Atari Vault – Review
Follow Genre: Arcade, Retro
Developer: Code Mystics
Publisher: Atari
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Atari Vault – Review

Site Score
Good: Blast from the past, Arcade cabinets, Leaderboards
Bad: Controls, Lacks a few titles to truly make it the Atari Vault, No proper multiplayer
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Nowadays Atari is all but forgotten, especially due to the fact that the games they published over the last years often received lukewarm reviews or were simply destroyed by critics. It was not always this way for Atari, as they used to have many fun franchises, but after the Atari Jaguar flopped horribly, it seemed irreparable damage was done to the once big company. Those who still remember the days they paved the way for our home consoles might enjoy the following title, as it’s all about the original Atari arcade (cabinet) games and many of the popular Atari 2600 titles. Given that Atari Vault is a compilation of 100 different retro games, we will not discuss every game individually.

Atari Vault

While the name Atari Vault might suggest they took their most prized games from the vault, letting us relive the joyous moments of their glory days once again, for the most part this presumption is correct, if you’re a fan of their oldest games, that is. You’ll be treated to both games that could be found in the arcade halls in the seventies and eighties, and their Atari 2600 counterparts and other titles exclusive to the home console.

It’s clear that an effort was put into keeping things authentic, as the arcade games are represented in the menu by their detailed arcade cabinet, while the 2600 titles have their original box design that immediately will make an older audience feel rather nostalgic. Even the original manuals seem to have been scanned, making it feel like you’re owning the real thing, rather than the emulated digital versions that have been crammed into this compilation. Sadly, these manuals are scanned in a rather low resolution, making them sometimes rather hard to actually read properly.

Another item that has become quite obvious when truly seeing the arcade and the home console games next to one another is that the arcade version had a lot better graphics and felt a lot smoother in more ways than one. While the arcade games haven’t lost their charm, the 2600 games would have felt rather dated if it weren’t for the graphical upgrades that were implemented. The colors are a lot brighter than they used to be and the flickering many of the games suffered from has completely been removed, making sure things look rather crisp. That being said, as the Atari 2600 games are truly ‘back to basics’, you’ll have to have an affinity for retro games, otherwise you still won’t like these updated versions. All of that being said, there’s one issue that could have easily been avoided, namely all games have a frame around them, meaning you’ll never get a ‘full screen’ experience. In this day and age, one would expect games that are older than thirty years to be played full screen.

Atari Vault 1

Seeing most of these games originally worked with a controller that only had one or two buttons, the control schemes are often relatively simple, having you either opt between the keyboard, gamepad or even mouse controls. While using a gamepad is one of the main options of the game, it feels like the controls haven’t been properly programmed in case you actually plug in a controller. You’ll have to set up the sensitivity for pretty much all of the games individually, if you want to have a proper gaming experience, and even then it’s often best to simply stick with the keyboard controls, except for a set amount of games. Sadly, while the controls were supposed to be something rather simple, they are often not properly explained as the action button is often called ‘fire’ in the options and for games like Sky Diver it simply doesn’t do anything (After some trial and error, we were able to conclude the action button did not perform the action, but one of the directional buttons did). Either these games that are supposed to have only one action button actually have more than one, or they are simply broken and in urgent need of repair. Also, the options have to be overhauled with actual decent documentation of what button serves what purpose for each of the games, instead of simply naming them up, left, right, down and fire, while in reality it could be, jump, open parachute and direction.

All of the above can be said for the ‘two player’ mode which is sometimes recommended when starting an offline game. For some reason, the controller, the keyboard and/or mouse all control the actions of the first player, making it quite hard to play a two player game, solo. Online games are also a thing, but so far we haven’t been able to actually find a hosted game, or have anyone join ours.

Atari Vault 2

Leaderboards have been implemented for the arcade games, adding a certain edge and sense of competition to the equation. In reality it also feels like the arcade games received the most attention when it comes to porting these games, making the 2600 games feel a bit like ‘extra content’, if you’re done trying to beat the other players that are striving for the highest rank. All of the games have some options you can mess around with, a.k.a. the different modes and so on we used to get when buying the original cartridges.

The overall package proves to be a fun compilation and it includes many of the classic titles, but also lacks a few, that would have been great to see on here. It would also have been nice if Atari showed some love to games from their more recent consoles, like the Atari 5200, Atari 7800 or even the Atari Jaguar, which had a few great titles. While this is only a minor remark, it’s not truly the Atari Vault when some items are clearly swept under the rug, for no apparent reason.


Atari Vault is a welcome trip down memory lane, but it does have a few flaws, especially when it comes to the controls of many of the titles featured in this collection. That being said, those who love retro games or used to own the original home console will be able to have some fun with this release, and with some patches and small improvements things could truly become an authentic Atari experience.

Atari Vault 4

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Atari Vault - Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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