I loved the Activision Anthology Remix Edition (AARE), so I didn’t think highly of this one since what could top 75 great games from the ’80s? But to my amazement, this collection is just as good, if not better, and is loaded with even more great games. I remember I used to play some of these games all day long, and so I was somewhat disappointed when some of the games were not included in the AARE, but thankfully this collection includes almost all of my Atari 2600 favourites, plus a heck load of bonus materials.
All of the games are displayed as they appeared originally, and so huge, bland-coloured pixels dominate the screen. Your character usually only has about 5 or 6 pixels and indeed look VERY primative compared to games of today with hundreds of thousands of little polygons. The arcade versions of the games look better than the Atari console ones though (more pixels for one thing), and you can even see some bits of the arcade machines on the screen. Unfortunately unlike AARE, the interface does not look as nice, and there are no additional display modes (like Motion Blur or Hyperspace). However, those things are not very important anyway, but I still would like to have the choice damn it! Basically, if you have played AARE, then you’ll know what the graphics of the games in here are like.
While I did give a low score for the graphics, keep in mind that it is bad for a reason; to preserve the games just as we remember them to be.
The sounds are relatively unchanged from that of the original arcades / consoles. The low-quality ‘blips’ really bring back the old memories of actually playing on my Atari 2600. Ah, what a great time that was… Anyway, there is no background music in this collection, which is not really such a disappointment since adding the music might spoil the feeling of nostalgia. Besides… I don’t want any distractions as I am moving my stick-men across the screen. Hmm… I guess that’s all there is to the audio…blip…blip…blips…
While I did give a low score for the audio, keep in mind that it is bad for a reason; you guessed it–to preserve the games just as we remember them to be.
It was pretty upsetting to me when some of the games that I really enjoyed from years ago was not in the AARE, including classics such as Centipede, Tempest and Missile Command, so I am really glad that they were included in this collection. With the numerous varieties of great games available to play, anybody can have a good time with this. If you are going to get this, I do suggest you take a look at AARE as well, because it contains games like Pitfall which are NOT included in this collection. Even though the games may look and sound simple, they are a blast to play, and this collection shows you how fun simple games can be. I sat there glued to the keyboard for hours, trying out each game. Anyway, aside from the fun games, there are also about 500mb (that’s right, 500mb) of bonus materials, including the manuals, images and useless facts of history, and interviews. Unlike AARE, you do not have to play the games to unlock these since they are naturally unlocked, so it’s good for you lazy people.
There is a lot of replay value considering the number of games included and how they actually challenge you by having you beat a previous high-score or a best time, instead of just trying to play a game just to see what the ending would be. So for most of these games there arn’t even missions, just a bunch of simple repetitive games that are really fun to play with. This collection is guaranteed to make you glued to your monitor for hours. I remembered playing just a few games on the Atari for months without getting bored. Imagine how many hours I will spend on 80 of these games?
For anybody wanting to have a piece of gaming history, you should definitely get either this or AARE or even both! For me, I’m definitely going to keep this collection since it contains some of my favourite games. If you are bored of all these new games with their hardware accelerated graphics, try some of these tireless classics because I guarantee you will not get bored with them for a long, long time. In fact… I think I have some spare time now to play a round of Lunar Lander!