Title: Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection
Genre: Shooter, Action, Arcade
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: PEGI 7
Release Date: 18/04/19
Price: £15.99 – Rapid Reviews UK were very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the Developers say
KONAMI starts its 50th anniversary celebration with this first installment of the Anniversary Collection series of the all-time classics!
This collection includes 8 arcade masterpieces of the 80s, from Nemesis to Haunted Castle, but also a bonus eBook packed with new information about the titles, including interviews with the development staff, behind-the-scenes insights, and sketches and design documents never before revealed to the public!
This is a celebration of Konami’s all-time classic’s and its first instalment of this Anniversary Collection series. It has 8 games from Konami’s history all available to play with extra features for your enjoyment. The collection also includes a bonus book with unseen concept art, music sheets and an interview with the developers.
Audio & Visual
The audio in this arcade classics collection will create a lot of nostalgia for many a gamer. Each song calls back to its past with a lot of fond memories. Some of my favourite tunes are from; Typhoon, Haunted Castle, Vulcan Venture and Thunder Cross. The songs sound great on the Nintendo Switch, both in handheld and TV mode. Each one hits all the right notes, drawing you into the experience. The sound effects may sound a little dated now but its that nostalgia value of remembering these games in their prime.
Visually, these games are also pretty good considering these games were made from 1981 to 1988. Some look better than others, like Vulcan Venture with its crisp attention to detail while others like Haunted Castle shows its age. But you can’t deny that at that time we could have never imagined how far games would come in terms of graphics and gameplay. Sometimes it’s important to go back and see the past and appreciate the history of old classics.
Gameplay & Replayability
So what can you expect from the arcade classics? There are eight titles to play from the get-go, so let’s take a little look at each one briefly.
The start-up game in the lineup is called Scramble which was released in 1981. This is a little game that has you bombing and shooting enemies while trying to refuel your rocket by bombing fuel depots. This was okay for a few goes, however, it was my least favourite in of the collection.
Twinbee should be familiar to most people, as its been on 3DS, Wii eShops and in other collections. Here you must pilot Twinbee and Winbee to destroy King Spice and his evil army.
Nemesis is the first entry in the beloved Konami series that is Gradius. Most shooter fans will appreciate this inclusion. You are introduced to an energy capsule system, levelling up your ship in 6 different ways.
Life Force is our next title which sees Vic Viper in a brand new mission. This time the capsule system is nowhere to be seen and a new form of power-up collecting is available – collect multiple green orbs to use your new found trail to fire multiple shots at once upon your enemies.
Next in the collection is Typhoon which is one of my favourites as it’s got a unique twist to its mechanics. You pilot a jet fighter in a top-down perspective, then control a battle helicopter from a vertical perspective which changes up the gameplay.
Haunted Castle is a bit of a strange inclusion as its the only platformer in what is technically a shooter collection. As well as this, it is also the worst of the 8 games. Anyway, here you get to play as Simon Belmont…sounds familiar…on one of his first adventures. The best part of this game is its awesome music: at least it has one thing going for it.
Vulcan Venture continues the Gradius series, and it pushes the limits with improved graphics. The old capsule system returns with the ability to select your favourite weapons and shields this time around.
Thunder Cross is the last of the 8 titles and definitely by far my favourite title in the collection. You pilot a space fighter as you shoot and destroy a mechanical army, collecting power-ups to increase your firepower and add more drones to assist you in the fight.
The last inclusion here is the Digital Bonus book that is comprised of concept art, documents that have never been seen before and interviews with the developers, as well as look at the history of Konami.
The collection as a whole is decent with only Haunted Castle being the odd one out and least fun to play. Each game has a few new features such as auto fire, game info screen for controls, game details, save states, access to lives, difficulty settings, display settings and control options. While some of these options are appreciated, I felt there weren’t enough extra features. For example, there are only 2 optional frames for all games, and there is no new concept art or any other challenge modes or even online leaderboards which is a huge letdown.
Also, my biggest gripe with the title is its save states. While it’s a useful feature, there is no way to press a single button to restart from a saved location. Instead, you need to pause the game, click the save & load option then select load. Then say if you died and want to reload, you have to go through the same process again… It’s tedious and should have been simplified with a single button, so the action is never stopped.
Other than that, its a pretty decent collection of shooters from Konami’s history that you can play alone or with a friend thanks to its two-player option: also a great extra.
If you haven’t figured it out already, I like this collection. It’s got a lot right, but I wish there were more of it. I feel as though they could have added a few more games and a few more extras. Most collections these days go above and beyond to add extra incentives to keep gamers playing and its an oversight on Konami’s part that no additional online features were added, especially for a shoot-em-up.
I like the collection apart from the things I’ve mentioned, especially the somewhat strange inclusion of Haunted Castle which looks so dated it’s laughable. I can’t deny though that fans will lap it up. The price point is a little higher than I think it should be, currently standing at £15.99. I think £11.99 would have been a better starting point as there is not a lot here. That said, it’s still a collection that is worth playing, especially if you love Konami’s games and the shooter genre.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase KONAMI Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics from the Nintendo eShop on the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Arcade-Classics-Anniversary-Collection-1548600.html#Overview