Atari Anthology

Atari Anthology

Scott Asnault

Atari Anthology collects the arcade games that started the boom of the videogame industry as well as relics from the Atari 2600. It packages 18 arcade-perfect versions of video arcade classics such as Battlezone, Tempest, and Pong, plus 67 classic and not-so-classic Atari 2600 games including Combat, Atari Outlaw, and Human Cannonball.

It’s a rich vein to mine, but Anthology seems to miss some of the games that served to define the 2600—that is, its licensed titles. The ill-fated E.T., which many have claimed to be the worst game ever produced, is noticeably absent. Pac-Man and Raiders of the Lost Ark, too, are nowhere to be found, and the package seems lacking for it.

Near-perfect emulations and cool bonus features packaging old box art, manual scans, photos, and brand-new interviews sweetens the deal, and here, the compilation wholly fulfills its role as both entertainer and historian.

The problem is—here it comes—the painfully oversensitive controls mar the nostalgia. Take the classic Asteroids (compiled both in its arcade form as well as in its less polished Atari 2600 iteration), which comes out worse for the wear, as the slightest tap of the Xbox controller’s D-pad equals death on the rocks. This wonderful trip down amnesia lane has its price.

07 OUT OF TEN

PUBLISHER: Atari // DEVELOPER: Atari/Digital Eclipse // PLAYERS: 1 -4 // LIVE: No // MSRP: $19.99 // ESRB: E

Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Xbox Nation.