February 3rd, 2007, 15:18 Posted By: wraggster
Later this year Konami will release its first classic arcade compilation for the Nintendo DS: Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits. This is in no way the first time Konami's created a collection of its old-school arcade games on a handheld -- the Game Boy Advance has a fair share of remade old-school titles from Konami. But where programmers recreated the experience on the GBA platform by reprogramming each game, the developers of the DS collection pull off perfect emulation on the dual-screen handheld, and it allows for the team to pull off some really awesome features that true hardcore arcade collectors will love.
First of all, you get 15 Konami games of various levels of "classic" status. Games like Contra, Circus Charlie, Time Pilot, Yie Ar Kung Fu, Gradius and Track & Field are well worth the price of admission. But you'll also get little-remembered games like Road Fighter, Shao-Lin's Road, and Rainbow Bell (a game that's featured in the better-known Parodius series). Other games include Roc'n Rope, Scramble, Horror Maze, Basketball, and Pooyan. Each game played exactly as they originally did in the arcades, which shows the strength of the programmers' emulation abilities.
Each game plays on one screen, with the other display showing off the arcade artwork's "how to play" imagery -- you can swap the two screens in the configuration menu, but since the touch screen is used for menu functions it's best keeping it this way. Because the DS screens offer less pixel resolution than many of the arcade games' resolutions, there will be some pixelated gaps in the display -- you can turn on filtering to make it look a little nicer, but it'll never look quite as sharp as the original arcade titles. Many Konami games utilized the "tall" vertical orientation, and you can definitely recreate this by rotating the image on the screen and play the DS tipped 90 degrees clockwise or counterclockwise. This function can be changed on the fly via an easy to use touch-screen interface.
It's quite possibly the most ambitious classic arcade game compilation simply due to one factor: the ability to tweak the settings exactly as arcade operators did back when the games were originally available. Each game has a visual representation of both the title's original motherboard as well as the dip switches -- dip switches were how arcade operators manually adjusted elements such as how many lives a player earned on a quarter, how many points a game required before they earned an additional life or free game. Using the DS system's touch screen, players adjust these settings by sliding the dip switches on or off in relation to the specific setting listed on the upper screen. It's a real down-and-dirty way of changing things within the game, but for arcade purists this is absolutely a way cool way of doing it. It shows that the development team really loved and appreciated the games in their original arcade configuration.
Also for the arcade purists is the addition of a library where you can check out all sorts of artwork and detailed information related to all the games in the package. You can zoom in and out of the scanned pamphlets to check out all of the wonderful typos that made it into the original print.
Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits might not support the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, but multiplayer is a huge focus for this product. Not only can you wirelessly transmit a copy of the game to any DS and play competitively, you can also record a high-score earning run and transmit that "replay" to other systems so your buddies can see just how you pulled off that record.
Fifteen games isn't anywhere close to the library of old-school games within Konami's line-up. We're still missing awesome classics like Gyruss, Lifeforce Double Dribble, Blades of Steel...and yes, Frogger. So if this game sells well, it wouldn't hurt to expect a Volume II in the future.
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