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Beamrider puts you in control of a "Light Ship" that moves horizontally along the bottom of a large, pseudo-3D grid designed to protect Earth from cosmic monsters and alien invaders. As you "ride the beam," aggressive enemy ships and brown space debris ride beams of the grid, raising all kinds of space chaos.
Your job is to destroy these enemies with your laser lariat or by bombing them with torpedoes. Some of the enemies are invulnerable to your lariat, which can cause problems since torpedoes are limited in number. Points are scored every time an enemy is destroyed, and after you have cleared a sector by blasting 15 enemy ships, a Sector Sentinel will appear. If you can manage to destroy the Sector Sentinel (with a torpedo), you will get bonus points for each ship in your fleet. There are ninety-nine sectors in all. ~ Brett Alan Weiss, All Game Guide