Konami Arcade Classics


Review by Joe Santulli



Graphics: 7

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

It’s important to note that you can store a PC arcade game emulator like MAME and over 500 full-version arcade game ROMs on a CD-ROM. And yet, I’m “excited” to see that for the first time, someone has put TEN games on a CD-ROM for the Playstation. It’s hardly a bargain, but by today’s standards, it’s the best bargain out there.

Konami Arcade Classics contains the following games: Pooyan (a pig vs. wolves shooting game), Circus Charlie (precision jumping in various circus events), Shao-Lin’s Road (a platforming punch/kick game), Roc ‘N Rope (a Donkey Kong style game), Yie-Ar Kung-Fu (one of the first one-on-one fighting games), Scramble (a scrolling horizontal shooter), Super Cobra (ditto), Road Fighter (a Spy Hunter-style timed road race), Gyruss (a 360-degree shooter), and Time Pilot (ditto). Besides representing some of Konami’s best early works, this is a well-rounded, varied selection of games guaranteed to please most every nostalgic player out there.

So KAC passes the first test: selection of games, but how does it do in the emulation department? Well, I’m quite pleased to say that this could very well be the best emulation to date on the Playstation. Nearly every game we’ve played in other compilations has something in it that reminds you that you’re not playing the original game: missing sounds, different colors, choppy graphics, etc. But not here. These games play fast, and they play the way we remember them. In fact, the games have been enhanced somewhat by the addition of the dual-shock controller’s vibration feature! It’s great enough to be able to finally play a good version of Gyruss at home but to have the controller rumble when you’re hit is just the icing on the proverbial cake.

Sound and graphics all appear to be arcade-perfect. We play-tested this thing with at least six different gamers, and we couldn’t spot anything missing. Of course, we didn’t really have any Shao-Lin or Circus Charlie fans here (I’d never played either of these in the arcade), but between us we’ve dropped many a quarter into all of the other games. Take my word for it—this is as close to the arcade experience as you’re going to come.

There aren’t any bells and whistles here as we’ve become accustomed to in compilation disks. No interviews with designers, no “museum”, not even any tidbits about the games themselves. All you get are the arcade games and a small info sheet explaining the basic gameplay and controls (like you would see on the panel of the machine itself). The lack of “depth” here knocks KAC down a notch in my rating of the game.

Sometimes these compilations are larger projects in the making, like Namco’s Museum series or the Midway Arcade Classics set. Will this Konami set become part of a larger series? Well, if you consider that some really good early Konami games are missingm it’s certainly possible to imagine another set of ten games on a CD-ROM. How does this line-up sound:

Amidar (a maze game), Jungler (ditto), Tutankham (a maze shooter), Contra (a platform shooter), Green Beret (ditto), Double Dribble (early basketball arcade sim), Blades of Steel (ditto for hockey), The End (Galaxian-style shooter), Strategy X (scrolling tank game), and Konami GT (early first-person driving game).

What do you say, Konami? I’m ready for KAC2!


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Last updated: Friday, October 07, 2005 08:52 PM