remember plunking quarters into standup arcades for hours on end to play
a few minutes of games that were mostly lines and circles? How about
hanging out at the gas station or mall arcade to watch the local Missile
Command guru beat his own high score again? Or burning images of
pixilated block tanks into the screens of our parents televisions? Of
course, many of us remember that, and for those of us that grew up with
it, we will always have a special place in our hearts for the old school
games like these.
Atari Revival is a set of three reworked games from the 80s. Missile
Command, Combat and Warlords have each been redone with new graphics,
sound, controls and game play. All three games allow for multiplayer
support, either on the same computer or online with a friend. Each of
the titles includes the original version so you can see what 20 years of
experience can do to a game. And although the games have all been
remastered, they are still very much the same games that they were back
in the days of feathered hair and red leather jackets.
I started out
by playing Combat. I figured that it, originally being the most basic of
the three games, had the most room for improvement. And I think that, of
the three, Combat is the one that improved the most. The original game
is pretty much a glorified version of Pong. The new version throws us
into a brand new 3-D world where tanks are easily identified as such and
the bad guys do their darnedest to shoot back at you. The goal of the
each level is to enter a large black sphere. In doing so, you progress
to the next level. Unfortunately, there is a plethora of various
mini-tanks, flying saucers and gun turrets that block your way. You are
driving a fully armored hover tank and bounce off walls like an outer
space pinball game (with lasers).
added quite a bit of play control including strafing ability and an
emergency break. Once you have mastered this, you do a bit less
wall-bouncing, but it is still an integral part of the game. The
graphics for the tanks are somewhat detailed but the levels are simple
and plain, even at hi-res 32 bit color, a blank wall is still just a
blank wall. The music has been improved and does its best to get you
into the spirit of the game, but is still repetitive and flat.
Command comes in two new flavors. The first is a souped up version of
the original. It adds nifty graphics along with realistic explosions and
music, but plays exactly the same as the old school one. Alien lines are
attacking and you have a limited number of missiles to thwart the
threat. As you increase in levels, the lines come faster and you must be
more accurate with your shots.
The fully-overhauled version of Missile Command places you in command
of a squad of pilots in the drivers seat of some pretty high tech
missile toting flying machines. It is your job to protect the continents
of Earth from yet again, some flying lines. The sound and graphics for
Missile Command have been enhanced and a touch of 3-D has been added to
create a more realistic line-fighting game. Unfortunately, I enjoyed the
first, more-original like remake quite a bit better than the 3-D
version. The 3-D graphics are blocky and definitely not up to todays
standards. While they have added extra control to the flying of the
ships, it seems like it is still a point and click game and the extra
control doesnt add very much play value.
my favorite of the three games. It is very true to the original concept
which, while adding some interesting twists, adheres to the fun and
addictive offensive and defensive game play tactics that made the arcade
version such a knockout. You are one of four kings in a battle to defend
your castle from bouncing fireballs that are being thrown at you by the
other kings. You have a shield to block incoming fireballs and the
ability to use your shield to catch and return fire to your enemies.
Some of the
added enhancements include several different powerups including Speed
Up, Slow Down, Reverse Fireballs and Invulnerability. The play control
is still as simple as the arcade version. You move left or right and
your shield travels clockwise or counter-clockwise around your castle.
The controls are customizable, so you can play with the mouse, joystick
or keyboard. The sound and special effects are decent, although like the
previous two, a bit repetitive.
In the end,
it was interesting to see how these games have evolved with new
technology and techniques. For the old school gamer, I might recommend
this for nostalgias sake. But for gamers used to the speed and variety
of newer games, the Atari Revival set is just a prettied up version of
the games of yesteryear.