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Score: 5.5 / 10
I used to roll my eyes and grumble about
the necessity of producing classic console compilation and arcade
classics. How much effort and creativity does it take to dump a bunch of
old titles onto a disc and ship it? But I ask this question less and
less. For the nostalgia hit I get from compilation discs, like Midway’s
Arcade Treasures series, I forget any thoughts of “creative bankruptcy.”
And so we comes to Tecmo Classic Arcade, which features a solid bunch of
titles from yesteryear that are emulated here to great effect.
The only downside I can see, other than only a couple of marquee titles
that everyone should recognize (if in name only) included on the disc,
is an extremely anemic history behind each game. Beyond a scrolling text
bar of each game and a
few pages of original pamphlet material,
there’s nothing else. No videos, no developer interviews, no videogame
historian recounting each arcade game’s effect on the industry (if any)
in a serious, monotone voice. I like the nostalgia hit but I love
background information, tidbits on the development of a game that were
only rumor until a member of the development spills the beans. So if
expecting some historical retrospective you’ll be disappointed.
Here’s a quick list of the 11 titles you’ll find on the disc:
Tecmo Bowl – The cult favorite and headline title for this disc,
the classic football game returns in its original glory, complete with
4-player support. In all honesty, I would have liked to have seen the
Rygar – Rygar “king of the beasts and ruler of the world” is one
of those half-annoying, half-engrossing sidescrollers like Bad Dudes,
set in a fantasy realm. Since it’s an arcade game it goes out of its way
to kill you repeatedly, forcing the player to dump more quarters into
Strato Fighter – You just can beat a good sidescrolling space
shooter. Strato Fighter’s only real contribution to originality is being
able to turn your ship around with the touch of a button.
Solomon’s Key – A mostly forgettable action puzzle game.
Star Force – If this game passed as entertainment in 1984, I
would not want anyone to invent a time machine. This vertical scrolling
space shooter is one title in particular that does not hold up well –
there are cel phone games better than this.
Tecmo Cup – The arcade original featured a trackball, which made
playing the game somewhat interesting. There’s obviously no trackball
add-on for the Xbox, so some of the enjoyment is drained away. But the
fact it’s a top-down soccer game makes it worth playing.
Bomb Jack – “Collect the bombs before it’s too late!” With a
catchphrase like that who wouldn’t want to spend some time with Bomb
Jack? The title screen makes me think of the much more successful
Bomberman series, but the action is nothing similar.
Pleiads – It’s 1981 and Tecmo releases it’s first arcade game,
Pleiads, which is in fact a rip-off of the much more well known Space
Invaders (1978), Galaxian (1979) and Galaga (1981) uprights. Still, it’s
nice to see where Tecmo roots are.
Swimmer – Swimmer reminds me of ‘Toobin (available on Midway’s
first Arcade Treasures disc), but Swimmer is much more strongly rooted
in fantasy. Collecting fruit while swimming? Okay, I’ve never done it
but I hear it’s popular in Norway . You swim upstream against the
current and any sense of fun.
Pinball Action – Everyone likes a good game of pinball, even if
it’s a replica of the real thing. Surprisingly good ball physics.
Senjyo – When games were flat, one-dimensional works of “art”
people yearned for the next stage in gaming: 3D. In 1983 Tecmo tried
their hand at taking the gaming world there with Senjyo, which involves
space tanks and 360degrees of movement. It’s a good contrast to the kind
of polygon pumping behemoths that can be found in the arcades today (and
I’m not talking about that smelly guy that likes to hang around the
Nostalgia should be a big push for this disc because there’s not much
else to be found. Besides the lack of historical extras Tecmo hasn’t
even included online score tracking. That said, if you have a weakness
for these compilations, Tecmo Classic Arcade is a great buy.