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Atari Revival Review
game: Atari Revival
two star
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: Infogrames
date posted: 09:10 AM Sun Aug 25th, 2002
last revision: 06:04 AM Fri Sep 23rd, 2005

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By Tim Johnson

Who doesn\'t remember plunking quarters into standup arcades for hours on end to play a few minutes of games that were mostly lines and circles? How about hanging out at the gas station or mall arcade to watch the local Missile Command guru beat his own high score again? Or burning images of pixilated block tanks into the screens of our parent\'s televisions? Of course, many of us remember that, and for those of us that grew up with it, we will always have a special place in our hearts for the old school games like these.

Atari Revival is a set of three reworked games from the 80\'s. Missile Command, Combat and Warlords have each been redone with new graphics, sound, controls and game play. All three games allow for multiplayer support, either on the same computer or online with a friend. Each of the titles includes the original version so you can see what 20 years of experience can do to a game. And although the games have all been remastered, they are still very much the same games that they were back in the days of feathered hair and red leather jackets.

I started out by playing Combat. I figured that it, originally being the most basic of the three games, had the most room for improvement. And I think that, of the three, Combat is the one that improved the most. The original game is pretty much a glorified version of Pong. The new version throws us into a brand new 3-D world where tanks are easily identified as such and the bad guys do their darnedest to shoot back at you. The goal of the each level is to enter a large black sphere. In doing so, you progress to the next level. Unfortunately, there is a plethora of various mini-tanks, flying saucers and gun turrets that block your way. You are driving a fully armored hover tank and bounce off walls like an outer space pinball game (with lasers).

New Combat added quite a bit of play control including strafing ability and an emergency break. Once you have mastered this, you do a bit less wall-bouncing, but it is still an integral part of the game. The graphics for the tanks are somewhat detailed but the levels are simple and plain, even at hi-res 32 bit color, a blank wall is still just a blank wall. The music has been improved and does its best to get you into the spirit of the game, but is still repetitive and flat.

Missile Command comes in two new flavors. The first is a souped up version of the original. It adds nifty graphics along with realistic explosions and music, but plays exactly the same as the old school one. Alien lines are attacking and you have a limited number of missiles to thwart the threat. As you increase in levels, the lines come faster and you must be more accurate with your shots.

The fully-overhauled version of Missile Command places you in command of a squad of pilots in the driver\'s seat of some pretty high tech missile toting flying machines. It is your job to protect the continents of Earth from yet again, some flying lines. The sound and graphics for Missile Command have been enhanced and a touch of 3-D has been added to create a more realistic line-fighting game. Unfortunately, I enjoyed the first, more-original like remake quite a bit better than the 3-D version. The 3-D graphics are blocky and definitely not up to today\'s standards. While they have added extra control to the flying of the ships, it seems like it is still a point and click game and the extra control doesn\'t add very much play value.

Warlords is my favorite of the three games. It is very true to the original concept which, while adding some interesting twists, adheres to the fun and addictive offensive and defensive game play tactics that made the arcade version such a knockout. You are one of four kings in a battle to defend your castle from bouncing fireballs that are being thrown at you by the other kings. You have a shield to block incoming fireballs and the ability to use your shield to catch and return fire to your enemies.

Some of the added enhancements include several different powerups including Speed Up, Slow Down, Reverse Fireballs and Invulnerability. The play control is still as simple as the arcade version. You move left or right and your shield travels clockwise or counter-clockwise around your castle. The controls are customizable, so you can play with the mouse, joystick or keyboard. The sound and special effects are decent, although like the previous two, a bit repetitive.

In the end, it was interesting to see how these games have evolved with new technology and techniques. For the old school gamer, I might recommend this for nostalgia\'s sake. But for gamers used to the speed and variety of newer games, the Atari Revival set is just a prettied up version of the games of yesteryear.