Review by Psycho Penguin
"A true compilation for all you old geezers out there."
Activision Classics is a great game. There, I got that out of my system. The thing about the game is that it is not just one game. It is many games put into one. In fact, it is 30 of the most classic Activision games ever, put onto one disc for the Sony Playstation. I think this was a great idea that was actually done pretty well. The only main complaint I have was all the loading times that accompained the disc, but those were to be expected. It just felt a little unusual seeing all those loading times while playing old games like these. That's really the only major problem with the game, though. Other then that, this is the most fun and replayable compilation of games ever released. If you're a fan of retro games, this is the perfect choice. If you're more into seeing the history of games and what games to be like, this is a good alternative, as well.
I don't know who exactly decided to make this game, but I'd like to thank them personally for doing so. Atari 2600 games are not exactly the easiest thing in the world to collect nowadays. Plus, my system seems to not be working properly. It's a shame that it's so hard to get a good collection going, despite eBay and the ability to buy lots of the games. The systems out there are so fragile, and finding a working one is quite hard. That's why I was pleased to discover that Activision Classics, as well as a few other compilations, was released. This gives me the ability to play some of my favorite atari games ever (Keystone Kapers!) on one disc. And the disc is much easier to find than these 30 cartridges and a working system, and costs less. If you don't mind a little loading time, you will find the games to be much better suited on the PSX, and you don't need to have a box-ful of cartridges to play them all.
The games on the disc are: Atlantis, Barnstorming, Boxing, Chopper Command, Cosmic Commuter, Crackpots, Dolphin, Dragster, Enduro, Fishing Derby, Freeway, Frostbite, Grand Prix, Hero, Ice Hockey, Kaboom!, Keystone Kapers, Laser Blast, Megamania, Pitfall, Plaque Attack, River Raid, River Raid 2, Seaquest, Skiing, Sky Jinx, Spider Fighter, Stampede, Starmaster, and Tennis. Whew! That's a lot of games. And surprisingly, most of them don't suck! What a concept! Most compilations feature several good games, and then a bunch of stinkers. Not Activision Classics. This has a bunch of great games, several good ones, and a few clunkers. Not a bad deal for the price you'll be paying, and the fact that it has Keystone Kapers on it should make it quite a value and worthwhile purchase right off the bat. You haven't experienced life to the fullest until you've played Keystone Kapers, I assure you!
The graphics in the game, well, they're just like they were in the earlier days. No major changes to them. They still look pretty good, however. It's always nice to see that they haven't changed much for all you veterans of the Atari era. Don't expect Playstation like graphics here. It's unfair to expect that from a game that has a bunch of games that came out before most of you were born. The gameplay still remains just as fun as ever, though. This is a good trip for those of you that remember when graphics truly weren't important, and games were all about gameplay. So, I will just leave it at that. Actually, the music and gameplay remain unchanged as well. There's no music in most of the games, and the sound effects are your basic bleeps and bloops. Almost every game features the same sound effects, in fact. So, now I will just describe every game featured on the disc.
Atlantis: Your goal is to Defend this spaceship called Atlantis. The more points you score, the more you can rebuild the city. It's a really weird game. The graphics are certainly pretty unique in this one. They are colorful as hell, and quite unique. Plus, the gameplay is kind of fun, despite the fact it's one of those 3,000 shooters that came out during this era. You get three cannons, and you have to control these cannons and shoot things that come flying at you.
Barnstorming: I have yet to figure out the point of this game. All you do is go around in this airplane. You don't shoot anything. The key is to fly as fast as you can through several osbtacle courses. There's no enemies, but you can crash into the barns and die. The courses get kind of complex, but you can mix them up due to the game having a few different modes. It's not bad, but I've definitely played better.
Boxing: I really really hate this game. I reviewed this game for Intellivision. Basically it is a terrible boxing game with no fun factor. The graphics are extremely crappy, and the gameplay is next to nothing. It's the worst boxing game ever, and as I always say, ''Thank god there's Punch Out!'' I'm sure people gave up on the sport of boxing after playing this crap. This is probably the worst game on the disc.
