Review: Atari Vault – Kicking it Ultra Retro Style


I grew up around the 80’s gaming scene from arcades to the present day and have some very fond memories of gaming decades gone by. My first home gaming was experienced on a ZX Spectrum 48k but this didn’t stop me from getting an Atari 2600 around the mid 90’s. There was just something about the wood veneer version of this console that a voice from my head was shouting “just get the damn thing will you.” So before we got to where we are in today’s gaming, there were things called blocky graphics from cartridges and the good old vector graphics in arcade halls up and down the country. From titles like Asteroids and Tempest just to name a couple there are gamers out there where these titles defined their childhood. Atari takes us from 2016 and shoots us back to the 70’s and 80’s golden era of gaming with Atari Vault which has just been released on Steam. I get my rose tinted goggles on and take a trip back in time with Atari’s collection of 100 games mixed between Atari 2600 era as well as faithfully recreated arcade machines.

The first thing that was quite striking in this highly varied retro collection was the whole presentation. When it loads up you are presented with the arcade machines which you can rotate a full 360 degrees all with their original art work. There are 18 arcade machines in total including the original Pong machine. For each arcade title you can check out the gallery section for a closer look at the various original flyers and artwork. With the like of the Asteroids machine they have included the flyers for the Cocktail and Cabaret cabinets. When you head on to the home console games things get even better, especially for those who love the old skool packaging of games. Just like the arcade section you are presented with the games boxes which you can also rotate a full 360 degrees. Instead of a gallery in this section you have scans of the manuals to look through and all have a very retro feel to them and show their age. The only slight annoyance is when you zoom in on some manuals, then the writing becomes too blurry to read. Like many retro compilations you can play the games with or without the bezel artwork.

Before you even start playing the games you have a host of options you can tinker with ranging from game difficulty and control scheme. You can even customize the control layout as well which is always handy. As some games back in the day required the track ball you are able to adjust the sensitivity settings on of the assigned controller you are using. I have been using a Xbox 360 control pad and after some tweaking depending on game I have been having no issues. All the games support a control pad or keyboard with some allowing the use of your mouse. If you have a Steam controller you will be pleased to hear that its also supported. When playing the Atari console games you are presented with a screen that shows the top half of the console with switches and game cartridge all present. I really do like this little touch of class and I’m sure lovers of the console will also appreciate it.

All of the arcade titles with the exception of Pong have online leaderboards which is pretty much expected giving the era of the games. None of the titles in the console section have online leaderboards, which is slightly strange but there is something very special that makes up for this admission. All of the titles have online multiplayer which is quite an achievement given that more recent retro collections buy other publishers always seem to be missing this very important feature. As this title has just been released at time of writing this review I have not had the chance to put the multiplayer through its paces just yet. I have however had a few goes at various games and for the most it has been fine. I have noticed some slowdown though in some of my games but it could have been down to network issues and not the actual game. I will update this review in the future if things change.

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The game collection is quite varied with some classics making the cut and its a list that will please most people who will be interested in this decade of gaming. For the younger gamers out there it is a good history lesson all though the collection is missing the infamous E.T. A lot of the classics are in the collection like Missile Command, Tempest, Centipede, Crystal Castles and more all in their arcade form. These titles also have their console versions included as well amongst other V2600 titles like Haunted House and Return to Haunted House. A full list of all 100 games can be found at the bottom of the review. In terms of the graphics and sounds they are faithfully recreated and look and sound just like they did all those years back. I like that you have the option to adjust the graphics slightly which really comes into great effect for the Vector based titles. The menu music is forgettable and I just turned it off, but if your like me, just put on some 80’s tracks in the background while I relive the memories.

The Good Things

  • 100 titles with some great classics.
  • Spread over Arcade and Atari 2600.
  • Online Multiplayer.

