Fatal Run is a 1990 post-apocalyptic-themed vehicular combat game developed by Sculptured Software for the Atari 2600 and Atari 7800. It was published by Atari Corporation simultaneous by Atari for both platforms.[1][2] Along with Klax, this was the last game Atari officially released for the Atari 2600.[3] At 32kB of data, the game was also the biggest ever released for the Atari 2600.[4] The game was only released in Europe.[5]

Fatal Run
Atari 7800 cover art
Developer(s)Sculptured Software
Publisher(s)Atari Corporation
Platform(s)Atari 2600, Atari 7800
Genre(s)Vehicular combat



The player is tasked with driving an anti-radiation vaccine through a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The game centres around destroying other cars that attempt to stop the player and avoiding obstacles. The game has 32 levels, each of which has a password meaning that progress could be saved. Depending on how quickly each level is finished, a number of onlookers at the end of each level will explode due to the late arrival of the vaccine. Various power-ups may be collected in each level, including additional weapons, deployable oil-slicks, nitro speed-boosts, and 'death crystals' which make the player's car immune to crash-damage when colliding with other cars. Money earned in each level can be spent on repairs and upgrades.[2][1]



A review in the March 1991 edition of GamePro Magazine was positive about the gameplay but neutral about the graphics, stating that "the scenery is incredibly boring".[6] Reviewing the game for November/December 2000 issue of Atari 2600 Connection, Al Backiel criticised the lack of an end cut-scene for the Atari 2600 version, but praised the cut-scene of the 7800 version.[7] Andy Slaven writing in the book Video Game Bible, 1985–2002 said of the game that "the first few minutes are great, but after that it just gets old".[8]

Writing for the Daily Dot website, Jean-Michael Bond included it a list of the 30 best Atari 2600 games ever.[4] Brett Weiss in Classic Home Video Games, 1985–1988 A Complete Reference Guide praised the password-saving system and the cut-scenes.[1] Writing in 2016, Retro Gamer magazine stated that the game was similar to RoadBlasters, and said "by far the most impressive part of this game ... are the cut-scenes...".[9] Matthew Lippart reviewing the Atari 7800 version for the Atari HQ website criticised the controls, found the sound "bad" and the gameplay "repetitive", but praised the password and upgrade systems.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Weiss, Brett (2012). Classic Home Video Games, 1985–1988 A Complete Reference Guide. McFarland. ISBN 9781476601410. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b Hawken, Kieren (3 September 2018). The A-Z of Atari 2600 Games: Volume 3. Andrews UK. ISBN 9781785389092. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  3. ^ Lapetino, Tim (November 2017). Art Of Atari. DK Games. pp. 290–291. ISBN 9780744018868. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  4. ^ a b Bond, John-Michael (26 January 2021). "The 30 best games for the Atari 2600". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  5. ^ "Fatal Run – Red label – Atari 2600". Atari Age. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Fatal Run". GamePro. March 1991. p. 76. Retrieved 29 November 2023.
  7. ^ Backiel, Al (November–December 2000). "Fatal Run". Atari 2600 Connection. No. 63. Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  8. ^ Slaven, Andy (2002). Video Game Bible, 1985–2002. Trafford. p. 44. ISBN 9781553697312. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  9. ^ "Fatal Run". Retro Gamer. No. 121. September 2016. pp. 86–87. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  10. ^ Lippart, Matthew. "AGH Atari 7800 Review: FATAL RUN". Atari HQ. Retrieved 21 February 2021.