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The PSP is no doubt a bit of an emulator powerhouse. But for those of us who are more interested in collecting physical media, it should be noted that the PSP is also a great system to showcase various retro compilations. Considering what a wonderfully cheap handheld it is to collect for (at least domestically), you can actually build up a rather impressive retro library with just a pocket full of spending money and a small stack of UMD’s.
Activision Hits Remixed
Based heavily on the Activision Anthology previously released on PlayStation 2, Activision Hits Remixed features over 40 Atari 2600 games on a single UMD. The “remixed” part of the title is a bit of a misnomer, as the games themselves have not been altered. This is of course a good thing for retro enthusiasts.
The added features include a wonderful menu system which lets you thumb through a virtual collection of 2600 carts, a classic 1980’s soundtrack for that extra bit of nostalgia, as well as the ability to enable save states in each game. Even more impressive is the ability to game share, meaning with a single UMD you can send the game information to another player’s PSP and allow them to act as Player Two.
Games Included: Atlantis, Barnstorming, Beamrider, Boxing, Bridge, Checkers, Chopper Command, Cosmic Commuter, Crackpots, Decathlon, Demon Attack, Dolphin, Dragster, Enduro, Fishing Derby, Freeway, Frostbite, Grand Prix, H.E.R.O, Ice Hockey, Kabobber, Kaboom, Keystone Kapers, Laser Blast, Moonsweeper, Megamania, Oink, Pitfall, Pitfall II, Plaque Attack, Pressure Cooker, Private Eye, River Raid, River Raid 2, Robot tank, Sea Quest, Skiing, Sky Jinks, Space Shuttle, Spider Fighter, Stampede, Star Master, Tennis, Thwocker
Atari Classics Evolved
A collection of eleven classic Atari arcade games are updated here with revised visuals and audio. Certainly they look and sound great on the PSP including a tate mode for select games, but the selection can feel a bit sparse (especially when considering the overlap of Asteroids/Asteroids Deluxe and Centipede/Millipede).
In general, the compilation just feels slightly “not enough.” While a handful of the games do feature a multiplayer mode, game sharing from a single UMD is not an option. And although 50 additional Atari 2600 games are available to be unlocked, that’s not an easy task as it requires obtaining a long list of trophies to do so.
Games Included:Asteroids, Asteroids Deluxe, Battlezone, Centipede, Lunar Lander, Millipede, Missile Command, Pong, Super Breakout, Tempest, Warlords
Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded
Basically a portable rendition of Capcom Classics Collection Volume 1 for PS2, this UMD is full of arcade classics. Although 19 titles are included, there is a bit of overlap that can make some entries feel redundant — namely including three variations of Street Fighter II and two versions of 1943. But that being said, any fan of 1980’s and 90’s arcades should own this compilation.
Just the fact that shmups like 1942 and 1943, fighters like Street Fighter II and platformers like all three Ghosts’n Goblins titles. Most importantly the emulation of these arcade games is fantastic.
Games Included: 1942, 1943, 1943 Kai, Commando, Eco Fighters, Exed Exes, Ghosts’n Goblins, Ghouls’n Ghosts, Super Ghouls’n Ghosts, Gun.Smoke, The King of Dragons, Knights of the Round, Mercs, Pirate Ship Higemaru, SonSon, Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II Champion Edition, Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting, Valgus
Capcom Classics Collection Remixed
Based heavily on the second volume of the PS2 Capcom Classics Collection, this PSP compilation is an excellent value. Compiling 20 Capcom arcade titles, it includes equal parts classics (Final Fight, Strider) and overlooked oddities (Captain Commando, Quiz & Dragons).
It’s also worth noting that many genres are represented from shoot-em-ups to beat-em-ups all the way to medieval themed trivia. Seriously. The games all look excellent emulated on the PSP’s widescreen and unlockable bonus content actually makes the challenge of working your way through lesser known titles a fun prospect.
Games Included: 1941 Counter Attack, Avengers, Bionic Commando, Black Tiger, Block Block, Captain Commando, Final Fight, Forgotten Worlds, Last Duel, Legendary Wings, Magic Sword, Mega Twins, Quiz & Dragons, Section Z, Side Arms Hyper Dyne, The Speed Rumbler, Street Fighter, Strider, Three Wonders, Varth
Capcom Puzzle World
This collection definitely feels a bit sparse, and definitely highlights why Capcom isn’t exactly well known for their puzzle games. However, Puzzle World does include Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo — the fan favorite chibi-fighter gem puzzler that’s been ported to many other systems.
