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Beamrider - Activision - Atari 5200     HTML Manual   




  • The Restrictor Shield, 99 sectors deep, now surrounds the Earth. You are the Beamrider, on a mission to clear the Shield. There you must demolish an onslaught of alient frights as you dodge from beam to beam. Sector after sector, the deluge deepens...


    1. Insert cartridge into your game system with the power OFF. Then turn power ON.

    2. 2600 users, skip to number 10.

    3. Select number of players by pressing the appropriate number, 1-4, on controller keypad.

    4. Select level of difficulty by pressing its corresponding numer on the keypad.

    Level:              Begins at sector:
      1                         1
      2                         5
      3                        10
    5. To start the action, move the Control Stick up. The hatch doors will open, thrusting you through hyperspace to the Restrictor Shield.

    6. Your Light Ship will move left or right when you move the Control Stick left or right. To fire laser larials, press the left side button. To fire torpedoes, press the right side button.

    7. To begin a new game at any time, START on the hand controller.

    8. Pause the action whenever you like by pressing PAUSE on the hand controller. Screen will go to black. To resume the game, press PAUSE again.

    9. To drop out of a multi-player game without interrupting the other players, press 5 on the hand controller when your turn begins. Your score will be omitted and the sequence of play will adjust to the remaining players.

    10. On the 2600: Press reset and move Joystick to restart the action. Laser lariats are fired by pressing the red button: to fire torpedoes, push Joystick forward.

    11. Use the left difficult switch to select 2600 level of difficulty: A=Advanced, B=Basic.

    12. Turn power OFF before removing cartridge.


    The Space Station

  • Whenever your ship is destroyed or when you complete a sector, you will return via hyperspace to the space station. When you're ready to continue, move the Control Stick up. The hatch doors will open and you'll be on your way. The Space Station does not appear in the 2600 version.

    Enemy Saucers

  • There are 15 enemy saucers in each sector. They all must be destroyed before you can go to the next sector. Every time a saucer is hit, the number in the upper left corner of the screen will count down by one.

    The Sector Sentinel

  • When all 15 white enemy saucers have been destroyed in a sector, their Sentinel ship will cruise across the top of the beans. Only a torpedo can destroy it.


  • Laser lariats are only effective against certain invaders (see "Dangerous Encounters"). Torpedoes, however, will destroy the first object they meet on a beam. You are only given 3 torpedoes per sector. Use them sparingly since they are your only weapon against the Sector Sentinel.

    Yellow Rejuvenators

  • Occasionlly, yellow rejuenators will float through the beam matrix. Allow them to land on your deck, as each connection will add a bonus ship to your fleet. If you shoot or torpedo a rejuvenator by mistake, it will turn red from the heated blast. Get out of the way! The wreckage will destroy you on contact.


  • With the first swing of your laser lariat, the white enemy saucers approach. But there's more. As you progress through the Restrictor Shield, a sinister collection of aliens will materialize. A new danger is added with every other sector, up to sector 16.
    SECTOR              CRAFT                VULNERABLE
       1           White Enemy Saucers          Yes
       2           Brown Space Debris            No
       4          Yellow Chirper Ships          Yes
       6           Green Blocker Ships           No
       8             Blue Chargers              Yes
      10            Orange Trackers              No 
      14             Big Zig Bombs              Yes 
      16            Magnetic Mines               No 
  • Only "vulnerable" objects are affected by laser lariats (saucers and chirpers are destroyed; chargers and zig bombs are deflected). Everything else can only be dodged or, in extreme cases, torpedoed. Magnetic Mines will pull you over unless you keep moving the Control Stick in the direction opposite the mine.


  • Points are scored each time an enemy saucer, chirper ship or Sector Sentinel is destroyed. Point values increase as you progress to higher sectors.

  • The exact point value for each hit appears in red, briefly replacing your score the moment an enemy craft is destroyed (on 5200 version only).

  • Also, if you manage to destroy the Sector Sentinel, you'll receive an additional bonus for each ship in your fleet.


  • Beamriders are a breed all their own. Part warrior, part astronaut and part daredevil. If that sounds like you, and if you've made it to sector 14 with a score of 40,000 points or more, join the club. Send us a photo of your TV screen showing your sector and score, along with your name and address, and we'll send you the emblem that will identify you as an official Beamrider. Be sure to write "Beamrider" and your score on the bottom corner of the envelope. Indicate 2600 or 5200.


    Tips from Dave Rolfe, designer of Beamrider

  • Dave Rolfe is a seasoned software designer, with an academic background in engineering and computer science. In his spare time, he can be found bicycling or listening to rock 'n roll.

  • Greetings from sector 26 and moving! If you want to make it to the outer sectors, pay attention to these tips.

  • Maintain precise control by learning to TAP the Control Stick to move your ship a single beam at a time. And stay near the center beams so you won't get boxed into a corner with nowhere to run.

  • Zap the white enemy saucers as early in their approach as possible. And check this out: You can hit them when they're slightly off the beam, before they can drop their missiles.

  • When you see a yellow rejuvenator, don't abandon all caution as you move to catch it or you'll likely wreck your ship. If an enemy object is blocking the rejuvenator, you can use a torpedo to blast it out of the way. Then, catch the rejuvenator. But remember, you only have three torpedoes and they're your only weapon against the Sector Sentinel.

  • And while we're on the subject, when the Sentinel is about to approach, don't sit on the beam you plan to shoot from. Green Blockers will swarm onto it immediately! Instead, wait on a beam you're NOT going to shoot from (like the one nearest the Sentinel's first sighting). As soon as the Blockers are 'locked' onto that beam, zip over to an unblocked beam and torpedo the ship.

  • Last, but not least, take time to notice the enemy attack movements. They generally follow a pattern of motion that allows you to anticipate many of their moves.

  • With practice, you'll be in the outer sectors before too long. If you get TOO far out, come down to Earth for a while and drop me a line. Because reading your letters is the next best thing to designing games.


    Typed by Keita Iida

    Used with permission from Atari Gaming Headquarters