Chopper Command: Well, basically, you again have to defend yourself and your truck convoys, while destroying enemy aircraft. Fun game, but it did have some problems, like the control was extremely messed up in certain situations. The problem with this game is that it's another shooter, and the era had too many shooters for any of them to be distinguishable from one another. This one isn't too bad, though, but the iffy controls and no unique gameplay prevent it from being a classic.
Crackpots: Obviously this game was made by crackpots. You have to make sure bugs don't gobble up your home. My question is: ''WTF?''. I surely did not expect to play a game like this. Basically, you are this guy on top of a building, and these bugs will crawl up the buildings trying to crawl into holes in the building. You have flowerpots, and you have to throw the flowerpots at these bugs to prevent them from knocking over your building. Top notch stuff for sure, and very unique, which is what this disc needed more of.
Cosmic Commuter: Here it is folks, the precursor to the modern day Crazy Taxi. Pick up commuters and drive them to their location. This was a pretty fun game that I definitely enjoyed playing, because it had a lot of the same addictive elements of Crazy Taxi. There's not much of a point to it, of course, besides picking up people, but it's certainly a unique game for its time, and I always appreciate games like this.
Dolphin: Haha, my old description for this game really sucked. It is one of the most unique games on the entire disc. You guide a dolphin underwater, and you have to guide him through these stages. You get a sonar, which can be used to see holes in these seahorses which try to slow you down. It's a lot of fun trying to get around these seahorses and avoiding them, because you can't kill them, as you are simply a dolphin. The game gets lots of fun and very addictive once you get into it a little.
Dragster: Early racing game. Little fun factor involved. It's one of the worse looking titles on the disc, but that's not what makes it so little fun. The cars animate poorly, and the game is quite boring. I don't understand why anyone would want to play this game for any extended amount of time. Once you get over the ''Oooh, early generation racing game'' appeal, you find nothing but a boring, tedious racer that was outclassed by a game like...
Enduro: This was one of the first ''camera placed behind your car'' racing games, and it is still a lot of fun to play. The graphics are cool because they change a lot during the game, and it's fun because the game is a lot like Top Gear. Top Gear is one of my favorite racing games ever, and it's pretty much like this. You start off in last place, and you try to get into first. You even get a few races to go through. Loads of fun, at first. It's not too replayable, though.
Fishing Derby: See how much fun you can have playing this game. All you do is go around in barly noticeable areas finding fish. Ugh. I hate most early generation fishing games, and this is no exception. Hell, I hate the genre as a whole, because fishing is not something that can easily be simulated into a video game. The appeal of fishing is actually being on a river or whatever and actually fishing. This game does nothing to simulate the feeling of fishing, but the inclusion of a points system and a shark makes it fun for those who like fishing.
Freeway: One of my favorite games on the entire disc. You have to guide your chicken along the highway while avoiding cars and stuff. It is a Frogger clone but it is a lot of fun. I loved Frogger, and this game is right up there, plus it's nice and challenging. I especially like how the cars move faster as you get deeper into the game. Crossing the street may seem easy at first, but soon it becomes nice and challenging. This is by far one of my favorite games on the entire disc, and I am glad it was included, because it's one of the true greats from the early generation.
Frostbite: You have to build igloos. Fun game. It's a lot like Q*Bert, which is always a good thing. You have an igloo to start off with, and you have to hop from ice block to ice block to color them. As you hop on blocks, new blocks appear. The goal is to make an entire igloo for your eskimo to live in. But you have to watch out for enemies, just like in Q*Bert. It's not as fun as Q*Bert, but it's still a whole lot of fun. One of the better games on the disc, despite the fact it's not as unique as I would have liked.