Of course a great puzzle game is right at home on a handheld, so this game alone makes Puzzle World a worthy addition to your PSP collection — especially if you’re looking for something equally addicting as Lumines.
Although as a collection the this release leaves a lot to be desired, Puzzle Fighter really could have been released as a UMD on its own. The other titles might as well just be bonus games.
Games Included: Block Block, Buster Bros., Buster Buddies, Super Buster Bros., Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
Perhaps the most interesting and diverse compilation released on the PSP came from EA of all publishers. While EA has never been known for putting out such compilations, they did an impressive job of cherry-picking titles from their early 90’s catalog that do a great job of showcasing all the various genres that they’ve dabbled in.
Though certainly EA may be slightly synonymous with sports games — and basketball, football and hockey are all represented here — there’s plenty of other genres to explore on EA Replay. For instance Haunting Starring Polterguy is a bizarre isometric game where you play the role of a ghost who must interact with various objects throughout a house in order to scare a family out.
Elsewhere Ultima VII finds itself a portable home which could keep RPG fans busy for quite some time, all three Road Rash racing games are present, and fans of action strategy can spend time with both Desert Strike and Jungle Strike.
Games Included: B.O.B., Budokan, Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf, Haunting Starring Polterguy, Jungle Strike, Lakers Versus Celtics and the NBA Playoffs, Mutant League Football, NHL 95, Road Rash, Road Rash II, Road Rash III, Syndicate, Ultima VII: The Black Gate, Virtual Pinball, Wing Commander, Wing Commander: Secret Mission
Shoot-em-up fans rejoice! Here’s five classic Gradius games on a single UMD that all look terrific on the PSP’s widescreen. This is definitely one of the most complete Gradius releases to date.
Previously, PlayStation fans would have had to have imported pricy Japanese versions of Gradius, Gradius II and Gaiden, so having all of these compiled together at a low price is certainly great news. The included music and movie galleries are also a nice addition for fans of the series.
Games Included: Gradius, Gradius II, Gradius III, Gradius IV, Gradius Gaiden
King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga
While a handful of really great 2D fighters were released on the PSP, it’s nice to see the value in SNK’s King of Fighters Collection. Rather than porting a single King of Fighters game to the handheld, we get a trilogy of King of Fighters 95, 96 and 97.
The sprite work looks great on the PSP’s screen resolution, and the four-button setup of KOF certainly works well with the PSP’s face buttons.
Games Included: King of Fighters 95, King of Fighters 96, King of Fighters 97
Metal Slug Anthology
Think the NeoGeo Pocket Color is your favorite handheld? That could potentially change once you pop SNK Playmore’s Metal Slug Anthology in. Included are seven nearly arcade perfect Metal Slug games — Metal Slug 6 is the only title based on the actual arcade game, while the others are all emulations of the NeoGeo AES versions.
Multi-player is available via ad hoc wireless connection and extras include art galleries, wallpapers and even a readable interview with several of the games’ designers.
Metal Slug Anthology also includes perhaps one of the coolest extras to ever grace a PSP release — all of the soundtracks can be ripped to the memory stick including fully tagged track and album names!
Games Included: Metal Slug, Metal Slug 2, Metal Slug 3, Metal Slug 4, Metal Slug 5, Metal Slug 6, Metal Slug X
Midway Arcade Treasures Extended Play
Here’s a bit of a mixed bag, though you can’t really complain about the number of games included. Much like the Midway Arcade Treasures releases for PS2 and GameCube, this one includes some strange emulation issues in the sound and graphical glitch departments.
The UMD itself is also rather barebones compared to many other compilations But that being said, there are certainly some high profile and worthy games included — many of which include a multiplayer ad hoc mode as well.
It’s also worth noting that the first Mortal Kombat is included here, though it had been omitted from the console releases.
Games Included: 720, Arch Rivals, Championship Sprint, Cyberball 2072, Defender, Gauntlet, Joust, Klax, Marble Madness, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 3, Paperboy, Rampage, Rampart, Sinistar, Spy Hunter, Toobin’, Wizard of Wor, Xenophobe, Xybots
Namco Museum Battle Collection
No video game system is complete without a Namco collection of some sort. The PSP’s oddly titled Battle Collection is a pretty thorough compilation of Namco classics.
