PS2 REVIEW: ACTIVISION ANTHOLOGY

The older I get the more reminiscing I do. Most of it isn't worth a damn and usually makes me wonder how the hell I ended up here. It's been a long road from wanting to be the next Alice Cooper only to turn into Lou Grant from the Mary Tyler Moore show. But I had dreams, and still do. Should the music industry every require an overweight, middle-age, theatrical, demon dancer - I'm always at the ready.

Activision Anthology takes me back to the80s - a time long before my dreams of stardom began to decay like teeth on a popsicle-slurping hillbilly. This package is jammed with Atari 2600 emulated hits - and some that were never even released. Imagine 48, old-school titles all as original as the day they were born into the binary-coded universe. To even recreate the era further, there's lots of great 80s music from bands like A-Ha and Twisted Sister. But is it all worth the fuss? If you're like me, the past is a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.

I'm not really sold on this game even though I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's just that the flavor doesn't last long and I can't see myself going back to play any of these games. Eventhe new ones (new old stock) such as Kabobber and Thwocker are so similar to the other games that I feel I've already played them. What's really missing in this collection is a good assortment of puzzle games. Ones that would really get you addicted. Instead, most of these games are just far too simple and void of any depth to be truly engaging. They are of the figure-out-the-pattern and shooting gallery genre. Sure they are the forefathers of today's Grand Theft Autos and MechAssaults, but I don't crap in an outhouse like my great grandpappy did more than 100 years ago.

With games such as Kaboom, Megaman, Pitfall, River Raid, Commando, Space Shuttle, Robot Tank, Dragster, Keystone Kapers, Rampage, Seaquest, Chopper Command, Decathlon and Beamrider, you have to find a few that you're really interested in to make this a worthwhile purchase. But be warned that the novelty does wear off fast and you're likely to grow bored of these games really fast. Sure you're probably all excited about a few of these games that bring back memories but keep in mind the reason they bring back memories is because you don't play them anymore because there are a lot better games out there. Activision knows this and has added bonus levels and unlockables such as old commercials and a digital collection of patches that you could send away for 20 years ago if you got the high score on a particular game. The addition of a 3D enhanced mode for the games does not mean these game have been rendered in 3D. Instead, the game is presented on a 3D frame that does all kinds of annoying things like spin and warp.

Some of the games would work better with different controls but like Silent Scope without the rifle, you learn to adapt. All the games are playable and look and sound the way I remember them - which is not all that great. We're dealing with 8-bit graphics which translates to no subtle shades or sophisticated animation. Still I'm glad that Activision didn't attempt to bring these games up-to-date - except for that embarrassing 3D enhanced fiasco. Before this game was released there was word that it would feature an internet link to a site where you could download more games and information. It hasn't been included. I think they said something about there being no more space left on the internet. Probably taken up by all the advertisers.

You still absolutely have to rent this game. If you remember the days, you will really enjoy the nostalgia trip. If you've never played or even heard of any of these games, you still should rent this. Think of it as a collection of mini games rather than a historic collection. I did enjoy the game but I didn't fall in love with it - it was more of a weekend affair.

System: PS2
Dev: Contraband Entertainment
Pub: Activision
Released: Nov 2002
Players: 2
Review by Cole
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.5
GRAPHICS
2
CONTROL
3.5
MUSIC/FX
4
VALUE
2.5