Grand Prix: Another below average racing game. It plays a lot like Enduro, only with a different view. Again, the object is sort of the same, and the lack of races hurts it a lot. No early generation racing game is really worth playing for more than 10 minutes, but you'll be lucky to last that long playing this one. It's fun, but it's not too replayable at all.
Hero: Like Spelunker, only better. The guy you control has a helicopter on his back, and you have to go around setting bombs and collecting items to progress in your journey. The controls are a bit shaky, and this game seems like it was too big for its time. The idea is unique enough, but representing it on the Atari was impossible. The developers pulled it off as best as possible, however, and the result is a fun, unique, yet flawed experience.
Ice Hockey: Man, I was surprised to see how much I liked this game. Sure, the gameplay mechanics are pretty weird but overall I love this game. This is without a shadow of a doubt my 2nd favorite game on the entire disc. There's nothing quite like this game, despite the flaws. It's hard to pass, and most of the game will involve you simply skating back and forth. The up-down view is a little weird, as well, but this is one of the most classic games of all time, and is quite addictive.
Kaboom!: This guy pours bombs on you and you have to catch them with a bucket. This game is a lot of fun, and reminds me a little of Root Beer Tapper. It's a lot of fun to catch the bombs, and becomes quite challenging as they fall faster and faster. The problem is that the controls are a bit off. It's disappointing, but doesn't take too much away from the fun factor of the game.
Keystone Kapers: Classic game right here. I absolutely love this game. It is one of the better games I have ever played. You guide a cop towards catching a robber while avoiding traps like shopping carts. I love it. This is the best Atari 2600 game of all time, as well as being the best video game ever released before the Nintendo came out. The graphics are kind of unique, but the gameplay is just too fun to be ignored. It's worth to buy a copy of this disc just to play this classic. It even compares favorably to newer games because an idea like this has never come out since.
Laserblast: This is the most unique and innovative shooter of all time for one reason. This one reason is also why this is such a great game. You get to be the enemy! That's right, you're the guy on the top, and you have to kill the things on the bottom. Sure, it's still your average shooter, but the premise is too awesome. I've always wanted to be the bad guy in a video game, and a game like this that lets me is just too cool.
Megamania: I played it for about 10 minutes then got bored. Its another ''shoot down the little blue thingies'' game. It's yet another unoriginal and uninspired shooting game. Sure, the enemies become a little more unique this time out. Instead of killing enemies, you now have to kill things like diamonds and hamburgers. It's still just another Spaces Invaders clone, though, and the disc has too many of those as is.
Pitfall How many languages can you say ''classic'' in? This game may be a little overrated, but it's still the largest game for its time, and also one of the most fun. You guide a man named Pitfall Harry on an epic quest through a rainforest area, but you also get to go underneath through caves. This game is also one of the few games on the disc to have an ending, and is so complex that you might actually need to have a strategy guide to complete it. It's such a great game, though, and one of the all-time classics.
Plaque Attack: This game is messed up. Basically you have to make sure food don't hit your teeth. A wonderful concept and a good game. I'm sure this was supposed to be an educational game advising kids to brush their teeth, and it suceeded, because the point is to make sure nasty things like hot dogs and hamburgers don't get near your teeth. I don't get why you just couldn't have brushed your teeth, though!
River Raid: This is the best shooter released for the Atari 2600, and here's the reason why. For one, the game is not a Space Invaders clone. You fly upwards, like in a vertical shooter for NES, and you kill enemies, but that's where the similarites end. You also had to keep track of your airplane's fuel in addition to killing tough enemies and making sure bridges don't close on you. It's the best example of a classic vertical scrolling shooter out there, and yet another reason to get this great disc.
River Raid 2: Well I don't like it as much as the first. It has different gameplay mechanics. The game wanted to be original while still maintaining the great gameplay of the first, but it failed. The new meters and modes will prove to be too complex, and the lack of any new enemies hurts. You're better off just sticking with the first one, because there's nothing really good or interesting about this one.
