Review: Atari Classics Evolved

By Mike on 10:25 pm

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Another mini-review. Why all the reviews recently? Backlog I guess and there's really nothing else interesting going on at the moment. Today, Mr Peabody and his pet boy Sherman are going to hop in the Way-back Machine to take a look at some classic games that appeared on Atari's retro arcade systems. The game is Atari Classics Evolved for the PSP. Retro gaming is hot and ACE is about as retro as you can get on a modern system without resorting to emulation. It's an anthology of classic arcade titles including the venerable Pong, Centipede, Millipede, Moon Lander, Asteroid, Asteroid Deluxe, Missile Command, Battlezone, Super Breakout, Tempest, and Warlords. Additionally, there are 50 unlockable Atari 2600 games. Some games such as Warlords feature wireless multiplayer. Each of the classic arcade titles features two modes: classic and evolved. Classic mode allows you to view the games as they were back in the 70s and 80s. Evolved mode essentially just gives you more modern graphics though the games themselves remain the same. Pong for example just changes the playing field to look like an actual table tennis table. Games such as Asteroids and Moon Lander get a psudo-3D look.

The games themselves, though simple by today's standards are still quite fun. However, this compilation does have some issues. First of all is control. You'd think this would be hard to mess up on such simple games but Atari built a better idiot. Pong is a little on the unresponsive side and the paddles seem smaller than the actual classic. Same goes for Breakout. To make things even more bizarre, some games are played in a 9:16 aspect ratio. This is to compensate for the PSP's widescreen display (orignal games were 4:3) but controlling the game is awkward because the PSP is not meant to be held on its side. Breakout, Centipede, and Millipede are played this way. The rest of the games have pretty much retained the control structure of the classic titles. Moon Lander is one of my favourites. I remember being introduced to it as the mini-game in LucasArt's "The Dig." One final issue though is the Atari 2600 games. In order to play these, you need to unlock four medals from each arcade game. It's not too difficult but tedious. It would have been nice if they allowed you to unlock a few games at a time. The 2600 games also lack the "Evolved" mode. Overall, the game is a pretty decent diversion when you have a minute or two. It provides a decent, though brief distraction and at $19.99, it's a good value for 61 classics.

What Works:
-Classic Atari Arcade titles
-Good for some brief distraction on the road with simple, classic games.
-Good value for 61 games

What Doesn't Work:
-Sluggish control in some games
-Weird 9:16 aspect ratio required for play in some games.
-Tedious unlocking method for Atari 2600 Games

Rating: 7 out of 10

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