Sunday, January 8, 2012
Intellivision Lives! DS Review
Most Intellivision games are terrible. However, there are enough exceptions to make this collection worthwhile for any retro gamer.
The stars of this collection are undoubtedly the AD&D games, relabeled as generic fantasy adventures, but with all the original art and gameplay.
Crown of Kings was the first. It's something in-between Adventure for the 2600 and The Legend of Zelda. It randomly-generates caves and the map to offer endless potential and replayability.
Tower of Doom is my other personal favorite, offering a selection of dungeons, many randomly-generated, and is quite simply an awesome dungeon crawler.
Frog Bog is a nice addition as well, and I've always thought it was better than Frogs & Flies for the Atari.
Other Intellivision classics like Astromash appear, but I'm sure they left a few of the favorites out. They certainly left out the extras--such as documentaries present in the PS2 version--out of this release. Every game, however, has an in-game instruction manual, and I've found the interface intuitive and easy-to-navigate.
It's definitely the collection to own, and although it'ss getting hard to find these days, scoring a copy is not impossible. I'd recommend getting this collection while you can, and maybe even supplimenting it with the Intellivision Lives! disc for the PS2 or PC. I picked the PS2 version up for $1.59 at gamestop this week, and that's a hell of a deal. The DS version is a little more expensive, but it's got the better game selection and the the touchpad function nicely with the overly-complex Intellivision controls.
Get both--Intellivision might not be the best, but it's good enough. The AD&D games are truly epic, and legitimize the purchase, everything else is just gravy.
Many of the games are sports titles, a few are basically unplayably slow by today's standards. Others are just a little dull. However, it does have over 60 games, and single-cart multiplayer modes on tons of titles. Outside the Dungeons and Dragons games, many simply lack the spark of classic Atari adventures like River Raid, Adventure, Pitfall, Super Breakout, Missile Command, Centipede, Pac-Man, Circus Atari, and Berzerk.
Still, every now and then you'll find a great gem like Space Spartans, Frog Bog, Tower of Doom, Crown of Kings, or Treasure of Tarmin. What's the harm in having some crappy titles rounding out the collection? The variety ensures that this will last you at least a year if you're just now getting into the Intellivision. I've only been playing the games a few years myself ever since I bought an Intellivision Plug-N-Play a few years ago. It required 4 AA batteries, and I promptly returned it, but not before playing Crown of Kings and getting hooked. However the game is unfortunately missing from the PS2 and PC collections, which makes getting both versions a must for everyone. The $1.49 price tag is worth it for the cool virtual arcade menu, documentary, programmer interviews, and ability to play on a large monitor.
I like to think of it as an expansion pack for the DS version, and a necessary one at that.