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Konami GB Collection Vol. 2 (Game Boy Color) artwork

Konami GB Collection Vol. 2 (Game Boy Color) review


"Although as far as I am aware the four 'Konami collections' are unavailable in the US, here in the UK they received release just over a year ago. For all four the format was simple - Konami released four of it's classics on each cart. Each cart contained at least one of Konami's well-known shooters, and each one contained at least one... shall we say 'obscure' game. I'll give each game an individual mini-review here, and then give my view on the collection as a whole. Simple enough? Then on with..."



Although as far as I am aware the four 'Konami collections' are unavailable in the US, here in the UK they received release just over a year ago. For all four the format was simple - Konami released four of it's classics on each cart. Each cart contained at least one of Konami's well-known shooters, and each one contained at least one... shall we say 'obscure' game. I'll give each game an individual mini-review here, and then give my view on the collection as a whole. Simple enough? Then on with the show.....

Frogger

Everyone has heard of this game, so it needs no real introduction. It was even featured on Seinfeld, perhaps one of the greatest accolades ever. Basically you guide frogs across a road and river to get them home, while avoiding cars, alligators, and other such obstacles. This is a game that has been imitated SO MANY times (remember 'Horace Goes Skiing' on the Spectrum?), but the true brilliance of this game has never been matched by it's wannabes. For the new generation of gamers who started with the Playstation or Dreamcast it could seem antiquated - the sound is very basic, and the graphics wouldn't exactly be found hanging alongside the Mona Lisa (although they could fit in well in a Damien Hirst exhibition....), but even the most graphics-over-gameplay intensive youngsters out there will find themselves popping back for another go...... Genius.

9/10

Block Game

As promised, we come to the Captain Obscurity of the bunch. If you've heard of this game before now then let me know, as I have a suspicion that it was made specifically for this collection....
Anyway, this game owes quite a lot to a certain Russian puzzle game (as suggested by the title). The shapes, as always, come down from the top of the screen at an increasing pace. Only this time you must stop them from reaching the bottom of the screen. Controlling a small spaceship, you fire single blocks at the shapes. Creating a completed square or rectangle causes the shape to disappear. Bigger finished products mean higher scores, but also higher risk. It sounds simple, but like the best puzzle games out there it is so much more complex when it comes to mastering it. However, unlike the best puzzlers, it doesn't have that-one- more-go feeling, and so while it will keep you captivated for a single session, you are unlikely to play more than one session in a day.

7/10

Track And Field

Oh dear. Like the Prince Philip of the Konami Royal Family, this game has come to let the side down a bit. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of the button-battering brilliance of the Track And Field series, although it just doesn't translate too well to the Game Boy Color, I'm afraid. I find that the rapid button pressing just isn't plausible on the tiny GBC - to have any level of success it's almost vital that you put the GBC flat down on a table or on the floor or something, otherwise your frantic hammering will cause the machine to jiggle about as if it's come down with disco fever. While this is fine if you're playing at home, it just isn't to convenient if you want to play on a long car or train journey. The graphics are actually quite impressive, although the sound is very tinny and just seems... wrong somehow. With only five events on offer (100 meter dash, 110 meter hurdles, javelin throw, long jump and triple jump), this isn't a bad game, it just isn't up to the standard seen elsewhere on the cart.

5/10

Parodius

Ah, the hidden ace up Konami's sleeve.... Yes, this is the full version of Parodius here for your portable please. And what a pleasure it is. This game is the obligatory shooter of the set, but there really is nothing standard about this game at all. It's all familiar territory if you've played Gradius or R-Type, but that's not to say that having one of those games means that you should disregard this one. The level design is near perfect - everything is just where it should be (although the game is not without surprises), bosses are nice and large, and the graphics are bold and colourful. This game also has the best music of the collection, and it really does seem faithful to the original. Many people dismissed Parodius when it first appeared, saying that it's cartoon-like presentation (one of the playable characters is a flying octopus after all....) undermined it's standing in the side-scrolling shooter genre, but I would disagree. I say that it give the game a much more distinctive style, and makes the game stand above many of it's competitors. Outstanding stuff, and quite obviously the highlight of the collection.

9/10

Konami Collection Volume 2 is one of the finest pieces of plastic you can put into your Game Boy Color, and the fact that it is backwards compatible means that anyone who has ANY flavour Game Boy can enjoy it. If I was informed correctly, and it is unavailable outside Europe, then I suggest importing it (and the other three if that money that Granny gave you for your birthday is still burning a hole in your pocket), you won't regret it. Ah the pleasures of having no regional lockout.... Two of the games here (Frogger and Parodius) are both worth the price of the game on their own, Block Game is probably worth half the price on it's own, and though Track and Field is below the standard set by others in the collection (and in all honesty I wouldn't pay more than £5 for it if it came individually), it still isn't a disaster, and there are three great games on the cart in addition to T & F, so to complain about it too much would just be picky. The final score is not an average, it takes into account the score for all four games, plus the value for money that the package offers. A heartfelt 9/10.

Rating: 9/10

tomclark's avatar
Community review by tomclark (March 07, 2004)

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