Tecmo Classic Arcade review
Tecmo's Classic retro bundle is anything but classic

The good:

11 classic arcade games included. Decent bonus content.

The bad:

Subpar graphics & sound. Sluggish and confusing controls. Not as much variety in gameplay as other retro compilations. Price. No online scoreboards.


Tecmo Classic Arcade is Tecmo's attempt at jumping on the 80s & 90s retro-compilation bandwagon. Containing 11 arcade classics dating back to when the company was known as "Tekhan", this collection mostly features shooters & platformers but is largely based around its popular football game "Tecmo Bowl", but also includes other notables like Bomb Jack and the company's first game, "Pleiads".

The graphics are arcade-perfect, but are poor compared to similar arcade titles. The sports games are especially bad, with characters looking more like poorly illustrated moving blobs of color, and the other games feature generally simple backgrounds & illustrations. Sounds are also perfectly converted, but even by 80s arcade standards are unusually bad. The music gets annoying & repetitive very quickly, and there isn't much more variety in the sound effects either. Also, sometimes the music will be stereo-quality in some games but much poorer in others, a difference especially noticeable when comparing the "Strato Fighter" music to the other games. Controls are both sluggish and confusing in setup: Generally the games feel rather unresponsive with both the Analog Stick & D-Pad, but the setups for accessing menus & starting the games is horrible. Whereas in the other retro compilations you can just press Start or A to begin a game, Tecmo's makes you press several different buttons (like X then Start) just to begin, plus they also make you press the Y button to pause a game in progress or exit, which is very clumsy and inconvenient where you should just be using the Start button. Gameplay generally shifts towards space shooters and platformers, with the exceptions being two Sports games (Tecmo Bowl, Tecmo Cup) and one interesting attempt at video pinball (Pinball Action). All the games are fairly simple and seem actually more like ripoffs of similar-themed games: Pleiads is similar to games like Galaga & Taito's Phoenix, while the tank-based shooter "Senjyo" is just Atari's Battlezone with color graphics. The big selling point here, Tecmo Bowl, suffers from clunky controls and poor gameplay mechanics that offset the available 4-player simultaneous gameplay. The best of the bunch here are the platformer "Bomb Jack" and the action game "Rygar". Also notably absent is one of Tecmo's biggest franchises, Ninja Gaiden. Two other notable issues are that online scoreboards weren't included, but especially the game's price tag-while $30 might sound reasonable for a compilation game like this, the fact that every other retro game can be had for $20 or less new makes this one sound like a bit of a ripoff considering you don't get nearly as many games and only a decent amount of promotional materials and original game instructions.

Tecmo could have done much better with this collection but instead chose to package this entire collection around the lackluster Tecmo Bowl and sell it for more than what most gamers should be paying for retro collections. Only buy it if you're a devoted Tecmo fan, and even then wait until the price drops to $20 or less-$30 is too much to waste on this one.

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