IGN Review of Intellivision Lives!
If you've never heard of the Intellivision, Mattel's direct challenger to the Atari 2600, this compilation of 60 games will serve as a decent crash course. And if you don't care, well, then there's nothing so special in Intellivision Lives to make you change your mind. This collection is strictly for the fans, particularly those still diehard enough to overlook a wonky interface and some missing essentials.
Intellivision Lives offers more than 60 games, including big titles such as Astro Smash, Snafu, and Tower of Doom. There are even games for the Intellivoice, Matte's rare voice module add-on for the Intellivision, such as Space Spartans. In fact, there are so many in here that it almost draws attention to the missing games, likely due to licensing issues. There are no third-party games. The TRON titles are missing, too. Considering the Disney cult classic is enjoying a true renaissance with the anticipated sequel, the vanished TRON games are a real disappointment. The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons games are at least here, although the AD&D license has been stripped out. Now you have non-descript titles like Crown of Kings.
Intellivision Lives also includes single-cart multiplayer and a handful of unreleased games, such as Hard Hat and Brick Out. These are nice extras that make up for lost ground. But there is a nagging thing in the background here that cannot be overlooked: many of these games simply aren't that good, especially in the cold light of 2010. Nostalgia will only get you so far and in some cases, that's maybe two or three minutes into a game before you realize you've simply moved on and many of these games are better remembered as artifacts of an age.
The emulation is pretty decent. I cannot complain about the recreations, which occupy the top screen and look quite sharp. The controls mercifully use the d-pad and buttons and do not entirely rely on a virtual recreation of the strange Intellivision disc-like controller on the lower DS screen, although it is indeed used for games with number pad functionality.
What I can harp on, though, is the terrible interface and menu system. Games are splits into categories, such as Arcade, Space, and Sports. You then dive into the sub-category and browse through the available games one at a time. Why not just offer me an easy-to-read list on games? Even the pause menu is overdone. Just give me a single-screen menu where I can resume, rest, or exit. There is no reason to add extra screens just for appearances. Functionality should reign over form in a budget release like this.
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