Review

Activision Anthology

My personal voyage into the heart of videogame darkness began in 1982. I spent most of the year following Pitfall Harry as he ventured deep into the forbidden jungle, swinging from vines and jumping from croc to croc. Was there a Mr. Kurtz at the end of Pitfall's long sideways scroll upriver? I'll never tell, but you can find out for yourself now that nearly 50 Atari 2600 games have been released for the PS2. Along with Pitfall 2, Activision Anthology includes a few hoary classics like Keystone Kapers, River Raid, and Kaboom! But mostly it's filled with the sorts of '80s titles you would have avoided like disco: Dolphin, Cosmic Commander, Plaque Attack, and Checkers, as well as two oddities -- Kabobber and Thwocker -- that never even made it onto shelves. Still, as nostalgia pieces, these are more spectacular than some of the other retro collections plundered in the last few years. Activision trumps those other greatest-hits packages (Namco Museum, Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits, Arcade's Greatest Hits: Atari Col- lection, and Konami Collector's Series) by adding a soundtrack featuring vintage tunes from such stalwarts as Missing Persons, Soft Cell, and Twisted Sister. There are also some great payoffs to be unlocked, like the TV ad for Chopper Command. And the instruction manuals have been reproduced along with a photo and tip from the games' designers. David Crane, the creator of Pitfall, even invites players to drop him a line. Part of me is afraid of what I'll find.

Originally posted Jan 24, 2003 Published in issue #692-693 Jan 24, 2003 Order article reprints