Tecmo Classic Arcade

Tecmo Classic ArcadeBuy this gameThe Game: Turn your Xbox into a virtual 80’s arcade with Tecmo Classic Arcade, the newest retro compilation disc to hit home consoles. (Tecmo, 2005, for Xbox)

See the videoMemories: Someone has definitely not been saving the best for last. Tecmo Classic Arcade follows a long line of classic arcade compilations which have been released this summer, including Capcom Classics Collection, Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary, Taito Legends and Midway’s Arcade Treasures 3. Unfortunately, no matter how you slice it, Tecmo’s game collection simply doesn’t stand up against the competition.

Tecmo Classic ArcadeEvery successful retro compilation needs to have three things: a $20 price tag, interesting extras (such as interviews or trivia), and of course a broad selection of fun games. Tecmo Classic Arcade retails for $30, has lackluster extras, and a small selection of mostly awful games. You can probably see where this is heading.

Unlike most of the other recent home retro compilations which contain twenty to thirty games, Tecmo Classic Arcade contains eleven. Of those, three (at best) could be considered classics. Bomb Jack, Rygar and Solomon’s Key are the games 80’s arcade afficianados are most likely to remember. Others such as Senjyo, Swimmer and Pinball Action left arcades as quickly as they arrived. Tecmo managed to nail the menu, with an easy to navigate system and nearly instantaneous load times into and out of Tecmo Classic Arcadegames. The background music is simply a combination of all the games playing at once, and that’s okay; retrogamers don’t care about licensed music tracks (trust me, we’ve heard them all before and they simply end up increasing load times and royalty fees). When each title is highlighted on the main menu, scrolling text gives a brief summary of the game. Basic options such as the number of men and other variables can be changed for each game here as well.

Ah yes, the games. As mentioned, Rygar, Bomb Jack and Solomon’s Key are the three games most players will find themselves drawn to. All three allow unlimited continues, so you’ll be able to play as long as you wish. Bomb Jack‘s platform action, Solomon‘s puzzles and Rygar‘s deadly yo-yo all provide plenty of entertainment and memories. Players will not be disappointed in these.

Tecmo Classic ArcadeUnfortunately the rest of the titles demonstrate Tecmo’s skill of being a jack-of-all-trades but master of none. There’s a vertical SHMUP (Starforce), a horizonal one (Strato Fighter), two sports games (Tecmo Cup and Tecmo Bowl), and a few other games. There’s the Battlezone-esque Senjyo, the Space Invaders-esque Pleiads, and the arcade-based pinball game Pinball Action. Even as a self-proclaimed fan of retro games, I found it hard to play most of these games longer than five minutes. Tecmo Bowl is probably the closest to being fun, but anyone familiar with the NES or SNES versions of the game probably won’t care much for the arcade version. There are no “plays” to select (simply pick a receiver before the hike), and the game is simply too easy.

Tecmo Classic ArcadeExtras on the disc are limited to pictures of marquees, side art and sales flers for each game, each of which can be zoomed in and out of and moved around the screen, guaranteeing owners a least a minute or two of entertainment.

Tecmo is pretty bold for referring to most of these games as “classics”. Few of them retain any replay value because they simply aren’t fun. Many of the games like Pleiads, Two quartersStarforce and Strato Fighter offer nothing to separate themsevles from the thousands of other similar games out there, and games like Pinball Action are just weird. The good games make a good supporting cast, but there’s no headliner to be found.