Blizzard Arcade Collection

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Blizzard Arcade Collection Game Poster Image
Classic violent games get range of remastered features.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Three games included in this collection are generally thin when it comes to plot, but there are still themes of good vs. evil in The Lost Vikings and Blackthorne. Gameplay in The Lost Vikings makes teamwork a necessity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Not much character development in the included games. Rock N Roll Racing is a basic racing game, while Blackthorne is little more than a gritty '90s action hero. Olaf, Erik, and Baleog from The Lost Vikings have a bit more personality but still don't project any "role model" traits.

Ease of Play

Each game is relatively easy to pick up and play. While Blackthorne and Rock N Roll Racing are straight-up arcade-style games, The Lost Vikings does have a slight puzzle aspect, as certain characters' specific skills are often needed to bypass obstacles.

Violence

The Lost Vikings and Rock N Roll Racing have minor violence, mainly involving explosions and cartoonish combat. Blackthorne plays more like an action film, using shotguns and other weapons against various creatures and monsters. The game shows characters chained to the walls, and blood splatter when characters take damage.

Sex
Language

Some mild language and a middle-finger gesture appear in some of the behind-the-scenes content.

Consumerism

This collection adds in three games from Blizzard's early days as a company.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the characters in Rock N Roll Racing is constantly shown smoking a cigar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the Blizzard Arcade Collection is a collection of three classic games from Blizzard's early days, and it's available for download on the Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch and on Windows-based PCs. The collection includes original and "definitive" versions of The Lost Vikings, Rock N Roll Racing, and Blackthorne, as well as behind-the-scenes pictures and videos showcasing the development of the games and the evolution of Blizzard as a studio. Each game contains different styles of gameplay and content. Each has some form of violence, and Blackthorne is the most violent of the three, with blood splatter shown on-screen. One character in Rock N Roll Racing appears regularly smoking a cigar. Parents should also be aware that some of the behind-the-scenes content contains occasional mild language and gestures.

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What's it about?

The BLIZZARD ARCADE COLLECTION reaches back into the archives to revisit the early days of the hit game studio. The collection includes three classic Blizzard titles: the puzzle platformer The Lost Vikings, the intergalactic heavy metal racer Rock N Roll Racing, and the sci-fi/action movie-inspired Blackthorne. Each game includes its original release as well as a new "Definitive" edition, with a few modern tricks and treats, including save/load states, multiplayer support, rewind, new maps, and more. Players can feed their need for nostalgia and then go behind the scenes and learn how Blizzard's early days and the creation of these classic games eventually led the studio to become the gaming powerhouse it is today.

Is it any good?

This collection brings together three old-school titles from Blizzard's archive, but as far as collections go, this feels a little on the thin side. The Blizzard Arcade Collection includes The Lost Vikings, Rock N Roll Racing, and Blackthorne, each of which has previously been available on its own as a free download through the Battle.net service. But these were only the original versions and only on the PC. The collection bring these games to consoles while adding a few more modern features for each "Definitive" version, as well as a library of behind-the-scenes features, such as developer interviews, digital game manuals, and original design artwork. It's interesting to dip into the mindset of the studio's early days, but it still feels more like fluff than anything really substantial. 

The platform versions of the games are faithful to their original releases on the SNES, Sega 32X, etc. It's about as close to playing the originals as you're likely to get without actually having those old systems. That should be good enough to satisfy any nostalgic urges, but there are extra items here to improve the experience. These include new Save/Load options and a Rewind feature to correct mistakes on the fly. In the case of Blackthorne and The Lost Vikings, there's a unique playthrough feature that allows players to watch an autoplay of the game and to jump in to take over the controls at any point. Meanwhile, the Definitive versions add even more features. For example, Rock N Roll Racing gains the most benefits, with full 16:9 screen resolution, new dialogue and music, and a four-player split-screen versus mode. Though the collection stops short of creating fully remastered versions of any of these games, it's these extra tweaks that at least give fans a fresh reason to revisit this otherwise forgotten chapter of Blizzard's legacy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the evolution of video games. How have games changed over the years? How did the compact action of the arcades lead the way for the more cinematic experiences found on consoles and computers today?

  • What's the appeal in revisiting classic games and franchises? What are some ways that studios update and modernize classics while still staying true to the original experience?

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