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Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits

For: DS

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Product: Konami Arcade Classics | Developer: Leviathan Games | Publisher: Konami | Format: DS | Genre: Arcade | Players: 1-2 | Networking: wireless (adhoc) | Version: US
Konami Arcade Classics DS, thumbnail 1
The scent of stale cigarettes, the chirrup of broken electronics, dried gum on thinly-carpeted floors, and the creepy middle-aged dude in the corner playing Ms. Pac-Man – it can only be the games arcade. Times are changing and such arcades are becoming history, but you can relive their memory with Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits.

For this release, Konami has unlocked its 1980s vault and pulled out 15 games: Scramble, Horror Maze (originally entitled Tutenkahm), Pooyan, Time Pilot, Roc'n Rope, Track & Field, Circus Charlie, Basketball, Road Fighter, Yie Ar Kung-Fu, Rainbow Bell, Shao-Lin's Road, Gradius, Rush 'N Attach and Contra. Popping the cartridge into your DS, you can choose from any of these using the radial menu on the touchscreen.

Of course, quantity doesn't mean anything on its own – what you'll get out of Arcade Hits depends on how many of the included games you like. And there are some real gems in this collection: Hardcore shooters Contra and Scramble play as well as ever; Time Pilot will have you saving parachuting pilots while shooting down the enemy; and Track & Field will wear your fingers out with all its Olympics-themed button-mashing.

You'll also get to try rarer titles like Rush 'N Attack and Shao-Lin's Road, which are both great little beat-'em-up games. Sure, a couple of these better games have made their way into other anthologies (Gradius, we're looking at you) but it's nice to have them in one neat package.

That said, Arcade Hits also contains some stinkers. Games like Roc'n Rope, Yie Ar Kung-Fu, and Rainbow Bell will rain on your nostalgic parade. Including Basketball was a horrid mistake; not only is it dreadful by contemporary standards, but it was pretty awful back in the day. And don't even get us started on Pooyan. Steer clear of these downers and your time with Arcade Hits will be more enjoyable.

Depending on the game, co-operative or competitive multiplayer is available for two players. (For whatever reason, Konami has restricted you to a gaming couple, despite games like Track & Field previously being able to support four players.) What's nice is you only need a single cartridge and two handhelds to play, making it easy to wirelessly sync up with a pal for a quick run through Contra.

But what's most impressive about the collection is the amount of love that has gone into it. Each game has been faithfully ported from its original arcade state. Adjustments were necessary in order to fit on the DS' screens, but for the most part everything remains intact. You'll even be prompted to insert coins for credits to play.

By default, games are played on the top screen and options are available on the touchscreen. Tapping the latter at any time takes you to the pause menu, from which you can access different options and game-specific bonus content. Arcade Hits features a veritable smorgasbord of options for configuring the display, such as the aspect ratio for rendering the games (you can choose to play holding your DS like a book, for example) and which screen to play them on.

You can also adjust parameters specific to each game including difficulty and number of lives; in fact, it's possible to flip the actual setting switches on a mockup of a game's motherboard.

What's more, each game comes a wealth of extras, including an archive of information, galleries and music tracks. Whether or not you played these games in their arcade form, it's interesting to see the old instruction booklet covers and gawk at the ancient technology used to create the motherboard.

Such touches make Arcade Hits into a superior compilation. Sure, some games are underwhelming, but if you've enjoyed classics such as Contra, Scramble, Track & Field and Gradius, there's enough to justify picking it up. By bringing back the things you liked about old arcades but without the musty aroma, Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits proves there's no such thing as Game Over.
Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 23 April 2007
Arcade Hits is a thoughtful collection including some great games, loads of extras, and fun multiplayer options
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