Classic game compilations are the latest trend in the gaming world, and for the most part every system has seen its fair share of these all-in-one packages. Every system but the DS that is, which is really mind-boggling considering the gigantic install base and popularity of Nintendo’s handheld. Konami certainly recognizes this and has decided to grace DS gamers with what is arguably one of the greatest collections of all time.
Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits contains 15 of the companies finest arcade titles from the 1980s. While there are a few expected duds in the mix, the overall quality of titles found here is simply astonishing. Most will remember such classics as Yie Ar Kung-Fu, Rush N’ Attack, Track & Field, Contra and Gradius, but there are also some peculiar choices such as Rainbow Bell, Horror Maze and the aptly titled Pooyan. While the latter selection of titles may not exactly appeal to most gamers, this compilation has more than enough to satisfy just about any arcade junkie in the market for a solid package.
Each game is faithfully translated onto the DS’ tiny LCD display and although some of the games suffer from minor bumps visually they are generally indistinguishable from their arcade counterparts. Tapping the select button is the same as throwing a quarter in the machine and just like all other collections before it you will quickly remember how many quarters these games swallowed in their prime.
If you are looking for a deep, engaging experience you won’t find it here; these games were all about high score and bragging rights and the developers know that. Thankfully every high-score you obtain is automatically saved to your cartridge so you can boast to your friends at your leisure. Another truly innovative feature on this tiny masterpiece is the ability to record and save all of your high-score runs and trade them wirelessly. Unfortunately there is no support for Nintendo’s WiFi service for either scores or multi-player, but the amount of extras the team has tossed in definitely makes up for a lack of an internet connection.
For instance the developers of Konami Arcade Hits have thrown in a bevy of special options to appeal to the arcade junkie in all of us. For starters you can completely customize your entire control scheme, even adding auto fire for cheating in games like Gradius. There are also a host of unlockable extras for you to discover that will have you reminiscing about the good old days of arcade gaming. If that wasn’t enough Konami has even thrown in the ability to toy with the original arcade board via the touch screen and flip switches to alter the experience. It’s these little touches that make the game stand out among the recent onslaught of thoughtless collections on the market today.
As I mentioned earlier there is no WiFi support for this cartridge, however the team has thrown in a ton of support for multi-player locally. You can enjoy any game with one or two cartridges, which is always a nice touch for gamers wanting to enjoy multi-player without having to worry if their friends own the game. You can even send a single-player demo to your friends DS which they will own until they power down their system. For true arcade nuts there is even a mode where a second DS can be used as a controller for titles like Track & Field where mashing buttons is sure to distort your view of the action.
A purchase is required for anyone who enjoys classic arcade gaming done right. For me the words Yie Ar Kung-Fu was enough to lay down the thirty bucks, but when you factor in the other 14 titles this collection is more than worth the price of admission. If you are craving some old-school arcade action and you own a DS (and who doesn’t?) then there is no excuse to pass up this amazing assortment of fine dining. If you cannot find something on this collection that you enjoy you may need to check your pulse. Now I can only dream about what will be in Vol. 2.