Tracking down and buying classic titles can be tough and costly. While digital distribution has made it more convenient to find and download old games, there are far too many classics that haven’t been re-released. Thankfully, it’s not uncommon for companies to a release a bundle of their old titles in one nice little package.
Many factors can make or break a gaming compilation. The emulation has to be accurate, the selection of games should be of mostly quality titles, and it never hurts to have some bonus content such as video interviews or scans of packaging and artwork. These are the collections that truly give players a lot of bang for their buck.
10 Activision Anthology Is Fully Nostalgiac
Activision Anthology tries to capture the romanticized version of the ’80s with its clever menu screen that takes the form of a kid’s bedroom, complete with a wood panel rabbit ears TV. All the classics that defined the Atari 2600 are included on this disc such as Pitfall, Kaboom!, and River Raid. The collection also provides lots of incentive to check out and master all the featured titles with unlockable television commercials and artwork. Adding to the old school atmosphere are several licensed tracks from the likes of Talk Talk, A-Ha, and Ed Cobb which can be heard while playing any game.
9 Midway Arcade Treasures 2 Makes Some Big Missteps, But Is Overall Great
While some might argue that this collection is lesser than Midway’s first volume, the controls better accommodate the kinds of titles that are featured on this disc. The inclusion of Mortal Kombat II and 3 is great, but the first entry is curiously omitted and it probably would’ve been better to include the Ultimate version of 3 instead. Narc and Total Carnage deliver some nice ultra-violent co-op shooting action while Arch Rivals plants the seeds that would later lead to NBA Jam. The only true duds in the collection are Pit-Fighter and Spy Hunter II.
8 The LucasArts Archives Vol. III Has Some Of The Company’s Best Work
Of all the compilations released from LucasArts, the third entry boasts the strongest lineup of games. The LucasArts Archives Vol. III consisted of six titles and a sampler disc containing demos of then-upcoming titles such as Outlaws and The Curse of Monkey Island. The Monkey Island games still stand the test of time and Full Throttle, while not on par with Tim Schafer’s other classics, is still a title worth checking out. The Simulation game Afterlife and the FPS Dark Forces shine just as well with the only real blemish in the collection being The Dig which falls well below the standards of LucasArts’ previous graphic adventures.
7 Mega Man Anniversary Collection Is Perfect For Mega Man Mega Fans
While Digital Eclipse did a first-rate job bringing the first six Mega Man titles to modern platforms in the Legacy Collection, Atomic Planet’s Anniversary Collection sported more games and content over a decade earlier. Not only did it include the first eight mainline installments, which spanned from the NES to the original PlayStation, it also included the two Power Battle arcade titles. Bonus content included footage from the Ruby-Spears animated series, scans of artwork, and even remixed music. The only downsides were that it was only released in North America and the button mapping for the GameCube version was all wrong.
6 Castlevania Anniversary Collection Makes Some Much Needed Changes
Castlevania Anniversary Collection not only sports eight titles coming from 4 completely different systems, but it also includes versions from different regions which boasted more elaborate animations, additional gameplay features, and audio with more sound channels. While the lack of Rondo, Symphony, or any of the Game Boy Advance titles is regrettable, many of the games included are regarded as some of the best side-scrolling action titles.
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Additionally, M2 made some improvements to certain titles such as the previously borderline-unplayable Castlevania: The Adventure for the Game Boy. Adding to the content is the inclusion of developer artwork and design documents scans.
5 Namcot Collection Is Very High Quality
The Namcot Collection is home to some of the greatest arcade classics such as Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig Dug, and Xevious as well as more obscure entries like Splatterhouse‘s quirky chibi spinoff Wanpaku Graffiti. Emulation quality for both the arcade and home titles is completely dead on. There’s a healthy mix of both history and quality games in this package with the artwork scans really adding to the nostalgia. Lamentably, Namco Bandai made the dubious decision to split this wonderful collection into two for its Western release, stripping much of the flair and presentation in the process.
4 Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection Spans Two Decades
The Metal Gear Solid Legacy Collection contains some of the most ambitious and auteur-driven examples in the medium of video games. Eight titles from over two decades of gaming history are included and optimized to run on HD hardware. Not only does this collection give players the opportunity to discover some classics, but it’s also a window into the evolution of gaming impresario Hideo Kojima’s craft. The one downside is that Metal Gear Solid and the VR Missions are not included on the disc and must be downloaded through a code included in the packaging.
3 Rare Replay Is A Great Celebration
Rare Replay celebrates 30 years of the British studio with 30 games that span from the 8-bit era all the way to the Xbox 360. From its Muppets-esque opening number to the charming select menus, Rare’s compilation definitely delivers on the presentation. While many games don’t really hold up and the lack of any Nintendo titles is unfortunate, the good titles outweigh the duds on this disc. The documentary and behind-the-scenes videos with developers are great, but the requirements to unlock them can be downright Herculean. With many games from different genres, it’s almost certain that players will find a title that becomes one of their favorites.
2 Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection Has Some Great Variety
Boasting 48 titles, Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection provides a great mix of well-known classics, hidden gems, and odd experimental titles all in one disc. The inclusion of almost every Genesis Sonic title is fantastic, although Sonic 3 & Knuckles is sadly absent. The collection also includes some arcade and Master System titles as well as video interviews with the developers behind these classics. The only problems with the collection are emulation issues with certain arcade titles, the inability to disable the screen borders, and the unnecessary inclusion of two versions of the very lackluster beat ’em up Altered Beast.
1 The Orange Box Has Some Of The Greatest Games Of All Time
Containing some of the greatest games of all time, Valve’s The Orange Box was a collection that included five titles that showcased their gift for crafting peerless masterpieces. Half-Life 2 managed to pull off what many had thought was impossible and give the original game a run for its money, Team Fortress 2 helped kick-start the hero shooter genre with a timeless visual style, and Portal took players by surprise with its ingenious puzzle design and darkly comic narrative. Throw in the two episodic entries for Half-Life 2 to make a collection that’s just too good to be true. Just steer clear of the PlayStation 3 port.
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