Genre: Compilation Developer: Atari Inc. Publisher: Sega of America Players: 1-2 Released: 1996
Unlike today, where retro compilations are a staple in the gaming industry, they were once few and far between and a treat to gamers of the era, as few companies ventured off of the beaten path and decided to give gamers a taste of the classics. Most of us were really happy with their offerings. Unfortunately, Sega’s release gave us a pretty bitter taste of yesteryear. When a compilation is released, it usually runs on an emulator and despite flaws, at least closely resembles its arcade counterpart. All three of the games here will have you guessing as to where these translations came from. Missile Command, Centipede, and Ultra Pong make up the list. Aside from Ultra Pong, the other two aren’t even remotely worth your hard-earned time. To make this review complete I will give a short review for each game and describe the pluses and minuses.
Missile Command– They supposedly tried to emulate the arcade, but this looks and plays like a poor Arcadia 2001 game at best. Your curser moves at about half of the speed of any other version making the game unbearably slow and boring. For the first few rounds it isn’t a problem, but soon will be impossible to keep up with the invading missiles. Even the score takes forever to add up at the end of each round.
Centipede– Sega managed to figure out how to trash another classic here too. The game looks like the Atari 2600 version but plays horrendously. Everything in each stage is practically the same color, making the visuals extremely boring to look at. It seems like the game misses every other frame of movement, and it hiccups so much it will throw any gamer off.
Ultra Pong– Possibly the only game even remotely worth playing and probably only then in the two-player mode. The easiest difficulty setting may be worth playing, but normal and hard will probably never end once a game is started. The AI is so precise that even if you are good at Pong, you’ll probably trade hits for an eternity. The graphics are fine here, and while it’s pretty hard to screw Pong graphics up, who knows with this game’s track record.
So there it is, a compilation with three awful game ports – a meager three! Most compilations came with at least five or six games or at least had a few upgraded versions packed in as well to add to the value and increase the playing longevity but we only get three (bad ones at that) so the value is even less.
I bought this game for my wife from Game Crazy for $1.79 because she likes the classics. I never played it before I bought it and I’m glad it’s all I paid as it’s flat out dismal. I grew up in the NES days and never experienced most of these arcades until later in life as a collector, but even not knowing them well I knew this compilation was a dud. There isn’t much to be said for Sega, so experienced at deep and complex games, yet they managed to trash something as simple as this. Be happy there’s so many new and better compilations released today, go out and grab one of those for a current system.