They call it “second album syndrome”. For every Radiohead’s The
Bends there’s a Stone Roses’ Second Coming.
Such is the case with this second compilation of 50 Atari releases
from their 1970s/1980s heyday. The first Flashback Classics
collection was a hard act to follow. Here’s the proof.
up with another nine arcade conversions, there are a couple of gems.
Asteroids remains as thrilling as it was back when brown
was considered the height of fashionabilityness. Missile Command
is a genuine classic. Crystal Castles is also a gem (pun
not intended, but if the honeypot fits). Even brick-busting
Super Breakout deserves a nod.
But unplayable then and
unplayable now stuff like Red Baron and Gravitar?
Nuh-uh. Mind you, the lack of paddle/trackballs doesn’t help some of
these games’ cases.
Onto the Atari VCS/2600 stuff, the lack
of anything vaguely licensed – heck, even pixelized turd ET
would be welcome for history’s sake - really hits home. With a mere
handful of exceptions – Haunted House, Outlaw,
Secret Quest (if you’re feeling generous) - this collection
boasts the real also-rans. While the programmers did what they could
with the extremely limited hardware at their disposal, the likes of
Night Driver, Basic Math and Sub Commander
smelled of poo in their day, and still do.
Sure, many of
these hit some 40 years ago in the infancy of video games, so some
slack must be given. But that first collection demonstrated that
there were many utter delights which still stand the test of time,
at least play-wise.
Also, where are the likes of 720°.
APB, Battlezone, Blasteroids, Escape
from the Planet of the Robot Monsters, Gauntlet,
Klax,Marble Madness, Paperboy, Rampart,
Road Blasters, STUN Runner, Toobin’,
Vindicators and Xybots? Now those titles alone would
make a killer Vol 3.
As a historical chronicle this
collection is valid, but if you want a big swag bag that’s oozing at
the seams with playability, go for that first disc. History is
important. But, as this compilation reminds us, it isn’t always