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8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume 1 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Thom Compton 09.12.2017

Review for 8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume 1 on PlayStation 4

Old-school adventure games can be a bit jarring for first-time players. Even more famous titles like Day of the Tentacle, which use a verb system, throw newer players off, who are perhaps more used to titles like the Telltale games. For those who are unfamiliar, the verb system utilizes actions the player selects, then they select what they want to use that action on; for instance, MOVE is generally performed when going from room to room, and COMBINE is used when taking two or more items and fusing them together. 8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume 1 brings several titles, all originally by ICOM Simulations, and all originally released before 1990, to the PS4. Sadly, they don't hold up as well now as they must have then.

First up is Shadowgate, the RPG of the lot. Okay, so it's not much of an RPG; it just has the setting of an RPG. In the game, you venture into a castle, conveniently called Castle Shadowgate, in order to stop the dreaded Warlock Lord from resurrecting an evil and ancient beast. There are a lot of areas to explore, though the whole experience is still very linear. It also comes with the bonus of having torches that gradually lose their flame throughout the game. Should both your torches burn out at any time, you die, stuck in the castle's perpetual darkness. Fortunately, there are more of these that can be picked up. Unfortunately, it's easy to forget about them and die unexpectedly.

Up next is Uninvited, the spookier of the three titles. Here, you explore a creepy mansion after a car crash separates you and your sister. This title isn't particularly deep, and the story isn't all that fascinating, but it does a pretty decent job with its atmosphere. It's not scary, but it's easy to see how, at the time it was originally released, it could have been. Also, Uninvited doesn't have anything you need to monitor, though there's a catch involving a ruby, that if you pick it up, it will eventually kill you (in a manner of speaking), though you can set it down to end the curse.

Screenshot for 8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume 1 on PlayStation 4

Finally, ICOM's first title, Deja Vu: A Nightmare Come True, is more of a murder mystery. As an amnesiac, you must figure out a devious plot while slowly trying to regain your memories. This is the best title of the three, as the story is the most interesting, and the gameplay feels much tighter than in the other two, save for the inclusion of a slot machine that proves that video game slot machines have always been awful. Maybe it is slot machines themselves? Hmm.

See, the biggest problem with these games are the controls. As you have to select each verb, and then how to use it, using the DualShock is incredibly cumbersome. More so when a command fails for whatever reason, forcing you to scroll all the way over and reselect the command. For all the work developer General Arcade did in adding colour to the titles, perhaps some other method of control could have been added to make the experience more fluid. People who have played the original games will likely find this a bit less annoying, or even those playing on the PC with a mouse. With the joystick, though, it's just too slow a process going through everything.

These titles are best for fans of the original releases, or people who want to experience something retro that doesn't involve jumping on lizards' heads or shooting them with a cannon. Every title is pretty good, with Uninvited being the weakest of the three. Really, unless you really like this kind of game, there's nothing much here for you. It's hard to believe these titles would make a believer out of a cynic. This doesn't make them any less, necessarily, but it does mean they're really only going to excite the people who already love this genre.

Screenshot for 8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume 1 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume 1 is an enjoyable experience, but it feels more like an exhibit than anything else. While collection style games are always going to be a mixed bag, 8-Bit Adventure Anthology doesn't really have a weak spot so much as it has a dip with Uninvited. Fortunately, the whole package is one point-and-click fans would be downright silly to miss out on, though perhaps they'd be better off playing it somewhere else. The controls here suck a lot of the fun out of the experience, and if the games weren't as solid as they are, it would make this entire experience a lot less enjoyable.

Developer

Abstraction

Publisher

Abstraction

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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