Blizzard Entertainment turns 30 and makes video games. To celebrate this milestone, the studio released a new collection that includes three of its most popular titles from the 16-bit era. These selections include: The Lost Vikings, Rock’n’Roll Racing and Blackthorne, three titles that were once released for SNES and SEGA Mega Drive. They may not be as representative of the brand as Diablo and Warcraft, but they undoubtedly show the diversity and enormous potential that Blizzard had in its early days.
The one that grabbed me the most about the collection was obviously Rock N ‘Roll Racing. I love isometric racing games and classic rock, so it seemed like the perfect combination. Originally released in 1993, this track is fast-paced and chaotic, and its soundtrack features hits from groups like Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. On the other hand, in races we can find weapons similar to Mario Kart that we can use to stumble our enemies, and there is even an opportunity to upgrade our vehicle with the money raised.
I have to say that in the end I also had a soft spot for The Lost Vikings. In this puzzle-focused game we will have to combine the skills of three different Vikings to overcome each stage. Erik can run and jump, Olaf can stop projectiles with his shield and Baleog can attack with his sword and crossbow. Many of the puzzles are creatively designed and new obstacles and traps are constantly being introduced to keep the user experience fresh. What I didn’t like, however, was the trial and error system of its levels. To move forward, all Vikings must reach the end of the phase. So if one of your people accidentally dies along the way, the game will force you to start the screen again.
Blackthorne was the only one in the collection that didn’t quite convince me. It’s a cinematic platformer in the style of the classic Prince of Persia, but it offers a more primitive form of indoor shooting. While I’m a huge fan of the game design and the general environment, I couldn’t miss the fact that the gameplay was so slow. In order to jump or climb stairs, you must first make sure that your weapon is well holstered. Also, unless you keep pressing the run button, you’ll need to walk at an extremely slow pace. He has received a lot of compliments in the past so he has his fans. However, since I tried it for the first time in 2021, I have not yet fully got used to the controls.
In addition to these three available games, Blizzard wanted to add a wealth of additional content to this collection so fans could know how things were going and during the early years of the study. You can view the original covers and manuals in the main menu. You’ll also find extensive off-camera interviews, and even an original music player obviously doesn’t contain any copyrighted Rock N ‘Roll Racing tracks. Touches like this make the set seem like a true love letter to fans, and the truth is, it’s very cool to see how far the studio goes beyond what Nintendo, for example, has in the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection .
It also includes the original SNES and Mega Drive versions of all games, as well as the final improved versions. The latter include additional elements that weren’t present in the original tracks, such as the auto-mapping feature in Blackthorne and CD-quality versions of the Rock N ‘Roll Racing soundtrack. Along with these exclusive customizations, it also introduces memory states, the ability to rewind your progress if you accidentally die, and the option to resize the screen or apply different image filters.
My biggest criticism of this new project, however, is the price. I can’t say anything bad about the games included or the additional content. Yes, it seems a bit expensive to pay 19.99 dollars for three titles that are almost three decades old. Blizzard likely put quality over quantity in creating this collection, but The Lost Vikings 2 is not included and has achieved almost as good results as its predecessor. RPM Racing from the same period is also missing. Okay, it’s true the latter wasn’t exactly well received, but it’s an important part of the studio’s legacy as it was their first release.
To sum up, while the Blizzard Arcade Collection, while its choices are somewhat limited, offers the best that the famous studio has offered us in its early years. The three games are very diverse and cover a wide variety of genres. There is a lot of very interesting bonus content in the collection such as interviews and a music player. In short, it’s a pretty complete package without a doubt. Of course, it’s up to you to decide for yourself whether you think it’s worth it for its price.