With the release of the Nintendo DS, there was a lot of new gaming space opened up for old games to come back and, especially with the stylus, have a completely new outlook. This is exactly what Atari have done with Retro Classics. However, rather than just put the old games on there they have tried updating them with some famous graffiti artists putting their own touches on the game which is kind of cool but ultimately, unless you like the games on offer, you won't find to much to play.
Retro Classics is made up of ten of Atari's most famous games ranging from Centipede through to Lunar Lander. These games are perfect for the DS because they can be switched off at any time without losing much gameplay. The one downside is the repetitive nature of the title but that is to be expected. The game features two modes; classic and remix. Classic is where you play the normal game and remix is the updated version although really only the graphics have changed. That's not to say the old graphics are not updated, they are just not in a graffiti way as per the remix mode.
Break out: Breakout is probably more commonly known as "Alley Way" and tasks you with moving a paddle to hit a ball into blocks until they are all gone. The paddle is controlled with the stylus which comes off as a nice change but overall it's just the same old Breakout, and that's the way it should be. The remix mode adds characters and graffiti to the wall as well as uses someone's head instead of a paddle to hit the ball.
Centipede: You play as a centipede's head which can shoot and you have to stop the spider and centipede eating you by dodging bullets and the spider. This game doesn't use the stylus very well and we found the main control set to be more useful. In terms of updates the graffiti updates, the game uses the same character from Breakout to shoot and uses more 'trippy' colour sets during the games rather than the blandish colours of the original.
Gravitar: This game tasks you with landing an out of control spaceship while being shot at. This is a big test for the stylus and the precise control you get with it makes the game easier to play and suits the game well. The remix version makes the colours more pronounced and vibrant but other than that the game really doesn't look that much different.
Lunar Landar: Take the role of man on the moon by landing the lunar lander on the launch pad right using the stylus and the world of physics. The original game has some fairly nice graphics and interface while the updated graffiti really has only changed the interface to a more casual font and colours but overall the control system remains the same.
Defender: Most people will know defender. Its the game where you take controls of a city's defence system and shoot down in-coming missles. This works really well with the stylus because of the precise aiming and in a way feels a bit like a cheat. The graffiti version is probably one of the better ones with full city skyline in view and better explosions with lasting fire effects. This is one of the better games on the cartridge and it's no surprise considering its popularity back in the day.
Pong: Pong is a a game which everyone knows; table tennis on a computer screen. This is one of the games you can play multiplayer on the cart wirelessly. The graphics for the classic have been retained which is actually a positive considering how famous this game is in video game history. For the remix the artists have retained most of the game style, with only a few colours changed and a look of lego blocks added.
Sprint is another game which can be played multi cart and tasks you with using the stylus to drive around a track using a top down view. It was a popular game back in the day and still remains one of the better games on the cartridge due to its pick up and play nature. The DS version has a steering wheel on the second screen which is nice but the graffiti version only updates the interface and background, not much else.
Tempest. Avoid the bullets and enemies while you continue through the game. Fairly self explanatory but you can shoot back and the objects become tighter and tighter making it harder to avoid the enemy. This is one of the better games on the cartridge. The remix version is actually quite cool, one of the better ones again and it adds a lego block style feel to the game. This is one of the ones we prefer in remix as opposd to original.
Asteroids: One of the most famous games around where you control a small ship and have to destroy asteroids before they hit you as they break into small pieces. The stylus control is excellent and the graffiti remix is the best one on the cartridge with a nice graphical style used and it seems to suit the game very well.
Atari Retro Classics was a nice idea but really it comes down to whether you like the games on the cart or not. The graffiti probably could have had a bit more work done to it but they probably wanted to retain the same character and feel of the original games. Only a few work in graffiti mode well, but those that do are really well done with the rest making up a fairly solid package for on the go gaming.
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