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Retro Atari Classics Review - DS

4.5
Gameplay: 5 stars 5
Graphics: 4 stars 4
Audio: 4 stars 4
Multiplayer: 4 stars 4
Innovation: 3 stars 3
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For some, it would be the catalyst for years of gaming. For others, who joined the gaming scene years later, it would be a source of ridicule. It was the Atari. All those classic games have done the rounds over the years, but now they're portable, and with touchscreen control for the DS.

I'll give it to you straight: I can't think of a single time when I was playing this game that I thought 'hey, this is fun'. Sorry to rip your rose-tinted glasses off your eyes and stomp on them, but I was forcing myself to play through everything to make sure there wasn't a good port hidden in there somewhere. There wasn't. I really wished I was elsewhere.

Anyhow, there's ten games on the cart: Centipede, Tempest, Pong, Warlords, Missile Command, Breakout, Sprint, Gravitar, Asteroids and Lunar Lander. There's also a Graffiti Remix mode for each of them, which must have been carefully designed to kill off any sense of retro nostalgia you might still have. Seriously, you should try one Remix, but you'll probably be turned off by it pretty quickly. It burns your eyes.

The developers have tried to incorporate touchscreen mechanics, and they've pretty much failed. Control is infuriatingly sloppy - enough to make you want to hurl your DS out the window. Please don't hurl your DS out the window if you want to use it again afterwards (though Nintendo's handhelds are well built...but that's another topic for another day). The only times it works is where you couldn't possibly screw it up. Like Breakout. Drag the bar. Makes sense. Luckily, the games are still on the whole playable due to the inclusion of D-pad and L button control, which saves the game from absolute suckiness.

If you're a retro kind of person, you'll probably enjoy having the games with you for all those times on the road. For the rest of us, you'll probably get bored after about an hour of play. It's sad that gaming icons like these were let down by just plain horrible ports, but that figure of game time would only be exceeded by the aforementioned retro lovers and those who are into the whole 'play it again to beat your highscore' thing. There's just no meat to the game.

Retro Atari Classics could have seriously have benefited from more games (we want an anthology - the games could barely take up a few kilobytes each). It needed remixes that did justice to the originals while bringing it to modern day in a style appropriate to what they were trying to convey all those years ago. And they needed mappable control, new rules and twists on gameplay, and most importantly (for the DS, at least), clever stylus control. It did none of that.

Graphics

it's perfectly retro all the way for the originals (a small saving grace), and severely 'gauge-my-own-eyes-out' for the graffiti mixes. Can someone please explain to me why the Centipede remix has hearts instead of mushrooms? Pong is still two white bars ... (continued next page)