Tecmo Classic Arcade Updated Hands-On

We go to the Tecmo Bowl, find Solomon's Key, and then go for a swim, all from the comfort of Tecmo's upcoming arcade compilation.

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Eleven games for $29.99. It's hard to argue with that kind of value, but when it comes to arcade compilations, figuring out which ones are worth the money can be a little tricky. The arcade games of the '80s and '90s are all over the place in terms of quality, and the end result is usually a collection of passable games with one or two genuine hits thrown in.

What makes a game a hit? Well, you could always fall back onto sales and distribution figures, but in the case of a classics collection, the hits are up to each and every one of us. Nostalgia plays a huge role here, and your excitement about the arcade re-creations found in Tecmo Classic Arcade is wholly dependent on how well you remember these games.

Tecmo Bowl is a name that resonates with many longtime players, and it's present in Tecmo's compilation. However, this is the original four-player arcade version. It was the NES home version that made the name famous, but fans of that version will find a lot of the Tecmo Bowl magic in the arcade original. Because the arcade version was a dual-screen game, it's displayed in a very tight letterbox on 4:3 television sets.

 Trivia: Tecmo was originally known as Tehkan.
Trivia: Tecmo was originally known as Tehkan.

Rygar is another name that has the potential for nostalgia. But ask most players who grew up around the time of the NES, and they'll tell you all about Rygar's epic NES adventure, right down to the crazy bald-headed sage-types that you'd encounter. Rygar's arcade roots, however, plant the warrior in a strictly side-scrolling adventure not entirely unlike Capcom's Ghosts 'n Goblins. It's certainly a quality arcade game, but if you're looking for the NES game, you might be a little disappointed.

One thing that doesn't disappoint is Tecmo's attention to emulation detail. The compilation isn't finished quite yet, but the majority of the games are running at full speed and don't appear to be dropping any frames. The lone game that we noticed slowing down is Tecmo Bowl, but given the unique, dual-screen setup of the original, it makes sense that it wouldn't be finished yet. We don't see any reason it won't be running at full speed when the collection is released next month.

The rest of the games in the collection--Pleiads, Senjyo, Star Force, Bomb Jack, Tecmo Cup, Swimmer, Strato Fighter, Solomon's Key, and Pinball Action--seem to perform just fine. The controls are hooked up properly, and they play exactly how you'd expect. The gallery option gives you a few pages of side art, marquee images, sales sheets, and other tidbits of artwork from Tecmo's past.

Tecmo Bowl may have gotten famous on the NES, but the arcade version is also a definite classic.
Tecmo Bowl may have gotten famous on the NES, but the arcade version is also a definite classic.

While the quality of the emulation seems fine, it's difficult to refer to every single one of these games as a "classic," especially when you dig around in Tecmo's arcade library and notice the omission of games like Silk Worm and, of course, the arcade version of Ninja Gaiden (though you can find that one . Perhaps these are being saved for a second installment in the Classic Arcade series. Regardless, anyone with nostalgic interest in any of the 11 games found in this installment is sure to be thrilled when the package is released on the Xbox this September.

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