Sea Quest: You have to rescue divers while avoiding enemy subs and sharks. Fun game. The best part about this game is the fact that you have to refill your oxygen once in a while. To do this, you have to go back up to the surface. While under water, you have to go around collecting people who are getting attacked by underwater creatures. It's definitely a novel idea and a fun game, but it's not a classic by any stretch of the imagination.
Skiing: Well, its a skiing game. Now that I got that out of the way, I will tell you that I really enjoyed the game. It's almost as fun as the addictive mini game in Final Fantasy 7! You are a downhill skiier, and you have to move around these flags while avoiding trees and enemies. It's a lot of fun, and I never found myself getting too bored with it. I wish there was a way to time me, though, as the game would have been even more addictive with me trying to beat my previous high score. The game is still a lot of fun and quite addictive, however, even with the exclusion of this minor thing.
Sky Jinx: Another racing game, but this time it's an airplane racing game. They tried to be innovative here again, and it's okay. The game just plays like a racing game, but now you are an airplane, which doesn't really impact anything at all. Wow, you're now an AIRPLANE instead of a CAR, but you're still doing the same damn thing. This was a waste of space, in my view, and I'm starting to get a little tired of all the racing and shooting games on this disc.
Spider Fighter: LOL you're a spider and you have to defend your home. I really enjoyed this game. It plays a little like Centipede in that you have to defend something from creatures. You get a gun, and you just have to shoot these enemies as they come near you. Sure, it's another shooting game, but it's actually somewhat unqiue and fun to play. Definitely a worthwhile game to play for a few minutes, but don't expect to get too hooked or anything like that.
Stampede: Rope them doggies. That's the point of the game. Good, classic fun. It can prove to be a little hard, though, because the roping physics are a tad off. Instead of simply roping them at the body or something, you have to rope their head and then pull them back like that. It takes some time to get used to it, but once you do get used to it, the game will become pretty fun and addictive. It's not one of the best games on the disc, but it's unique and fun enough that you might find yourself giving it a whirl or two.
Star Master: One of the most complex games from the early days, this game is fun but not classic. It reminds me a lot like Solaris in that it's hard to really find anything, but once you do, you will get into it. The enemies control a little weird, and it's sometimes hard to see them. The stages are a tad weird, as the graphics and camera are a little off. However, the game still proves to be a lot of fun if you allow yourself to get into it.
Tennis: Just a remix of Pong. It's another fun remix of the classic Pong, though. I usually find myself loving tennis games, and this one is yet another example. It's nice and addictive, and the gameplay is fast paced. Plus, the game does a good job of simulating the rules of tennis perfectly. It's a very fun game, and you will soon find yourself hooked to it, especially if you are a fan of tennis like I am.
The problem with this disc is that there are too many ripoff games. Most of these games are simply clones of Space Invaders or a racing game, and that's no fun. One game tries to be unique by being a boring racing game but with an airplane instead of a car, for instance. The good news is that the games that are unique happen to be very fun. All the sports games are a load of fun, and the games like Frostbite, Freeway, Crackpots, and Keystone Kapers make the game a worthwhile purchase. Plus, the games control a lot better (for the most part) with the Playstation controller instead of the stupid Atari 2600 paddle controller. And finally, the game has lots of things you can do outside of playing a game, like checking out the history of a game, or checking your high scores for it (sometimes). And you can see a picture of the game before playing it.
This is a pretty classic game featuring a lot of the games I enjoyed to play as a youth. The loading times may prove to be a little annoying, but overall I was really impressed by the fun factor, so make sure to pick up a copy today! Keystone Kapers makes it worth a purchase alone, but with all the other great and classic games you get to play, this one is really a no-brainer. The games are unique and varied.. for the most part. You might get tired of the vast array of boring shooters and racing games like I did, and some games like Fishing Derby are no fun. Regardless, there's more good than bad here, and this makes this game a worthwhile purchase.
Now, go find yourself a copy and play Keystone Kapers now!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/16/00, Updated 07/06/03
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