8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume One - PS4 Review

As the name of the game implies, 8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume One is about as old-school as you are going to get. Obviously this package is not going to be for everyone. However, if you are like me and enjoyed these classic adventure titles on the NES years ago, 8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume One is probably worth a look.

Déjà Vu.

The Uninvited.


I played the snot out of all three of these titles back in the day - and that day was decades ago. All three titles are cut from very similar cloth, released in the late 80's/early 90's with a first person view as you follow along a very story-driven experience while trying to solve puzzles and advance the story line. The games themselves appear to be a straight-up port of the old NES titles, right down to having a trio of save slots per game. The graphics are still of the 8-bit variety (just like in the name!), with keeping the original aspect ratio and adding some wallpaper to the sides of the screen to provide some filler.

First, a quick breakdown on each of the titles.

Déjà Vu has probably the most memorable start to any of these games. I still remember the first time I fired this up and found the story kicking off as I woke up in a dingy bathroom with no recollection of who I was or how I had gotten there. You pick up a gun on the floor and ascend some steps to find someone that has been shot to death. Not a good start to the day and a pretty cool noir style detective thriller. Of the three games, I think this one probably has the most challenging puzzles, because it was often easy for me to overlook little things needed to progress.

Next up we have The Uninvited, which features the most emotional of the introductions as your character wakes up after a car crash only to find that your sister is missing. Nearby is a mansion of very creepy design that locks you in the moment you enter. The mansion will find a myriad of ways kill you off and has a strong horror theme throughout. This is more haunted / scary movie than the other two titles, with things like zombies along the way. All three titles have elements of horror to them, but The Uninvited makes it a focal point.

Last but not at all least, we have Shadowgate. This title got an updated PC release a few years ago that I reviews and enjoyed (feel free to read about it here if you like). This is very much a fantasy game, but again horror is a major theme here. Darker, moodier with a fantastic soundtrack, Shadowgate was my favorite of these three titles when I was younger, and that held true when I replayed it with this set.

Obviously all three games are playing the nostalgia card pretty hard here, right down to providing some old 'television effects' like rounded screen corners or monochrome (which is a little weird honestly, as I played these on a television, making the black and white filter a more appropriate one from my perspective. I played these on old TVs, not an Apple II/e). Modern gamers? Probably they won't get as much out of these. Let's face it, video games have come a long ways over the last few decades, with all kinds of modern conveniences that were not technically capable or even dreamed of back in the 80's. Some of these puzzles and deaths are going to feel pretty cheap, and I have no doubt that this game will frustrate gamers who don't have the same nostalgic feelings for them that I do.

It reminds me a bit of the time my son (who enjoyed more modern Final Fantasy titles like VII, X and XII at the time) got some extra money to spend on the Nintendo shop and wanted to buy the original Final Fantasy to play on the Wii. I warned him that this was a very different kind of game, without generous checkpoints and and spikes in difficulty that he was not used to. He insisted on picking it up anyways, played it quite a bit early on as he initially basked in the retro visuals and sound, but over time grew frustrated with the game and after a couple of painful, relatively unfair wipes deep into a particularly challenging dungeon, just gave up on the game and never played it again.

I tell that story, because I think that the titles shown off in 8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume One are well-made ones that I enjoyed as a kid and equally enjoyed now will likely have the same impact on the wrong kind of audience. There are some cool filters and some of the trophies are pretty creative - and let's face it, we didn't have trophies back then - but at the end of the day these are old school games with all of the good and the bad that carries with it.

For this reviewer however, the 8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume One games were a welcome surprise. All three games are well-written with stories that are completely different from one another. They hailed from an era where oftentimes games told little to no story, so to have these kinds of narrative-driven experiences made them unique for the era. I turned off the lights, turned up the volume and crept around the creepy confines of Shadowgate's castle and enjoyed the blast from my past.

Game Information

PlayStation 4
Abstraction Games
Abstraction Games
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
Xbox One

Provided by Publisher

Article by Nick


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