Though riddled with overlap thanks to numerous versions of Pac-Man, Rally-X and Dig Dug, it still offers quite a bit to keep you busy. The four Arrangement games are updated with new visuals, audio and even gameplay.
Most of the games can also be game-shared with someone who doesn’t have their own copy of the UMD, although the shared version of the games are limited to single levels which is a bit of let down.
Games Included: Bosconian, Dig Dug, Dig Dug II, Dig Dug Arrangement, Dragon Buster, Galaga, Galaga Arrangement, Galaxian, Grobda, King & Balloon, Mappy, Motos, Ms. Pac-Man, New Rally-X, New Rally-X Arrangement, Pac-Man, Pac-Man Arrangement, Rally-X, Rolling Thunder, Tower of Druaga, Xevious
The Parodius series has always largely ignored the US, and sadly Parodius Portable is no exception. Certainly this is a shame for shmup fans, as the hilarious and ridiculous series has always been something worth importing. Luckily for PSP owners, there is no region lockout on the hardware. Here Konami compiled three classic Parodius arcade games with the PlayStation release of Forever With Me and even the original MSX Parodius.
The games all look and play great on PSP, but really having the ability to import a single release with these games rather than five separate PS1 imports is enough to sell many shoot-em-up fans on this one.
Games Included: Gokujou Parodius!, Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius: Forever With Me, Parodius, Parodius Da!, Sexy Parodius
Power Stone Collection
The word “collection” in the title may be slightly misleading as this UMD only contains two games — Power Stone and its sequel. That being said, fans of the Dreamcast multiplayer fighting games will certainly be thrilled to get their hands on this release.
In case you aren’t familiar with the Power Stone series, its a great 3D arena fighting game in which you could pick up and fight with things like tables, chairs, rocks, bombs and other objects. During battle, “Power Stones” would appear in the arena and if a character collected three Power Stones, they would transform into a more powerful version of themselves. It’s probably Capcom’s best 3D fighter ever (although most of their others aren’t that good).
Ad hoc mode supports up to four local players, and unlockables include characters, stages, artwork and music.
Games Included: Power Stone, Power Stone 2
Another amazing Konami shmup collection that never made it to the US. Salamander is of course the classic Gradius spin-off better known in the West as Life Force. This is perhaps the most interesting shoot-em-up compilation available for the PSP considering its inclusion of such obscure titles.
While Salamander and its proper sequel are no-brainers, there’s also the original Japanese version of the arcade game Life Force, an MSX game known as Nemesis II which is actually a home console version of Gradius II that was unrelated to the arcade game of the same title, as well as Xexex, an obscure Konami shmup that had never received a home port until this collection.
Games Included: Life Force, Nemesis II, Salamander, Salamander 2, Xexex
Samurai Shodown Anthology
SNK is well-known for their generous PSP compilations and this one is no different. Six classic Samurai Shodown games are included creating hours of playtime for 2D fighting fans.
Take into consideration that by the time you reach Samurai Shodown IV, you’re looking at a roster of 40 characters! The only downside is that as great as the games look on PSP, there is some baffling slowdown occurrences that stop them from being truly arcade perfect. Luckily the slowdown isn’t game-killing enough to deter from the value of such a collection.
Games Included: Samurai Shodown, Samurai Shodown II, Samurai Shodown III, Samurai Shodown IV, Samurai Shodown V, Samurai Shodown VI
Sega Genesis Collection
Sega has recently done a great job of compiling their classic 16-bit games together for various consoles, and the PSP release is a great example of what it looks like when done correctly. Nearly 30 games are included (some need to be unlocked) ranging from every major genre. The inclusion of all three Genesis Phantasy Star games alone should make this collection worth the price of admission considering the amount of time that can be spent on them.
And of course many classics are present — Sonic, Ecco and Shinobi all make multiple appearances. But its some of the obscure titles that may even make you happiest, like the inclusion of Super Zaxxon for the first time in the US. Extras include save states, game galleries, and ad hoc multiplayer. For retro enthusiasts this is definitely an indispensable UMD.
Games Included: Alex Kidd, Altered Beast, Astro Blaster, Bonanza Bros., Columns, Comix Zone, Congo Congo, Decap Attack, Ecco The Dolphin, Ecco 2, Ecco Jr., Eliminator, Flicky, Gain Ground, Golden Axe, Golden Axe II, Golden Axe III, Kid Chameleon, Phantasy Star II, Phantasy Star III, Phantasy Star IV, Ristar, Shadow Dancer, Shinobi III, Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Space Fury, Super Thunder Blade, Super Zaxxon, Sword of Vermillion, Vectorman, Vectorman 2, Virtua Fighter
SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1
If you’re interesting in turning your PSP into an instant 90’s arcade, SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 is pretty quick way to do it. All those high quality NeoGeo fighters (KOF 94), beat-em-ups (Sengoku), run-n-guns (Metal Slug) and shmups (Last Resort) are present making this one excellent sampler of just why SNK has been so highly revered by arcade enthusiasts.
