Activision Hits Remixed has a lot of great, old 2600 games in it, and it's selling for a nice, low price.
- More than 40 Atari 2600 games, including some that were never released to the public
- saves your progress and your high scores.
- Paddle games, like Kaboom!, don't play properly
- graphics are a bit blurry.
Activision might not be the biggest third-party publisher for consoles in the world, but they're the first. As the first company other than Atari to make games for the sweet, sweet woodgrain, the Atari 2600, Activision pumped out a load of classic games. Most of those classics are contained on Activision Hits Remixed for the PSP, which is really just a renamed version of Activision Anthology that was released on the PS2 last year. The games run accurately and the package has some nice extras, but the graphics are a little on the blurry side.
There are more than 40 games in the collection, covering just about every Activision 2600 game that you'd want to see, like Pitfall!, Kaboom!, and River Raid, which are probably the most famous games in the collection. But there are plenty of other games, too, like Megamania, Pitfall II: Lost Cavern, Keystone Kapers, Chopper Command, and Stampede. Games from classic Atari publisher Imagic are also present, letting you play stuff like Atlantis and Demon Attack, both great games in their day. You can change games on the fly with very little loading, and it'll even keep track of your progress in a game, so if you play halfway through Pitfall II and get tired of looking for Quickclaw, Harry's lion buddy, you can quit for awhile, play some other games, and go back to it later and resume right where you left off. You can also save that progress to your Memory Stick, but you'll have to manually save and load.
Unlike most other classic compilations, Activision Hits Remixed has a soundtrack. While you play, you'll hear songs from bands like Talk Talk, Twisted Sister, Missing Persons, Blondie, Naked Eyes, and A-Ha. It's a modest soundtrack that attempts to deliver the sounds of the '80s, and it works for the most part. But since some of the games themselves have music or sound effects that you'd want to hear, the soundtrack can get in the way. However, you can turn it all the way down if you'd like. Many of the games also have unlockables, like old commercials, which are a nice addition that give you something to shoot for.
These games seem like perfect emulations of the originals, though the control occasionally gets in the way. While all the joystick games are fine, Kaboom! was played with a rotary paddle controller. You can use the analog stick to sort of emulate the action of the paddle, but it automatically snaps back to center, which makes it really touchy to control. You can use the D pad instead, but you can't move it fast enough to take on the higher levels of the game. Also, the view options you get aren't very good. By default, the games run in a smallish window. By turning off the HUD, you can stretch them to fill the entire screen, which doesn't look so great. Either way, both options are a bit blurry. While that's how these games were probably viewed on the relatively lousy TVs of the '70s and '80s, the sharp, hard edges of the 2600's pixels would have looked better.
If you're into Atari 2600 games and are looking for an easy way to play some of that system's greatest games on the go, Activision Hits Remixed won't steer you wrong. It's got a good deal of variety, it's going for a budget price of $20 bucks, and aside from the occasional paddle game, they play exactly how you'll remember them.