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Developer:
Konami
Publisher: Konami
Platform: Nintendo DS

by Felipe Faria Lemos




Lately there has been a trend of retro gaming on all the platforms, brought in the form of compilations and downloads. On the Nintendo Wii, there are the classic games available for download from the Virtual Console Service. On the Xbox 360, the Xbox Marketplace provides a similar service, and on the PlayStation 3, there are PS1 titles ready to be purchased.


Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits fits in the compilation category, and the cartridge is packed with 15 classic titles straight from the arcades in the 1980s. Of the 15 titles available, several of them are easily recognizable; Contra, Gradius, Track & Field, and Time Pilot are some examples. The other 12 titles, however less popular, are still worth pulling out for a playing session. One very important feature that all the games in this compilation share is the insane difficulty. These titles were definitely designed to eat away all the quarters you had in about half an hour.


The great thing about having them in your pocket on the Nintendo DS is that you can try again and again without having to worry about spending all your laundry money. With this said, this compilation is not for the less patient player, since even on the easiest difficulty setting, it will still provide quite a challenge.


Talking about settings, configurations and customizations are very robust in Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits. Not only can the player choose which screen the action takes place, he or she can also choose the orientation (vertical or horizontal) and fit to screen or keep original appearance, among others. Gameplay settings are also very deep, and provide total control over the machine, just like its owner would. After a particular game is chosen, accessing the settings screen will give the choice of opening easy configurations or detail configurations. In the easy configuration screen, settings such as number of lives, difficulty, bonus requirements, and such are displayed in simple, modern menus. However, if detailed configuration is accessed, it will display the actual board inside the arcade machine, and focus on the available dip switches, along with a manual on the upper screen. The settings available are the same as in easy configuration, but there is something special about being able to flip the switches on or off using the touch screen, and figuring out how these classic machines could be tweaked. Now you can see how the owner of the arcade place ripped you off by mere flipping of switches.


The complete compilation consists of: Contra, Gradius, Time Pilot, Scramble, Rush N Attack, Horror Maze, Pooyan, Roc N Rope, Track & Field, Circus Charlie, Basketball, Road Fighter, Yie Ar Kung Fu, RainbowBell, and Shao-lins Road. All of these games were released in the 80s, and therefore graphics are as you would expect, with some games looking better than others. Sound is also very characteristic of the time, and is full of blips and laser effects, never being fancy or truly catchy, with some rare exceptions.


Every game is, however, garnished with good bonus content, such as the original leaflets (both in English and in Japanese for certain games), cover of the instructions manual, and even the boards inside the machines. When looking at these pictures, the player can zoom in and out, and the quality of the pictures is decent. Some pictures, however, (especially the boards) seem more like an illustration rather than an actual photograph, and when zoomed in become blurry. Another nice little bonus is the jukebox, in which the player can listen to all the soundtracks from the games, even with the system flipped shut.


The wireless support in Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits is also very vast. The game supports both single-card and multi-card play. In single-card, you can send demos of the 15 games to your friends, and they can keep it for as long as the system is not shut down. In multi-card play, you can send replays, play cooperatively or against each other, and even use a second DS as a separate controller.


Overall, Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits is a very solid compilation, with a good selection of titles and rich bonus content. Although only a couple of games were truly successful and have sequels, the other games in the package do offer fun play, and are perfect for a quick gaming session. After all, with the limitations of the past, games were not deep, and the whole point of playing them was to put your name up in the high score ranking.


Final Grade: 75%




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