (at least up until April) of The Video Game Update state that this game would have been released at the beginning of 1984 although the original January release date has been postponed and since there’s no more talking about the game since May we can guess (or maybe no?) that the game has been released in May.
The only appearance of River Patrol is the Tigervision catalog and a french ad in which the game is shown as available along with other Tigervision games. River Patrol release date is “1983 – indetrermined”
Ports and legacy
River Patrol is one of the rarest games ever released. The latest indications suggest that there are only 6 copies known in the world making it a real jewel for the collectors. Despite its rarity the prices for the game are all in all not so steep. Recently a loose copy has been sold from Germany for approximatively 400$. Rarityguide.com values the NIB version more than 2200$ although I sincerely don’t know if a NIB copy even exists (for comparison VGPC estimated a value of circa 1500% for NIB copy) , while a CIB copy has a value of roughly 1000$. It’s one of those rare cases when probably the arcade coin-op is cheaper than the console version.
River Patrol hasn’t had any sequel and no “reboots” or inclusion in recent compilation therefore the only way to enjoy it today, if you’re not part of the elite of the 6 owners, is through emulation.
Have you played River Patrol today?