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Konami GB Collection Vol. 4 Package Art
GENRE
Konami
DEVELOPER
Konami
PUBLISHER
1
NUMBER OF PLAYERS
unknown
CONNECTIVITY
unknown
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Konami GB Collection Vol. 4

Throughout the Konami GB Collection series, I was worried that Konami had run out of classic titles to slap together, and I consistently told myself that the next volume would be overkill. Surprisingly and fortunately for gamers, I was wrong, and Konami has turned out 4 worthwhile archives of classic titles, three of which (the third being this one) are absolutely stellar. This 4-compilation project was well worth the effort.

Gradius II: The Return of the Hero, Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge, and Yie Ar Kung-Fu will remind you why Konami has survived as one of the best developers for about 15 years. Antarctic Adventure will remind you that no one's perfect.

visuals

Gradius II (a side-scrolling shooter) doesn't offer anything new over the original visually, but there are a few color modifications. Some of the new tones are bizzare (ie. blue space ship, bright green sky, etc.), but nothing that'll rot your retinas too bad. Castlevania II has a drab, gothic style that manages to floor me despite it's mild, 2D look. Not up to the standards of Rayman as far as visuals go, but not many games are. Antarctic Adventure has a cartoony, minimalistic approach with a pseudo-3D third-person view. It doesn't do much for me, but it's from 1985, so I'm not going to smack it around too bad. Yie Ar Kung-Fu sees you duking it out with cartoony sprites in brightly colored environments.

As far as overall visuals when compared to the other collections in the series, Vol. 4 doesn't offer anything new, but seen as how these are all ancient titles to begin with, you can't complain. If Konami plans on doing a Vol. 5, I'd like to see the graphics completely overhauled and redone, like Nintendo did with Mario Allstars on the SNES.

audio

I'm sorry for basically ignoring the audio section when doing reviews of these collections in the past, and I'm sorry for doing it again. It's not that I'm (that) lazy. It's just that because these games are all classic titles that have been shoved into one cartridge, the music is also "classic". By classic of course, I mean it's mediocre. Beep beep, boop boop. Arrange them however you want, but it all sounds basically the same unless you're one of those creepy record store guys who lives in his parents attic and stores his precious vinyls in a fire-proof vault.

gameplay

Gradius II is a side-scrolling gem of a shooter that stays all-too-true to the prequel. Aside from the history it has, Gradius II is your basic shoot-em-up. Destroy wave after endless wave of enemies whilst collecting powerups to improve your arsenal. There are 5 levels, four of which can be practiced as much as you like before you go for the last level. It's fast, fun, and there's nothing like a great shooter to get the adrenal glands in gear.

Castlevania II follows the platform-jumping, whip-cracking adventures of Christopher Belmont; vampire slayer. Castlevania is right up there with the best of the best as far as platform games go; it's probably Konami's most memorable license, and with good reason. The gameplay is fun, the action is fast, and the control is tight. There are four areas to complete before tackling Dracula like the remains of a pig on the football field. This game has it all. It's worth the money of the collection by itself.

One-on-one kung-fu fighting is the name of the game in Yie Ar Kung-Fu. It's by no means up to the standards of Street Fighter, but it's 5 enemies do offer a lot of fun. Moves include the standard punches and kicks at various elevations, as well as super cool wall jumps. The last couple of enemies actually require strategy, and after you go through them once, you can smack them all around again in a slightly harder mode. There's not a lot of depth or anything like games tend to feature nowadays, but back in the day, games like this were hardcore. I like it.

Antarctic Adventure is the runt of this litter. The object is simple - get your penguin to the end of the level in the shortest time possible. Using up and down you can alter the speed of your penguin, but you really shouldn't be going any slower than all-out the whole time. Using left and right, you move your penguin (gasp!) left and right around typical obstacles penguins face daily - cracks in the ice and seals. The gameplay dies faster than pronounciation in one of Dubya's speeches. To put it quite bluntly, this game never should have made the cut. Don't let it's presence detract from the fun of the other three games.

multiplayer

See above.

overall

It takes a special kind of gamer to enjoy this pick-up-and-go style of gameplay. If quick fixes of gaming are your thing, don't hesitate to pick up any of these collections. I assume most of you will be wondering which one's the best to buy, and I'm not about to recommend any of these collections over the others. The best advice I can offer is to only get Vol. 2 if you've got all the others. I'm confident enough to say that it's the worst of the series, but it's still worth the cash. All around, I'd like to applaud Konami on their efforts and give a strong recommendation for any of the 4 collections. And Konami, for the love of God, bring these games to the states!
final score Action/10


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