Indeed the number of high-quality games makes this collection an excellent value. The four face button layout of the PSP certainly fares well for NeoGeo games, though the slowdown present in some of the titles can be a real letdown from an otherwise excellent collection.
Games Included: Art of Fighting, Baseball Stars 2, Burning Fight, Fatal Fury: King of the Fighters, King of the Monsters, Last Resort, Magician Lord, Metal Slug, Neo Turf Masters, Samurai Shodown, Sengoku, Shock Troopers, Super Sidekicks 3: The Next Glory, King of Fighters 94, Top Hunter: Roddy & Cathy, World Heroes
SNK Arcade Classics 0
This prequel to Arcade Classics was released in 2011, though sadly only got a physical release in Japan. In the US each game was made available on the PlayStation Network as a Mini. The tradeoff being that you can cherry-pick the PSN games on the cheap, and play them on both your PSP and PS3. Of course collectors will most likely opt to import this one and get all of the included titles at once. And an intriguing collection it is!
Rather than compile more high profile games, SNK has put together a resume outlining what got them to the top of the arcades. Games like Athena and Psycho Soldier will certainly trigger a bit of nostalgia for some, but the realization that these early games were sometimes embarrassingly bad paints a fascinating piece of history for SNK fanatics.
Games Included: Athena, Bermuda Triangle, Gold Medalist, Guerrilla War, HAL 21, Ikari Warriors, Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road, Ikari III: The Rescue, Marvin’s Maze, P.O.W., Prehistoric Isle in 1930, Psycho Soldier, Sasuke vs. Commander, Search and Rescue, Street Smart, Super Champion Baseball, TNK III, Touchdown Fever, Vanguard II
The PSP is never thought of as a major shoot-em-up platform, but in Japan it got plenty of shmup action. Much like Konami’s Portable lineup, Hudson’s Soldier Collection compiles all four PC Engine Soldier shooters into one nice little package.
This is another instance where all four individual titles have been released on the PlayStation Network with the option to play them either on PSP or PS3. But collectors will likely want to seek this out in its imported physical form. It’s certainly a good pick for fans of vertical shmups seeing as how the majority of the shooters released on PSP have been horizontal.
Games Included: Final Soldier, Soldier Blade, Star Parodier, Super Star Soldier
Taito Legends Power-Up
Taito’s Legends Power-Up is an intriguing mix. Though certainly recognizable games like Space Invaders and Elevator Action are no surprise, it’s impressive to see such a lineup of obscure games present. In many ways this UMD acts as a nice primer to Taito’s back catalog for the uninitiated.
Four of the more well-known games are present in updated ‘Deluxe’ form, which should be of interest to long-time fans. And a full game-share system allows sharing of full games to another PSP via ad hoc wireless. This is definitely a nice collection for those interested in exploring some games off the beaten path.
Games Included: Alpine Ski, Balloon Bomber, Balloon Bomber Deluxe, Cameltry, Cameltry Deluxe, Chack’n Pop, Crazy Balloon, Crazy Balloon Deluxe, Elevator Action, The Fairyland Story, Kiki Kaikai, Kuri Kinton, The Legend of Kage, Legend of Kage Deluxe, Lunar Rescue, The New Zealand Story, Phoenix, Qix, Raimais, Rastan Saga, Space Chaser, Space Dungeon, Space Invaders, Space Invaders Part 2
Yet another Japan-only collection of shmups. This one is focused on the vertical cute-em-ups known as TwinBee. Once again Konami does a great job of packaging four games of the series together with wonderful packaging and presentation.
Like the other UMD’s released as part of Konami’s Portable line, this one is easily obtainable through most import suppliers for a reasonable price — thanks in part to reissues under the Konami the Best budget banner. All three arcade ports look fantastic running under the PSP’s resolution, as does the SNES title Pop’n TwinBee.
Games Included: Bells & Whistles, Pop’n Twinbee, Twin Bee Yahho! Fushigi no Kuni de Daiabare!!, TwinBee