And The Bad

  • Battlezone is M.I.A

My Verdict…

      When it comes to Retro Compilations gaming studios always seem to have a habit of getting things not quite right. In this instance though Atari have certainly left an impression with Atari Vault. The whole presentation is pretty amazing. It was great to be able to rotate the arcade cabinets and the Atari 2600 game boxes. Being able to view the original game manual as well as the Arcade artwork was also a nice trip down memory lane. The fact that these games have online multiplayer is something of amazement nowadays in terms of a retro compilation and I applaud them for it. If you grew up around these games then this will definitely a worth while purchase, even without Battlezone or E.T. For the more modern gamer this is a history lesson in gaming and shows just how far the industry has come on.

At the time of writing you can grab this one sale at £12.74, but even at the normal price of £14.99 its still worth it for us older gamers.

Get those rose tinted glasses on and take a trip back in time to what defined some gamers childhood.

Full Game List: 

  • 3D Tic Tac Toe – 2600
  • Adventure – 2600
  • Air Sea Battle – 2600
  • Asteroids – 2600
  • Asteroids – Arcade
  • Asteroids Deluxe – Arcade
  • Backgammon – 2600
  • Basic Math – 2600
  • Basketball – 2600
  • Black Widow – Arcade
  • Blackjack – 2600
  • Bowling – 2600
  • Brain Games – 2600
  • Breakout – 2600
  • Canyon Bomber – 2600
  • Casino – 2600
  • Centipede – 2600
  • Centipede – Arcade
  • Championship Soccer – 2600
  • Checkers – 2600
  • Chess – 2600
  • Circus Atari – 2600
  • Code Breaker – 2600
  • Combat – 2600
  • Combat 2 – 2600
  • Concentration – 2600
  • Crystal Castles – 2600
  • Crystal Castles – Arcade
  • Demons to Diamonds – 2600
  • Desert Falcon – 2600
  • Dodge-Em 2600
  • Double Dunk – 2600
  • Fatal Run – 2600
  • Flag capture – 2600
  • Football – 2600
  • Golf – 2600
  • Gravitar – 2600
  • Gravitar – Arcade
  • Hangman – 2600
  • Haunted House – 2600
  • Homerun – 2600
  • Human Cannonball – 2600
  • Liberator – Arcade
  • Lunar Lander – Arcade
  • Major Havoc – Arcade
  • Maze Craze – 2600
  • Millipede – 2600
  • Millipede – Arcade
  • Miniature Golf – 2600
  • Missile Command – 2600
  • Missile Command – Arcade
  • Night Driver – 2600
  • Off the Wall – 2600
  • Outlaw – 2600
  • Pong – Arcade
  • Quadrun – 2600
  • Race – 2600
  • Radar Lock – 2600
  • RealSports Baseball – 2600
  • RealSports Basketball – 2600
  • RealSports Boxing – 2600
  • RealSports Football – 2600
  • RealSports Soccer – 2600
  • RealSports Tennis – 2600
  • RealSports Volleyball – 2600
  • Red Baron – Arcade
  • Return to Haunted House – 2600
  • Save Mary – 2600
  • Secret Quest – 2600
  • Sentinel – 2600
  • Sky Diver – 2600
  • Slot Machine – 2600
  • Slot Racers – 2600
  • Sword Quest Fireworld – 2600
  • Space Duel – Arcade
  • Space War – 2600
  • Sprint – Arcade
  • Sprint Master – 2600
  • Star Raiders – 2600
  • Starship – 2600
  • Steeplechase – 2600
  • Stellar Track – 2600
  • Street Racer – 2600
  • Stunt Cycle – 2600
  • Sub Commander – 2600
  • Super Baseball – 2600
  • Super Breakout – Arcade
  • Super Breakout -2600
  • Super Football – 2600
  • Surround – 2600
  • Sword Quest Earthworld – 2600
  • Sword Quest Waterworld – 2600
  • Tempest – 2600
  • Tempest – Arcade
  • Video Cube – 2600
  • Video Olympics – 2600
  • Video Pinball – 2600
  • Warlords – 2600
  • Warlords – Arcade
  • Yars Revenge – 2600

About no1phil

PR Manager & Editor for XLC Gaming Network. I have been gaming since the ZX Spectrum days growing up through many generations of consoles. A bit of a jack of all trades when it comes to gaming genres. When I'm not either being shot at, dancing, scoring for the other team or racing I am trying to become a guitar God with Rocksmith 2014.