Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics - Xbox One Review

Gathering a lot of retro shoot ‘em ups

Game Info:

  • System: Xbox One, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Date: April 18, 2019

Who it Caters to

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Before Konami was known for publishing titles like Metal Gear Solid or Dance Dance Revolution, they created old school titles that are rarely mentioned today. Original titles like Haunted Castle or Life Force remain known only to retro game enthusiasts and many gamers probably wouldn’t even realize Haunted Castle and Castlevania are related! Thankfully, Konami has unleashed quite a surprising title in the form of Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics. Does this mash up of several old school titles make us want to return to our gamer youths or remind us why we’re glad gaming has evolved significantly since the 80s and 90s? That question shall be answered below as we dive into Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics for ourselves here at Honey’s Anime!

What to Expect

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Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics is a gathering of 8 games from Konami’s old school legacy. Titles like Nemesis—Gradius 1—and Life Force are joined by other lesser known games like Scramble and Twin Bee. Each game has been upgraded slightly not removing their original designs but by making them more console friendly and with several important gaming adds on like mid-game saves and screen altering settings. Also included is an in-game book that explores the titles a bit more by showing their creation and various other pieces of information perfect for fans. Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics will appeal to gamers from the older arcade days and might even help some newer fans return to their parent’s youth.


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Konami has for decades led the gaming industry with both great console games and even better arcade titles. That’s why even today, a lot of modern-day gamers can say they’ve played Frogger or have tried a Castlevania title. Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics by Konami is one of possibly many anthology collections that celebrate 50 years Konami has been in the business of making games. We here at Honey’s Anime got a copy to review for Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics and have played through each game with smiles on our faces but also with some head shaking at the flaws this collection has. Let’s talk about the good and the bad as we review Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics for the Xbox One!

Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics contains 8 games ranging from the 80s to the 90s. The titles included are Haunted Castle, Typhoon, Nemesis (Gradius) Vulcan Venture (Gradius 2), Life Force, Thunder Cross, Scramble and TwinBee. We won’t dive into each game—as that would take us way too long—but we will say this, these games play just as we remember them! Nemesis and Life Force steal the show in the shoot ‘em up genre with some truly amazing side scrolling awesomeness. Thunder Cross and Typhoon are also solid games with challenging gameplay that will eat your virtual quarters in seconds. Speaking of hard games though, we do need to talk about one of the legendary hard titles, Haunted Castle.

Haunted Castle—aka Castlevania for the arcade—retains its insane difficulty by being one of the hardest Castlevania games ever. We died so many times in the beginning stage that we began to lose count; it’s that hard. Now you might find it strange we talked about Haunted Castle by itself over the other seven titles. The reason for that is simple. It’s the only non-shoot ‘em up on the Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics. That is where our first major gripe begins.

Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics has a collection of great titles but with only Haunted Castle being different than the rest we are left wondering why? Life Force and Nemesis might be amazing titles themselves but when you go from one to another you realize you’re not really playing different games. That’s the major issue with Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics…to many of the same genre in one collection. If this was an all shoot ‘em up collection with the specifics being that genre, we’d be more forgiving but when you dub this an anniversary collection celebrating 50 years, why are there only two genres available to play?

Our other big issue with Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics is the boring and bland set up. When Capcom and Atari did collections, they did some amazing things by having colorful menus. Even Sega had their most recent anthology with a cool theme that had the games lined up in a room like a real gamer would do with their classics. Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics is just plain in its choice selection and adds no flair or cool themes. You can alter the background and alter the screen resolutions for more authentic experiences, but it feels so shallow for a celebration like this one.

Though we don’t want to end our review on negative notes. The best element to Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics is the ability to save mid game and a cool anniversary book included in game. Mid saving might seem like a simple element to any collection nowadays, but it’s a necessity in older titles—especially Haunted Castle—as it allows for more freedom to pause games and do daily activities. Plus, all of the games themselves look pretty sharp with clear updates to visuals and sounds that don’t retract from the original games but improves on them.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

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Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics is what we’d like to call a missed opportunity. Konami has a plethora of legendary games from the 80s-90s but only a handful of them have been included in this collection and strangely…it’s mostly shoot ‘em ups. Konami has a lot of shoot ‘em ups obviously from the original gaming creation days but we’d love to see some older classics in here like Frogger, Road Fighter, Galactic Warriors and the list goes on. To only have 1 non-shoot ‘em up game is so strange for an anniversary collection and makes the price tag for Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics a bit too high. We do believe Konami will be releasing more of these that probably will contain different titles but unless you’re a die-hard fan of shoot ‘em ups—and Haunted Castle—then you might have trouble wanting to pick up Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics. Fans of those games mentioned above though will thoroughly enjoy these classics as they are still some of the better-known Konami titles.

Honey's Pros:

  • Plenty of shoot ‘em ups for old school Konami fans to enjoy
  • Life Force and Haunted Castle steal the show as some of the best of the bunch
  • Mid-saves are always appreciated in classic titles
  • Nemesis (aka Gradius) reminds us how great that series would eventually become

Honey's Cons:

  • Way too many shoot ‘em ups for a collection like this
  • High price tag for 8 really old games
  • Could have included other titles
  • Very boring and weak menu

Honey's Final Verdict:

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As gamers who grew up in the realm of both old school and current era, we have mixed feelings with Konami’s Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics. The games within aren’t bad and can be replayed with friends and family for some truly nostalgic feelings but the fact that Konami only included one non-shoot ‘em up is just bewildering to us. We hope Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics 2—if and when it releases—will have a more diverse profile. Are you excited nonetheless for Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below as we always love hearing from our readers out there! For more game and anime related articles, be sure to keep stuck to our hive here at Honey’s Anime!

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Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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