Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2

Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2 Review

Power without the price

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PlayStation 4 on

Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2 is also available for Xbox One

ESRB Everyone rating

As if fifty classic games weren't enough, here are fifty more. Volume 2 of Atari Flashback Classics is yet another batch of great retro games but does it live up to the fantastic first collection?

Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2 screenshot 1
Not many games let you play as a bear: thanks, Crystal Castles!

Volume 1 had its fair share of great arcade games like Centipede, Tempest, and Lunar Lander. However, I must say that the offering here is surprisingly superior. The classic space shooter Asteroids and its more challenging "Deluxe" sequel are as thrilling to play as ever. I could sit on my couch for hours chasing my high scores in those two. Crystal Castles is like Pac-Man on speed where you collect gems instead of dots. Gravitar plays a lot like Asteroids except you destroy turrets and have gravity constantly weighing you down. It's very difficult but loads of fun. Major Havoc is probably my favourite arcade game here as it combines other genres to craft one exciting game. You shoot at enemies then land your ship to enter a 2D platformer mode while you infiltrate and explode enemy bases. Not only that, you can play a Breakout-style mini-game between areas on your ship's panel. Speaking of which, Super Breakout is included, too. Anyway, Missile Command is here to both delight and frustrate. I forgot how tough the arcade version is! Phew, well, here are all of the games in this volume:

List of games included in AFC Volume 2

  • Asteroids [Arcade]
  • Asteroids Deluxe [Arcade]
  • Crystal Castles [Arcade]
  • Gravitar [Arcade]
  • Major Havoc [Arcade]
  • Missile Command [Arcade]
  • Red Baron [Arcade]
  • Sprint [Arcade]
  • Super Breakout [Arcade]
  • Adventure
  • Asteroids
  • Atari Video Cube
  • Basic Math (Fun With Numbers)
  • Brain Games
  • Breakout (Breakaway IV)
  • Casino (Poker Plus)
  • Championship Soccer (Pelé's Soccer)
  • Codebreaker
  • Concentration (Memory Match / Hunt & Score)
  • Crystal Castles
  • Demons to Diamonds
  • Double Dunk
  • Flag Capture
  • Golf
  • Gravitar
  • Hangman (Spelling)
  • Haunted House
  • Maze Craze: A Game of Cops 'n Robbers (Maze Mania)
  • Missile Command
  • Night Driver
  • Off the Wall
  • Outlaw (Gunslinger)
  • Race (Indy 500)
  • RealSports Baseball
  • RealSports Basketball [Unreleased]
  • RealSports Tennis
  • Return to Haunted House [Unreleased]
  • Secret Quest
  • Sentinel
  • Sky Diver (Dare Diver)
  • Space War (Space Combat)
  • Star Ship (Outer Space)
  • Stellar Track
  • Street Racer (Speedway II)
  • Submarine Commander
  • Super Breakout
  • Surround (Chase)
  • Video Checkers
  • Video Chess
  • Video Pinball (Arcade Pinball)

One area where Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2 excels in is its multiplayer games. Surround plays a lot like Intellivision's Snafu where you and your friend try to box each other in as you leave a wall wherever you travel. Even today, it's a formula that holds up perfectly. Maze Craze has you race a friend through a maze which is fairly enjoyable for a few rounds. Outlaw is a simple shooting game where you try to shoot your pal. It's kind of lame but is worth a few laughs. Space War is another basic experience where you fly around and shoot ricocheting projectiles at each other. Finally, being able to play games like Missile Command and Breakout with a friend adds some replay value.

Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2 screenshot 2
Put your hand on your hip, it's time for RealSports Tennis

Another genre that's represented well is unique puzzle-like games. Atari Video Cube is an easy take on the Rubik's Cube that I thought was quite satisfying to solve. One of my favourite games as a kid was Mastermind so it's great to see Codebreaker here. What I thought to be one of the best featured games is Flag Capture. It's played by trying to find a flag given certain revealed clues. Using a good strategy and uncovering a wealth of flags is very satisfying. In fact, I'm the first person in the world to get the trophy for finding at least ten flags in one game. As you can see, this volume's selection of "games that make you think" for Atari 2600 is quite impressive. Speaking of which, a few adventure titles that require some strategy are included in the form of Haunted House (and its fan-made sequel Return to Haunted House), Secret Quest, and Adventure. They may not be as epic as Swordquest but they're still great games.

One interesting game that I should mention is Sentinel as it's one of the odd light gun games for Atari 2600. You control the cursor and shoot down oncoming enemies to protect a sphere. It's cool but I wish it used an actual light gun.

There isn't much negative to say about this collection but here goes. There are quite a lot of arcade games that also have their Atari 2600 counterparts included. For the most part, these versions are much less enjoyable and it's kind of disappointing booting them up. That being said, Asteroids and Missile Command feel right at home in their console iterations. Finally, there are some games that are very difficult to figure out and are probably not worth the effort. For example, Stellar Track is a text-only port of a Star Trek game and it really is a perplexing piece of work that only existing fans could enjoy. Red Baron's visuals are choppy and confusing which makes it tough to play. Similar things could be said about Star Ship and Submarine Commander. Trying to play Casino or Concentration will make anyone turn off the game and just open a deck of cards while learning how to play Golf will take longer than playing 18 holes in real life.

Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2 screenshot 3
Off the Wall makes Breakout look like it's for chumps

To my surprise, Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2 is a better collection than the first volume. With a phenomenal selection of arcade games and many Atari 2600 gems that still hold up; it'll be hard not to spend all of your quarters once you enter this arcade.

  • + Awesomely addictive arcade games
  • + Some great multiplayer experiences
  • + Fantastic collection of enjoyable noodle-scratching Atari 2600 titles
  • - Most Atari 2600 versions of the included arcade games are undeniably inferior
  • - A handful of games are extremely unintuitive to play in this day and age
8.1 out of 10
Gameplay video playlist for Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2 8:36

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