Retro Games Review

If you grew up gaming in the ’80s, the odds are good you at least played with a Commodore 64. Time, of course, has moved on, but many of us still hold a special place in our hearts for the little computer– especially recently, given the passing of its creator.

The cynically minded might see the release of a C64 compilation coinciding with said passing as questionable, but the iPad and iPhone have proven to be excellent at emulating both home and arcade systems, and that’s certainly the case here. Without a doubt, the actual emulation of the C64′s hardware and capabilities is done well in this retro games pack.

Bruce Lee lives.

Unfortunately, while many of the games included are classics in memory– especially titles like Bruce Lee, Archon, the Bard’s Tale, and Infiltrator– the fact remains that playing them now in all their original, unmodified glory just isn’t much fun. Part of the problem is that emulating the old stick controller and, in some cases, whole keyboard just doesn’t work that well.

The major problem is that the controls we put up with 30 years ago just feel sluggish and unresponsive today. Cutting edge graphics and sound back in the day definitely won’t hold much interest beyond historical curiosity for most players. Infiltrator, for instance, was incredibly impressive when it was released in 1986. Part helicopter sim, part stealth game, it was ambitious and engaging for the time.

Magnifying glass not included.

The same could be said of many of these titles. Archon was a superb twist on chess, where mythical monsters engaged in real-time combat and is begging for a modern revamp. The Alternate Reality games were early first-person RPGs of incredible size and depth, as was the Bard’s Tale. Other games like Black Magic, Bruce Lee, and Monty of the Run offer classic views of early side-scrolling gameplay.

From a nostalgic point-of-view, this collection has definite value and even historical relevance. It’s like having a mini-gaming museum on your iPad. Beyond that, however, its appeal is questionable. The controls and graphics just haven’t aged well and it’s hard to imagine too many gamers putting forth the effort needed for these games, when there are so many other better and modern games out there.

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