Review by askthemaster

"Not anything you couldn't get elsewhere."

Game Review: Retro Atari Classics

Overview: I got Retro Atari classics not from buying it, but as a gift. Even then, I was excited, because I never really had any Atari games, even when I was a little kid. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. This is just not a successful means of using the DS, and even Atari fans won't find too many redeeming qualities here.

Gameplay: 6/10

This really depends. Some people find classic Atari games like these fun and refreshing. And I can really see why. Playing Pong, Centipede, and maybe even Lunar Lander (with a little practice) can be a lot of fun. But there was clearly little to no reason to make a comp game like this for the DS.

Well, maybe there was some reason. There is at least an attempt to take advantage of the DSs capabilities. On each game, there is an alternate means of controlling the game via the touchscreen. However, these means are unwieldy, difficult, and inconvenient. You won't use most of them.

Besides that fact, only a little over half of the games included in this comp are even any good. Yes, Centipede is fun. So is Pong, Warlords, and a few others. But games like Sprint and Gravitar were never really that great anyway. And you can probably get a few thousand versions of breakout free on your PC without having to pay for this.

But hey! There is multiplayer capability too! Oh wait. Not really. Because it requires more than one DS card. And the chances of you AND a friend having this game are slim to none, considering how atrocious it is anyway. And even then, only a few support multiplayer. If games like Mario Kart or Super Mario 64 DS can implement GREAT multiplayer with 1 pak download, then surely a game like this that is one hundred times simpler could have achieved at least mediocre download play. The lack of it is surely due to ignorance and laziness, nothing more.

When all is said and done, most of the games on here are fun if you enjoy Atari games in the first place. Not everyone does. And if you do, you could most likely get all of these in another, better, more definitive collection elsewhere, like maybe Atari Anthology or Atari Anniversary Advance.

Graphics: 5/10

Yes, me moved on from the stone age. And now we are here. And for those who can appreciate old graphics, hey, no problem. But most of us still have a hard time staring at games that have completely black backgrounds for more than a few minutes, or blocky hard to understand visuals.

But I can deal with that. Although I'm sure at the time of these games initial release, there was even some question to whether or not this was the best people could do, there is another factor involved. Each game has a remixed version with different graphics. This was clearly the marketing ploy to draw in consumers, and I'm sure it worked on two or three people. But it just doesn't work here.

Most of these remixes are horrible. The graphics are just bad. I have done some research, and apparently the people who did these remixes are big names in graffiti art. I'm sure they are, and I'm sure their graffiti is great. Actually, I know some of it is great. But implementing graffiti into games as overly simple as this actually deters the experience.

While you may have actually been enjoying the simplicity of pong, throwing in another line and changing the colors doesn't do anything. Asteroids makes my face hurt. Breakout paints fairly unentertaining pictures on the bricks. The remix of Lunar Lander is interesting, if not a complete mixup. The ship looks like a Hibach Pimp. Yes, you heard me, a Hibachi Pimp. It looks like a grill with a gold tooth. I actually laughed out loud at this, but I have a feeling that this was intended to be funny.

But with all due respect, the remix for Centipede is fantastic. Very colorful, very entertaining. It does trip in a few areas when I can't see blocks as well, but this is actually a good remix anyway.

So the graphics aren't that great. Worse than they were before, anyway. If you get what I'm saying.

Sound: 5/10

There hardly is any sound. And what there is are sound effects that were there in the original releases of the games. I figure they could have at least added in some sound tracks, but they didn't. Or maybe take out some of the more annoying sound effects that aggravated us all back then. But they didn't.

There is one piece of music, and it is some type of hip hop track used when you are selecting a game. It's annoying. The only reason this gets a five is because it is a comp game, and at least the makers tried their hardest to not butcher the original games, which I guess is something I can understand and respect.

Controls: 6/10

Once again, not much better than the originals. The tries to implement means of control on the touchscreen does not work well at all. In the arcades, it was fine, because you used your entire hands to do work. Using one hand to use a stylus doesn't work.

Except in two situations. Centipede and Missile Command. Centipede lets you drag your little ship around on the bottom screen, and Missile Command lets you touch the area of the screen where you want to launch a missile. Both of these work, and so does the dragging commands for Pong and Breakout. That's about it. And even the other games where you want to use the regular buttons on your DS feel shoddy and poorly programmed. Not very responsive.

Replayability: 6/10

It's true, these games are timeless. Most of them. And if you enjoyed Atari games when you were a little kid, or you just like classic games on the go, sure, you will find yourself going back to this occasionally. But your run of the mill player which makes up 75% of the population will pick this up for a day or two, get bored, and put it down. Possibly forever.

Overall: 6/10

Rounded up, I believe. Unless I mixed something up. It even seems a little generous to me.

Many people like myself enjoy delving into their history and playing classic games like these, but as a comp, this does not, and in most ways could not have, done the old games justice at all.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 02/21/06


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