“ Manufacturer: Nintendo / Publisher: Atari / Genre: Action / Genre: Racing / Driving / ESRB Rating: E - (Everyone) / PEGI Age Rating: Age 3+ / Online: LAN Gaming Support / Max. Number Of Players: 4 / Control Elements: Gamepad / ESRB Descriptor: Violence / Release Date: March, 2005 „
* Prices may differ from that shown
This review is for the Nintendo DS game, Retro Atari Classics, developed by Taniko and published by Atari. This product contains ten classic games from the previous Atari console.
This product is a bit of a blast from the past, allowing you to play ten different games, in either the classic or remix modes. The games that you can play are; centipede, lunar lander, missile command, gravitar, asteroids, sprint, breakout, pong, tempest and warlords.
The games aren't exact copies of the originals, and are rather just very heavily based on the originals. This means that the quality of the games is actually poorer than some of the original games, especially where the controls seem to fail. The controls are quite awkward much of the time, as you use the stylus and touch screen to play many of the games, and this doesn't feel like the right way to play many of them.
My favourite of the games first time round, although I hadn't played all of them, was breakout. This game involves knocking bricks out of a wall at the top of the screen (in this case on the top of the two screens) and keeping ball in play. This game is slightly flawed however given those two screens, as the ball doesn't seem to follow in quite the same direction when it goes from one screen to the other.
There are other games in this series, such as Lunar Lander, which I found hopelessly difficult to play, due to the control systems. Some of the games are fun to play for a while, but they generally all have quite limited play length. The car racing game sprint would have also been fun if it wasn't for the touch screen and stylus controls.
In a game such as this, it's quite hard to fairly rate the graphics and sound, as they are recreated from days when consoles were less powerful and games didn't have such impressive music and quality graphics. It should be noted that the graphics and sound are poor in the game, but that this is really part of the retro experience of the game.
There was a chance to modernise the graphics and improve the sound in the remix section of the game. However these additions are fairly shallow, just changing some backgrounds, and add nothing to the gameplay, and add very little to the atmosphere of the games. It's really just best to limit your expectations with regards to the sound and graphics.
There is a multi player element to this game, but unfortunately the developers took the view that everyone who wanted to play with you would require their own game cartridge. Some many other developers don't take this view, and it's disappointing when it happens, as it drastically reduces your chances of being able to play the games with others. It also ruins any chance this game had of really extending its shelf life, as without the multi player mode, there really is limited game play in this title.
The game retails at 19.99 pounds, but is currently available at Amazon for 16.99 pounds. If you're happy with a second hand copy, these are available at the time of writing for around fourteen pounds on sites such as eBay and Amazon. The game is rated as 3+, so is suitable for children of nearly all ages.
In summary, this is a game which is great in theory, but which doesn't really work in practice. The games are often hard to control, and are quite irritating to play on some occasions. The requirement for every player to have their own copy of the cartridge also limits any interest that this might have. Not bad if you find the game cheaply, but the remix mode could have been much better. Overall, quite mediocre.