8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume 1 is one of many recent releases that brings together classic games to present day consoles. Collecting three terrific games ported from the original Nintendo Entertainment System, 8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume 1 contains Shadowgate, Uninvited and Deja Vu. Originally released on Apple Macintosh, these were first ported to NES before finding a mass audience of kids like myself from 1987 to 1991.
I can still remember staying up all night with my friend playing Shadowgate for the first time. Back then we didn’t have game guides, if we were lucky Nintendo Power may have published something. Nor did we have the internet to out where to go next, or what item we needed to find. It was trial and error, process of elimination, and sometimes just luck, that would get us to the next part of the game. When I heard that these gems of my childhood were coming to current generation consoles, I had to try them.
I won’t go to much into each of the three games included in this collection, but each game, though they are set in different genres and worlds, are played the same way. All are a point and click interface built on what was at the time, wonderful 8 bit graphics, with text based story and descriptions of items. Players travel from scene to scene collecting clues, picking up items, and trying to figure out how to proceed. All three games are more mysteries than they are puzzle games. Players must read carefully and use some insight to figure out if the solution to the next room is say, an item you are already carrying, or hidden in that room.
It was a joy to walk down memory lane and relive these adventures. Shadowgate is my personal favorite, set in a fantasy world, exploring a huge castle on your quest to stop the a warlock from raising a monster that will destroy everything. In Uninvited, players are thrown into a horror story, stuck in a haunted mansion in search for their sister after a car crash. In Deja Vu, players wake up in 1941 Chicago with no memory of who they are or how they got there. Each game in the 8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume 1 collection holds it’s own, and are still fun to play, even with archaic systems and having to save manually all the time. I highly suggest you don’t forget to do so, as death comes very fast in all three titles if you are not careful.
I wish I could say more and give 8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume 1 a better score, but honestly I was expecting more improvements and bonus features, even with an MSRP of $7.99. 8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume 1 just feels barebones and lazy. Some hint ability seems to have been discussed at one point in development, as the controller layout page shows a “hints” button, but this did nothing to help when I pressed it, taunting me. Some pointless basic screen filtering options are included but that is it. A speed increase option would’ve also been welcome, along with an auto save. Heck, some history or artwork even! 8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume 1 is great for a small peek at game history and a format we will never see again, but I wish more would of been done than this lazy “copy and paste” release.
8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume 1 is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. This review is based on a PS4 copy provided for that purpose.