Atari Revival review

These remakes don't look that great or play that well, but at least you get all three of them for $20.

Combat with a new look--and bad control.
Combat with a new look--and bad control.

Atari Revival is a budget-priced compilation of arcade and classic video game remakes. If you're not familiar with budget arcade remakes, here's a quick rundown: Take an original arcade game from the '70s, '80s, or '90s, add some fancy 3D graphics to it, make one or two new additions to it, and put it in a box. In the case of Atari Revival, Infogrames put three remakes in a box on three separate CDs--Combat, Missile Command, and Warlords--some of which were previously released as stand-alone products. These remakes don't look that great or play that well, but at least you get all three of them for $20.

One of the three remakes in Atari Revival is of Combat, the classic tank-combat video game. In the original game, you controlled a tank from an overhead view, and you had to shoot enemies before they shot you or crashed into you. In the remake, which was originally released as a stand-alone game late last year, you control your vehicle from a third-person, over-the-shoulder perspective, and instead of a tank, you control a futuristic "hovercraft" that handles like a slippery bar of soap. Though Combat uses 3D graphics, its blocky, polygonal enemies and pasted-on explosions look pretty simple, presumably so that the game can run on low-end computers. Unfortunately, even though the game runs nice and fast, its control is too loose--even with a good gamepad, you'll find yourself spinning out into walls. Combat has a pretty generic thumpin' techno soundtrack, which you might enjoy if you prefer that sort of thing, though you're more likely to ignore it otherwise.

Atari Revival also packs in a remake of the arcade game Missile Command--this remake was actually released under the Hasbro Interactive label back in 1998. Missile Command has two modes: classic and ultimate. Classic mode is basically the original game (with updated 2D graphics), in which you control three static turrets and fire exploding missiles up into the sky to ward off falling missiles and alien spaceships. Ultimate mode is a fully 3D mode in which you control three floating, bobbing turrets and shoot missiles at other incoming missiles and spaceships, but missiles tend to appear up in the sky while aliens appear below your ships, so you'll have to periodically switch your view up and down. Since this remake of Missile Command dates back to 1998, its 3D graphics look quite dated--shooting enemy missiles creates explosions that look especially pixelated. And Missile Command's thumpin' techno soundtrack is even louder and more enthusiastic than Combat's, but since it's an even simpler game, the music almost seems silly.

It's Warlords, all right.
It's Warlords, all right.

Finally, Atari Revival features Warlords, another classic game, in two different forms: an arcade-perfect emulation and a modern-day 3D remake. The original Warlords was essentially like a four-player foosball game. Each of the four players is a "warlord" who has a castle at each corner of the screen, and each castle has a shield that you use like a paddle to deflect a bouncing ball of dragon's breath before it can hit and break away the walls of your castle, and you can also grab and hold the ball to give it some extra spin. The last warlord standing wins. This emulated version is a decent nostalgia piece if you were a fan of the original game, and the remade version is almost identical. Otherwise, the remake's 3D graphics look dated, and its somber, medieval-themed music is as forgettable as the music for the other games.

Generally speaking, most arcade remakes don't turn out all that well. This is also generally true for the three remakes in Atari Revival. And for some bizarre reason, you can't actually play any of the games without the appropriate CD in your computer. You also can't quickly Alt-Tab between the games and whatever other work you're doing, which basically makes the games useless as the quick lunch-break diversion you might want them to be. About the best thing you can say for these games is that you get all three for $20--it's a decent value, but you could be spending your money on better games.

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  • First Released
    • PC
    These remakes don't look that great or play that well, but at least you get all three of them for $20.
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