As they turn 50 this year, Japanese developers and publishers Konami have announced three collections bagging up a number of former glories: Contra side-scrolling shooters, a big of old arcade games, and the metroidvania series Castlevania. Konami haven’t yet revealed the full contents of the Contra and Castlevania collections, but so far they’re very much leaning towards the early days. Hey, when I turn fifty, I expect I too will settle into a quiet and contended life of dining out on former glories.
Coming first is the Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection on April 18. It will include A-Jax (aka Typhoon), Gradius (aka Nemesis), Gradius II (aka Vulcan), Haunted Castle, Salamander (aka Life Force), Scramble, Thunder Cross, and TwinBee, along with a digibook of devchat, design docs, and such. Having not been much of an arcade rat (or an emulator kid) I nod and say ah yes, some of those are some names I recognise and have heard spoken in warm tones. It’s due to cost €20/$20 (maybe £15 I’d guess?).
Following in “early summer” is the Castlevania Anniversary Collection, containing Castlevania and Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse off the NES, Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge from the Game Boy, the SNES’s Super Castlevania IV, one of those there digibooks, and… more games Konami haven’t announced yet. Yes, it is a bold move to hold off on saying whether or not it includes the best. Surely it’ll have Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night?
The Contra Anniversary Collection is also due at some point in early summer. It’ll have Contra and Super Contra from arcades, Super C off the NES, the SNES’s Contra III: The Alien Wars, a digibook, and more games Konami haven’t yet announced.
All three are coming to Steam, though store pages aren’t up yet so you’ll have to make do with peering at Konami’s site.
It is sad, seeing what’s happened to Konami. They have, at times, made some excellent games. Silent Hill and Metal Gear Solid have been favourite series of mine. But Konami have wrung Silent Hill for all its worth with years of bleh sequels, and the brief promise of a return to form with Silent Hills and its phenomenal P.T. demo was dashed when their falling-out with Hideo Kojima became more of an explosion. And Metal Gear, ah, Metal Gear has occasionally been truly brilliant but after the Kojima mess Konami have, y’know, made it a so-so survival game. There’s something slightly unfortunate about releasing game collections which demonstrate your best days are behind you.