reviews\ Nov 16, 2003 at 7:00 pm

Activision Anthology: Remix Edition - PC - Review

With games with fantastic graphics and deep gameplay like Half-Life 2, Max Payne 2 and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time hitting the market, it can be tough to remember a simpler time when all you needed was a joystick with one button and a few chunky pixels onscreen to have a great time. Enter Activision with their Activision Anthology: Remix Edition, a collection of seventy-five titles ported straight from the glory days of the Atari 2600.  The games are direct ports of their original incarnations, with diverse titles ranging from Pitfall to Ice Hockey to Freeway.  While modern gamers weaned on PlayStations and Xboxes may find the variety here to be too simplistic and boring, gamers looking to relive the olden days should pick up this interesting bit of nostalgia.


The Anthology has a pretty impressive number of games, 75 to be exact. There are the well-known heavy hitters (Pitfall, River Raid) and some lesser known games (Subterranea, Frostbite). There are really fun games (Commando, Demon Attack) and a few throwaways (Venetian Blinds). All in all, Atari fans should find something that they like in this heap of games.


The game does a fantastic job of adding a real 80's quality to the atmosphere.  The main menu is set up as a bedroom with a great 80's vibe: There is an old-school TV with the turn knob on the desk, a cassette revolver holding games to its side.  It has a definite look and feel that does a great job of putting you back in time.


As you play the various titles and earn high scores in certain games, you can unlock different secrets to make the gameplay more interesting.  You can unlock gameplay modes that will make the screen warp, move and blur as you play the games, making for a bit more of a challenge.


The graphics are very simplistic, as you’d expect. The games are exact ports from the Atari, meaning that anyone looking for great graphics (even looking for original Nintendo quality) should probably look elsewhere, this is as simple as you can get. The menu has a very unique look to it, however, capturing the 80's look very nicely.


The sound is a mixture of old-school bloops and bleeps and real licensed tunes from the 80's. This was very wise on the developer’s part, due to the fact that Atari games didn’t really have music. So instead of sitting in silence (well, except for said bloops and bleeps), you get to rock out to a plethora of tunes like “Eye in the Sky” by the Alan Parsons Project, “I Ran (So Far Away)” by Flock of Seagulls and “Parents Just Don’t Understand” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.


If you are an old-school gamer who played Atari back in the 80's and were looking to recapture the good ol’ days, then Activision Anthology: Remix Edition should be something worthy to check out. However, if you are from the PlayStation generation and have no idea what “records”, “pet rocks” or “Hall & Oates” are, then you’d do well to not try to indulge in a time before yours.


Reviewer’s Scoring Details

Gameplay: 7.0
This is as basic as it gets. The interface is simple and easy to use, and the games are just as you remember them.

Graphics: 3.5
The graphics are certainly ugly by today’s standards, but c’mon, most of these games are well over two decades old. The important thing is they’re carbon copies of the originals and that’s all we need.

Sound: 7.5
The bloops and bleeps are what you would’ve found in the Atari days. The use of licensed tunes from the era was a great touch.

Difficulty: Medium

Concept: 7.5
All of your Activision favorites, just as you remember them! Plus, the game does a fantastic job of creating an 80's atmosphere, great for reminiscing.

Multiplayer: 7.0
The game has a two-player mode that allows you and a buddy to go either co-op or versus each other, depending on the game.

Overall: 7.0 

Activision Anthology: Remix Edition is a great little episode in nostalgia for those who lived Atari’s glory days, but everyone else will probably be too spoiled by this generation’s high-caliber graphics and deep gameplay to get much out of it.


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