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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Classic Games

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Activision

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2002

 

 

- Unmatched selection of games

- Variety of genres and themes

- Picture Perfect Emulation

- Great Soundtrack

 

 

- If not bitten by nostalgia bug, the arcade game play might get old.

- I still suck at Megamania

- The Un-lockable modes are just plain weird

 

 

Review: Midway Arcade Treasures 2 (Camecube)

 

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Activision Anthology

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

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As someone who is old enough to have been around at the beginning of the videogame craze, to have played Pong in hotel lobbies, to have anxiously awaited the release of Donkey Kong in the US after hearing through the grapevine just how awesome it was, Iíve always been a sucker for retro videogame anthologies.  I have a good collection of them for the PSX, the Saturn, the Dreamcast, the PS2, even the N64.  Still, even I am willing to admit that these collections have rarely been worth the prices charged (with the exception of the Dungeons and Dragons Arcade Collection for the Saturn w/4mb expansion card, but thatís another story).  The good thing is you get to play the classic games again on the big screen, but the bad news is there simply isnít enough game play in a handful of retro classics to warrant the expense (especially since many of the titles are readily available in other collections and (god, and the law, forbid) for emulators. The Activision Anthology eliminates that problem by including a ridiculous variety of games coupled with hundreds of Easter eggs and other bells and whistles.  It is easily the best such collection to come along yet.

 

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- Playstation 2 Game Reviews

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Activision Anthology includes over 45 games from the classic Atari 2600 library right out of the box (with maybe a few others un-lockable).  The list of games is stunning and includes all of the seminal games Activision created after bolting from Atari:  Chopper Command, Crackpots, H.E.R.O., Megamania, Pitfall, Pitfall 2, River Raid, Starmaster, Commando, and Decathalon (just to name a few!).  All of those games were serious time-suckers back in the day, and they hold up surprisingly well.

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The ports here are picture and sound perfect.  Other than the control pad, playing these games now is just like playing them then, and I, for one, certainly donít miss the rubbery, non-responsive Atari joystick.  In fact, many of these games are far easier and more enjoyable with the modern joystick, even if 90% of its buttons are going to waste.

 

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Tons of games done well is certainly enough to make an anthology worth purchasing, but Activision Anthology has more than that.  First, it has a tremendous soundtrack of classic 80ís pop and rock tunes.  It is not quite the CD bustín extravaganza of GTA: Vice City, but what it lack in quantity it more than makes up for in quality.  Playing these games with that soundtrack blaring is like jacking H.G. Wellsís time machine.

 

In addition to the soundtrack, performing well in certain games can open up new modes.  Most of these are trivial and some are simply unplayable, but the challenge opening them up is still rewarding.  Playing these games originally meant making up your own goals.  It is nice to see Activision provide gamers with some scores to shoot for.

 

The presentation is also top notch.  It is set up like a 80ís bedroom with TV, Atari 2600, and the seemingly ubiquitous spinning cartridge rack.  The only thing that separates the virtual setup from my 80ís videogame ensemble is that rack is packed with more games than I could ever afford Ė until now.

 

If you have even a passing interest in the videogames of the past, Activision Anthology is a must-have title.  It is too complete and too well done to pass up.  At about fifty cents a game, itís also great value.

 

- Tolen Dante

(January 22, 2003)

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