Review: Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits

Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits

Platform: Nintendo DS
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Release Date: 3/27/07
Genre: Compilation
Players: 1-2

Compiling 15 classic coin-op arcade games from the 80’s, Konami revisits its past once again and brings an array of its most timeless titles to the DS for the first time in Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits. As if the sizeable roster of games wasn’t enough, Konami has rounded out the compilation with a nostalgic smorgasbord of customization options, wireless features and bonus material, all equating to one fun-filled trip down memory lane, Konami style!

With the 15 included games, this Arcade Hits compilation touches on just about every arcade genre and thusly has a little something for everyone. Due to their timelessly entertaining gameplay and franchise name brands, classics like Contra and Gradius are without question the stars of the show, and make this package an attractive purchase all by themselves. But while those higher profile hits will draw you in initially, there are many others that will keep you coming back for more time and time again.

Alongside Gradius, Time Pilot, RainbowBell and Scramble make for an especially strong showing in the shooter department. Combine those with other fun games like Pooyan, Track & Field, Circus Charlie, Yie Ar Kung Fu (I was personally thrilled to see this one included having wasted away many quarters playing it at a local bowling alley arcade growing up), Shao-lin’s Road and Basketball, and there are hours of old-school gaming enjoyment to be had. For me, the only included games I didn’t care much to play past one or two times were Road Fighter, Horror Maze, Roc’N Rope and Rush’N Attack, but four duds out of 15 is a solid ratio given the propensity for compilation releases to contain a far higher percentage than that.

As far as emulation goes, every title has been faithfully ported to the DS with authentic audiovisual elements retained across the lot. Picky arcade purists may scoff some at the slight orientation modifications that were made to fit these games to the smaller DS display, however a variety of vertical and horizontal screen configurations are available to make up for this, and overall I found the arcade-to-DS translation to be as optimal as possible.

Besides doing splendidly with the ports, Konami has done even better in celebrating its classic games through special features and bonus material. Music tracks, game info, control descriptions, play tips, instruction cards, leaflets and circuit board images are packed in for each title, and wireless support for co-op play (in certain games), transferring saved replay footage, and sharing game demos with other DS’s enable you to enjoy the arcadey fun with others.

Altogether, the Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits collection scores high on the nostalgia meter, faithfully representing some of Konami’s most treasured arcade games and celebrating them all with tons of options and special content. I’m taken aback that Frogger, one of Konami’s most recognizable games (and franchises), was left out of the mix, and even though this is a collection of arcade games I’d love to see Konami open up the vault and do a full classic compilation to include titles like the older Metal Gear and Castlevania games (a guy can dream, can’t he?). Given the typical budget price of these types of collections (larger console collections at that), I also think a pricing of $19.99 rather than its current $29.99 tag would’ve been a better fit here. Nevertheless, Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits delivers more than enough bang for the buck and is a game old-school arcade fans and compilation collectors should pick up.

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About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!