Tecmo Classic Arcade
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2005-11-01 Xbox Compilation E (Everyone) Tecmo

Aside from Pac-Man, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Street Fighter 2 and Tetris, there were a couple more coin-op games that I used to play on a regular basis. As soon as I saw the words "Bombjack" and "Pinball Action" as being part of Tecmo Classic Arcade, I was sold.

Keep in mind that these are the arcade versions of the games, and not what many of you might remember of these titles on the NES. However, they are very well emulated, with the original sound effects and music, and virtually no graphic glitches or issues with gameplay.

Although I wasn't familiar with many of the games in this title (some I have heard of but never played, others I had never heard of), I played a bit of each to get to know them. I was surprised that I actually enjoyed most of these games.

The one that particularly surprised me was Tecmo Cup. I come from a place where soccer is the king of all sports, but was never really the kind to enjoy soccer as a videogame. Except for FIFA 96, and that's what Tecmo Cup reminds me of. Dodging your adversary is a ton of fun and very addictive, and teams get smarter as we advance (or maybe I just get worse at playing) but I wish we could select our target to control the ball and the passes better. Even if you have never played it or seen it before (like in my case), you will notice soon enough that this was a tabletop arcade game, as the "GOAL" message from your opponent shows upside down on the screen.

Star Force right away brought back memories of playing Xenon 2 on my first PC. It's your typical vertical scrolling shooter, with a little spaceship blowing up things as they appear. For added shooter fun, this time side-scrolling, there is Strato Fighter, although this one suffers from a certain "lag" when there is too much going on in the screen.

Pinball Action (do I even need to describe it?) it's a video pinball game with four different boards to play on, and one of my old favorites in this compilation.

Bombjack is my other personal favorite, I can't have enough of it. It's a platform game where you control Jack, jump around picking up the bombs (extra points if they're flashing) and dodging little creatures. I only played it in the arcades in black and white, so having it in color is a real treat to me!

Pleiads is a bit like Space Invaders, with swarms of spaceships coming at you in waves. Solomon's Key is a platform puzzle game that requires you to plan your moves within a time limit, offering some good challenges. Senjyo is a tank driving game which got its fame for the "faux" 3D look. Rygar is a side-scrolling action platformer that inspired the Playstation version released several years later. Tecmo Bowl is probably the grandfather of all Madden games, but it still doesn't help me understand football rules.

Most of these games are all really easy to pick up and play, except for Swimmer, a vertical scroller where you swim and dive picking up fruit and dodging logs. It was just horrid to control and became a swearing inducer after a short while.

A gallery has also been included in the main menu, where you can browse scans of the original artwork and instructions that used to show on the arcade cabinets (complete with spelling mistakes).

The major downside of Tecmo Classic Arcade is its price. This anthology costs $10 more than others of the same type that offer a larger assortment of games under a single title.

As Tecmo follows the steps of Capcom, Namco and Midway in releasing selections of old favorites, a lot of you are probably wondering where the hell is Ninja Gaiden, and why wasn't it included when this is a collection of classic arcade titles by Tecmo. The answer to that lies in Ninja Gaiden Black, where you can unlock the original arcade version.

It's funny how nearly 20 years later I can still enjoy a game as much as I did when I first played it. That's the beauty of classic compilations: everyone will find something in it that they enjoyed in the past and still will for years to come.

Special thanks to Jasmine Wright at M80 and Tecmo for providing a copy of the game.