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Atari's Greatest Hits Review

By Andrew Nesvadba, on April 8, 2011


Atari's Greatest Hits
  • Publisher: Atari
  • Genre: Action
  • Released: 7 Apr, 2011
  • Size: 20.6 MB
  • Price: FREE!
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Large collection of Atari Arcade and 2600 classics.
  • Decently bundled titles for easier purchasing.
  • Relatively easy to pick up and play controls; 2600 titles still a bit baffling.
  • Original manuals for that authentic touch.

CONS

  • Bundles and complete purchase packages can be very expensive.
  • Atari 2600 controls can be very awkward to use in the vertical orientation.
  • Tiny screen - hard on the eyes for extended sessions.

VERDICT

Instead of throwing a bundle of randomly selected titles at classic gamers, Atari's Greatest Hits lets you choose what you want to play; games this old don't always age gracefully, but they're given a lot of respect in this emulation collection.


  • Full Review
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Some may not be old enough or may have missed one of those golden periods of video games where consoles had access to the magical '99-in-1' (or similar) cartridges that were jam-packed with games. Not necessarily great games, but when it came to value it was hard to beat, though some carts were obviously a bit dubious in their origins. Modern gaming has long since jumped on board the 'retro game collection' bandwagon, though the limited amount of games can be a tease especially for the price they bear. Atari's Greatest Hits from (who else but) Atari is a 100-in-1 deal (should you purchase the whole package), but even if you stick to a handful of games there's plenty of Arcade and Atari 2600 classics to devour with glee.

Sadly the caveat is that you'll need a friend with the same game loaded on to their iDevice to truly make the most of these games as many Atari 2600 games lacked decent single-player options, making it hard to get the full value of your purchase right off the bat. Thankfully just about every title has been given a spit-shine and polish to work amazingly with a touch interface. Of note, the trackball Arcade titles use a virtual trackball that works with spooky levels of accuracy. The Atari 2600 titles do come out a little worse for wear compared to their Arcade brothers and not just because they're older; the virtual pad simply can't recreate a joystick with the same visceral level of interaction that made these games so fun (and even challenging).

Those expecting a visual facelift for these games will be disappointed, making the package a strictly old-school gamer love affair, but additional details for the 2600 emulator like being able to modify a virtual set of console switches (replicating the real ones) is neat. Many games feature alternative game modes and instead of blindly stumbling through them players are presented with a handy text pop-up to identify each one.

With 99 games to purchase (Pong comes free) Atari have opted to bundle the games in to groups of around four, trying to capture as many of the available versions of the game you want (i.e. Centipede is bundled with Millipede and the home console versions of each) or at least keeping within a particular theme so you get the best bang for your buck. Unfortunately buying games this way can rack up to be quite expensive and purchasing the complete pack is still hefty (though significantly discounted).

Atari's Greatest Hits isn't perfect, but for nostalgic fans after a blast from the past it's hard to go by a collection as diverse as this. Some obvious classics are missing from the bundle, but the initial download is free so it's easy to browse for what you want.

Screenshots

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