Review by kefka989

"Back to a simpler time with simpler games"

Time to bust out with the whole 80's sha-bang. The time of Trasformers, the time of gas guzzling cars, and the time of the Atari 2600.

This is Activision Anthology, taking you back to the beginning of home console gaming. This anthology game features over 45 games, most of which have been seen in other collection compilations but also featuring a few games never before seen... except on the original Atari like Commando and Robot Tank. The game also features a few new games never before seen at all. The game's main menu looks like a old 80's room, complete with a rack for your games, an old 80's radio, a wood grain TV with dials instead of buttons, and of course your Atari. But be sure to remember one thing, these games are ONLY games licensed by Activision, so don't go buying this game expecting games for the Atari to be on it that where not made by Activision. The list of games is quite large, and if you ever owned an Atari, you will probably recognize a few of the games. Games include such favorites as Barn Stormer, Kaboom, Pit Fall, and so forth. These games are a good look into the past where simple concepts were perfect for the simple graphics and technology of the time to create simple but very addictive games. To keep things interesting, there are lots of things for you to unlock while playing. Certain games have goals, like getting a certain score, or beating a level within a certain time limit. Beating these requirements unlocks things like the original commercials for the games, new view modes of play, unlock a few more games and even let you play games that were never released to the public, and special patches like the ones they used to give out too players via the mail of competition. The patches are just little things you can look at but anyone who was around back in the hay-day of the Atari will remember taking pictures of their TV screens and sending them into Activision to earn a patch they could attach to their jackets, hats, jeans, or what-have-you. The game also offers you the chance to read recreations of the original instruction guides, complete with the cover art and interviews for tips from the game designers. The instructions have also been altered so that they now fit more with the PS2, not just asking you to hit the red button or toggle switch one or two, but asking you to hit the X button or use R1 or R2. There is also the extra treat of being able to look at the original box in 3-D format. To put icing on the cake, the game allows you to play with actual 80's music playing in the background, like Twisted Sister's "Where not going to take it" and others "The Safety Dance" and "Take on Me". The music combined with the den-atmosphere really puts you in the proper mind set to play, back in the days when you would put your Atari in the basement so you could play video games all night long without disturbing your parents.

The game does have the downside of suffering from incredibly old graphics. These are Atari games, mind you, not even up to snuff with the old NES. Second the controls don't always match what game you are playing. For example, one game on the list is ‘Kaboom' where you move a trio of water pans to catch bombs that drop from above. The game is fun and was one of the classic simple yet fun games of the Atari, but it was designed to be played with the old ‘paddle' controllers, a type of knob that you turn left and right to adjust which direction the pans move too. The paddles allowed you to have precise control of the pans which was required as the difficulty of the game increased as you play. The directional pads are the best bet to use here but they still lack some of the precise controls needed, and the control stick is an even worse choice. Another problem is that the games can be repetitive, having no real ending to them, just having you play until you run out of lives or time.

Still, this game is a pleasant experience for anyone who enjoyed their childhood in the 80's or who just like old Atari games. It's reduced price and vast library of games means that it is probably going to be more then worth the price tag to pick it up, even if the games are extremely basic by modern standards. It harkens back to the old days of gaming where the object was not to make it to the end of the game but to just get the highest score, or last the longest. A definite buy for any nostalgia buff.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 12/02/08

Game Release: Activision Anthology (US, 11/19/02)

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