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Fun for nostalgia purposes, but a step backwards...
on September 10, 2012
To begin, I found my Atari Flashback 3 at Sam's Club for $35, and I don't know that I would pay any more than that for this particular unit. As stated in other reviews, the omission of Pitfall and River Raid, two of the all-time Activision greats, is a step backwards in my opinion. The 60 games included in this version are as follows:
3D Tic-Tac-Toe, Adventure, Adventure II, Air-Sea Battle, Aquaventure, Asteroids, Backgammon, Basketball, Battlezone, Bowling, Canyon Bomber, Centipede, Championship Soccer, Circus Atari, Combat, Combat 2, Demons to Diamonds, Desert Falcon, Dodge 'Em, Double Dunk, Fatal Run, Flag Capture, Frog Pond, Fun With Numbers, Golf, Gravitar, Hangman, Haunted House, Home Run, Human Cannonball, Maze Craze, Miniature Golf, Missile Command, Night Driver, Off the Wall, Outlaw, Realsports Baseball, Realsports Basketball, Realsports Soccer, Realsports Volleyball, Saboteur, Save Mary, Secret Quest, Sky Diver, Space War, Sprintmaster, Star Ship, Steeplechase, Submarine Commander, Super Baseball, Super Breakout, Super Football, Surround, SwordQuest: Earthworld, SwordQuest: Fireworld, Video Checkers, Video Chess, Video Pinball, Wizard, Yar's Revenge
As you can see, some of the sports games are needlessly duplicated; there are no less than THREE baseball titles, and why do we need the original Basketball and Soccer games when the far superior Realsports versions are included? Also, most of the "educational titles" are either for very young players (e.g. Fun With Numbers) or too complicated (unless you are already familiar with it, 3D Tic-Tac-Toe is a total mystery).
Another minor complaint is the totally useless "instruction manual," which tells you how to connect the console (DUH) but offers little to no help with the game play or controls, and instead has a brief description of each game. (The remedy for this, luckily, is simply searching for the manuals online, which are fairly easy to find.) But I have to wonder why they would even include such complicated games as the SwordQuest titles, when you cannot accomplish the objectives of these games without the instruction manuals and comic books that originally came with them. These definitely should have been replaced by other games that would be easier to figure out.
The reproduction joysticks that come with the unit are very close to the originals in appearance and design, but are a bit more "squishy" and not quite as responsive. I found playing some of the games a bit harder than it used to be with the real thing. As for the games that used the Paddle controllers (such as Super Breakout, Circus Atari, and Night Driver), don't even bother trying to use the joysticks; you'll just get frustrated and want to hurl them at the tv. Fortunately, the original Paddles can be plugged in and used instead, if you still have a working set.
Finally, the all of the cords are somewhat short. I ended up using an extension cord for the power plug to get the console closer to me, but still had to stretch the A/V and joystick cables as far as they would go so I could sit on the couch to play. Yeah, that smacks of laziness, but that's kind of the reason you'd buy this plug & play unit, isn't it? :)
Overall, it was a lot of fun revisiting these titles without having to drag my original console and carts out of the attic, but I was a bit disappointed with the titles included. 4/5 stars for the fun rating, but the minor inconveniences and less than stellar game lineup dropped it to 3/5 stars. All things considered, if you can grab a used unit on the Amazon Marketplace and get a good price, I'd still give it a thumbs up.