For all you fellow retro gamers out there, Activision Anthology (PS2) contains about thirty vintage Activision games written for the Atari 2600. Sure, you remember them, and if you’re like me, you loved them. Unfortunately, playing actual Atari 2600 cartridges is, frankly, kind of a pain in the ass. Assuming you still HAVE a working Atari 2600, you’re still going to have to wire all that old hardware up to your new television — a project that’s going to take some time and some adapters. When you’re done with that, you’re still going to have to go out and find the actual games! For most people, Activision Anthology will fill that void in your retro-lovin’ heart.
Full of old memory-jogging bleeps and boops, the main menu lets you virtually browse through stacks of old Activision cartridges. You can also browse through scans of the original box covers and instruction manuals as well. While it’s not the same as actually holding the old relics in your hand, it’s close enough to jog some great memories. Once a game is selected, simply insert the game into the virtual 2600, and it’s game time!
On top of all the great artwork, Activision Anthology also comes with several vintage Activision television commercials which can be unlocked. Unlocked? Yes — start warming up that Atari thumb, because you’ll have to pull in some high scores to view everything on the disc (don’t worry, the bars are set pretty low). To complete the package, the game also contains 80’s tunes to help sweep you back to another time. The songs play through both the menus and the games themselves, unless you turn them off manually.
The games sound and play perfectly. I could not distinguish these from the originals in any way, and this is coming from a guy who DOES still have an Atari 2600 hooked up in his house. My initial concerns that playing these on a PS2 controller wouldn’t be as “fun” as with an Atari joystick were unfounded. The games controlled just fine, using either the D-Pad or the Analog stick. Graphics and sound are true to their early 80’s roots, with snazzy retro menus and background music thrown in as a bonus.
I have to say, this review took me two days to write. Everytime I sat down with AA in my PS2, I ended up playing Pitfall, Laser Blast, or River Raid. Sometimes hours at a time. Not all the games here are gold (Bridge?), but the ones that are remain timeless. If you had an Atari 2600 back in the day and don’t have one now, check out Activision Anthology. For $15 you get 30 games all wrapped up in a nice retro package — a lot cheaper than buying them at a Thrift store, trust me.
Games Include: Barnstorming, Boxing, Checkers, Chopper Command, Cosmic Commuter, Crackpots, Dolphin, Dragster, Enduro, Fishing Derby, Freeway, Grand Prix, H.E.R.O, Ice Hockey, Kaboom, Keystone Kapers, Laser Blast, Megamania, Oink, Pitfall, Plaque Attack, Pressure Cooker, Private Eye, River Raid, River Raid 2, Seaquest, Skiing, Sky Jinks, Spider Fighter, Stampede, Starmaster, Tennis and more.