Lately, many game companies have been looking for ways to bring arcade-style fun back to modern games. Of course, it’s just as easy to bring back the arcade games.
Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits is a collection of 15 of the company’s games, mostly from the early 1980s: Scramble, Horror Maze, Pooyan, Time Pilot, Roc’N Rope, Track & Field, Circus Charlie, Basketball, Road Fighter, Yie Ar Kung-Fu, Rainbow Bell, Shao-lin’s Road, Gradius, Rush’N Attack, and Contra.
The game tries to be as flexible as possible. All button layouts are customizable; also the game can be full-screen, letterboxed for aspect ratio, or sideways in either direction. Holding a DS sideways to have the screen be larger is certainly a weird sensation, but many of the games are still playable, and it’s completely optional.
Konami threw in all the connectivity it could. In addition to single-card multiplayer for all the games, there is also a mode where a second DS can watch you play, a concept that brings to mind the old days of people crowding around arcade machines. Other players can also download a game as a demo and keep it until they power down their DS.
Also included in this compilation is the requisite collection of old posters and art from the game. This is pulled off quite well, though, as it’s easy to find but not in the way, and navigating through the images is fairly intuitive.
Of course, the gameplay is what truly matters here, and Konami doesn’t disappoint. While some of the games are less stellar than others, each is presented authentically. The later titles, specifically Gradius and Contra, are the gems here. The games aren’t choppy, and the controls are more than passable, even when the screen is distorted.
With Arcade Hits, Konami did what it set out to do. This is the arcade experience, and it’s just as addictive as ever.