Y'know, if I had 10p for every multi-game re-release set we've reviewed that called itself an 'ultimate' collection, a 'definitive' compilation, a 'superlative anthology' [Raid that thesaurus! - Ed] or whatever, I'd have at least 20p by now. What I wouldn't have is anything like enough money to go out and buy this one, so let's see whether it's actually worth blowing half my month's wages on.
First off comes Kick Off 2. I think we've made it pretty clear wher we (and particularly I) stand on this one by now, so I won't waste any more words on it. If you like it, you like it, and good luck. My score: 23 percent.
Next there's Space Ace. This game's sequel scored an impressive 17 percent in issue 10, but the earlier version simply isn't up to that high standard. Action takes place in about four short sequences, all featuring the well-documented lack of gameplay inherent in these conversions of laser-disk coin-ops. The animation in Space Ace is probably the least impressive of any of the Don Bluth games so far, too. So today's score for Space Ace is 12 percent.
Then we get to Pipe Mania. A hugely popular game with all the critics when it was released back in 1989, I never really saw the appeal of it myself. Sluggish and irritating to play, you never get to feel properly in control of the 'puzzle' action, and it lacks the build-it-up-then-clear-it-away addictive hook of Tetris or Loopz.
Still, it's easy to pick up and the whole family can enjoy the original and non-violent gameplay, so let's be generous and give Pipe Mania a 1992 mark of 60 percent.
And, finally, Populous. Also hugely popular with the critics, also a bit of a mystery to me, but understandably original and engaging, and a god game which gives you a feel of omnipotence unrivalled since the days of Little Computer People.
To be honest, most of us find this over-complicated to play and pretty repetitive once you do get into it, but the Ed loves it to bits so for the sake of balance we'll give it a whopping great score of 72 percent.
Overall? Time to get the calculator out...
The Bottom Line
Dodgy grouping of big-name so-called 'classics' of which only Populous is really any good (and I don't even like that very much personally). For only two quid more you could make your own compilation out of Rainbow Islands, Scooby And Scrappy, Head Over Heels, Midnight Resistance, Future Basketball, Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters etc (substitute your own favourite budgies here) instead, and that's what I recommend you do.