The classic gaming bandwagon just keeps getting bigger and bigger. This time around, Midway has packaged up a bunch of mid-'80s Atari games. Atari Collection 2 contains Paperboy, Roadblasters, Crystal Castles, Marble Madness, Millipede, and Gauntlet.
While many of the games are identical emulations, meaning they use the same code as the original arcade versions, Gauntlet and Paperboy are ports, meaning the original coin-op code was converted over. The ports are pretty good, although there are a few spots where you can notice the difference. Gauntlet supports the multitap, so four players can play. Analog control is supported in Paperboy, Roadblasters, Crystal Castles, and Marble Madness. It works reasonably well, but is a bit too touchy at times. Crystal Castles and Marble Madness simply demand a trackball - no other controller will do.
The graphics are what you'd expect from games of that era, but everything looks more than a little fuzzy. Paperboy is the fuzziest of the bunch, and also has some weird contrast problems going on. The sound is about the same, but there is some weirdness here, too. Gauntlet occasionally forgets to make the key pickup noise, and the character-specific speech, "Warrior...now has...extra shot power," is even slower than normal.
Without trackballs, Marble Madness and Crystal Castles aren't much fun. Without a steering wheel, Roadblasters suffers. Without the crazy handlebars, Paperboy isn't nearly as good. Gauntlet and Millipede control reasonably well, but Gauntlet just seems strange and doesn't hold up as well as I thought it would.
And that's perhaps the largest problem with this collection. The games just don't hold up as well to the tests of time as the previous collections. There's just something eerily wrong with the games, like all the fun got sucked out, and blurry, poor-controlling husks were all that remained. Get it for Gauntlet, if you're a fan. Otherwise, you're still better off tracking down the arcade versions of these games.