EA Replay Review

There are two types of “classic” games. Those that have simple and addicting gameplay that stands up to the test of time and those that are classic to a person with fond memories of spending time with the game in the past. The games included in EA Replay fall into the latter category, but with one big caveat. A number of these titles first appeared on the PC and if you have fond memories of playing Wing Commander or Ultima: The Black Gate on your old 386 then you’ll be disappointed to find that these games were ported from their stripped-down SNES versions.

For your money you get B.O.B. (a platformer), Budokan (fighter), Virtual Pinball (arcade), Desert Strike and Jungle Strike (helicopter shooter), three Road Rash games (racing with brawling mixed in), Ultima VII (RPG), Wing Commander and The Secret Missions (space sim), Syndicate (squad-based shooter), Haunting (ghost sim), and Mutant League Football (sports). B.O.B., Budokan, Haunting, and Virtual Pinball are just filler which won’t hold your interest past the first play. The Road Rash games are basically retro-style racers in which you can knock your competition off of their bikes. They can be fun in short doses but are probably more enjoyable to those with fond memories of the series. Desert Strike and Jungle Strike are competent enough shooters but they really show their age. Ultima went through some sort of odd transformation on its way to the SNES and the result is a run-of-the-mill console RPG without much excitement. That leaves us Wing Commander, Mutant League Football, and Syndicate…

Wing Commander is a game that has twice suffered. The first transgression was taking the enjoyable space combat sim from the PC and turning it into a scrolling cursor point and shoot game on the SNES. The second was taking this version to the PSP on which the graphics have a bad tendency to flicker and the controls are frustratingly sluggish. Wing Commander was my personal nostalgic game, but I was disappointed to see it rendered near unplayable in this collection.

Mutant League Football is a cool Madden variant that puts you in charge of a football team of monsters. It plays a lot like a game of Madden circa the early 1990s with the addition of traps, attacks, and player deaths. It can be fun for those of you who remember the early days of Madden on the Genesis, but holding the game up against Madden 07 for the PSP will show you what a really, really long way football games have come over the past ten years.

Syndicate is probably the most interesting game in the collection. It’s a squad-based tactical shooter that puts you in charge of a four man elite unit in a dystopian future. Between missions you can upgrade your men and weapons, which gives it a bit of an RPG feel. The game rewards the thinking person as sound tactics will get your men through their missions alive.

If you have no emotional connection with these games already, then the collection is almost certainly not for you. If one or more of them comes with fond memories attached, then give the game a rental to make sure that it still appeals to you and that the version of your favorite game included here is the version that you remember.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 60%. EA Replay is strictly for the nostalgic.


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