Review – Blizzard Arcade Collection

Blizzard is mostly known for their Warcraft, Overwatch and Diablo games, but honestly, I never particularly cared about any of these franchises. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate their importance, of course. The few games I have always enjoyed from Blizzard were titles like The Lost Vikings and, most importantly, Rock n’ Roll Racing, my favorite game from the 16-bit era of gaming as a whole. Lo and behold, in celebration the company’s 30th anniversary, they have decided to release a collection featuring their classic, pre-Diablo/Warcraft games into a single affordable package, the Blizzard Arcade Collection.

Blizzard Arcade Collection Rock n Roll Racing

The stage is set, the green flag drops!

The Blizzard Arcade Collection includes The Lost Vikings, Rock n’ Roll Racing, and Blackthorne. Three 16-bit titles in a $20 package? That’s Nintendo levels of greedy! Fear not, my dear reader. Blizzard may have only included three different titles in this collection, but there are multiple iterations of each title included in here. Rock n’ Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings feature both SNES and Mega Drive (or Genesis, for the heathens in North America) versions. Meanwhile, Blackthorne features both SNES and Sega 32X versions. Furthermore, each title features a “Definitive Edition”, which is basically a brand-new remastered build created by Blizzard themselves, and those are easily the best games included in this collection.

The Definitive Edition of The Lost Vikings basically fuses the extra levels included in the Mega Drive version with the improved graphics and soundtrack from the SNES version. The Blackthorne build follows the same principle. The real kicker, however, is the Definitive Edition of Rock n’ Roll Racing, which, by itself, is enough of a reason for you to consider purchasing the Blizzard Arcade Collection right away.

Blizzard Arcade Collection Lost Vikings

Lost Vikings has aged remarkably well. Its soundtrack is full of bangers.

This version features a brand new 16:9 aspect ratio, massively improved visuals (while still retaining its classic 16-bit looks), a brand new UI, additional voice clips, and a brand new soundtrack. At first, I thought that messing with Rock n’ Roll Racing‘s iconic soundtrack was a risky ordeal, but once the game booted up, I started smiling from ear to ear.

Instead of the classic MIDI soundtrack (which can still be toggled on the main menu), the Definitive Edition of Rock n’ Roll Racing features actual rock songs included in the soundtrack. Not only does it feature iconic tunes from the 1993 original, such as George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone” and Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild“, but it also features some new tunes like Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law” and Rush’s “Red Barchetta“. I did not expect for these songs to be included in the setlist, but damn if I didn’t love that addition. It more than made up for the fact that Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” isn’t featured in any of the builds.

Blackthorne, a.k.a. “that game where you can shoot a shotgun without even looking at the enemy behind you”.

Besides the ten playable builds included in the collection (there is also a 4-player splitscreen version of Rock n’ Roll Racing), Blizzard Arcade Collection is packed with a ton of delicious extras. There is a sound test mode that lets you listen to any song included in Blackthorne and The Lost Vikings. There are loads of picture galleries, featuring original box art, manuals, Nintendo Power ads, and much more. Finally, there are loads of interviews with Blizzard’s old-school developers talking about the developmental process behind each of the three games included in the collection. Did you know that Rock n’ Roll Racing was originally going to be a ZZ Top licensed game? Well, now you know.

Do all games in the collection hold up? The majority does, without a doubt. There are very few builds I disliked in this collection. Blackthorne‘s sluggish gameplay did not age very well, but I can still appreciate what the devs were trying to do with the tried and true Prince of Persia/Flashback formula of the day. The worst game in the collection, without a doubt, is the Mega Drive version of Rock n’ Roll Racing. It looks dull, runs poorly, and its soundtrack is just downright terrible.

Rock n Roll Racing Definitive Edition. Worth the admission alone.

I was expecting for the Blizzard Arcade Collection to be a simple throwback to the company’s earlier days. However, I certainly wasn’t expecting to be overwhelmed with tons of extra content and brand-new Definitive Editions of each game included in the collection. This is a work of love, a fantastic tribute to one of the most iconic developers of the past thirty years and their iconic early titles. This is Rare Replay levels of excellent, one of the best retro collections you can find in the market. Honestly, the definitive edition of Rock n’ Roll Racing is worth the admission ticket alone!


Graphics: 7.5

Your typical remaster of classic 16-bit games, with great emulation and occasional framerate issues caused by hardware issues from back in the day. The definitive editions of each game included in the collection look and run much better than their original counterparts.

Gameplay: 9.0

Lost Vikings and Rock n’ Roll Racing have aged pretty well when it comes to their gameplay. Blackthorne, on the other hand, not so much…

Sound: 9.5

Lost Vikings‘ soundtrack is catchy as hell, Blackthorne‘s sound design is extremely atmospheric, Rock n’ Roll Racing‘s SNES soundtrack is iconic. Its definitive edition features actual licensed classic rock songs. The sound department just doesn’t get a 10 due to the Mega Drive version of Rock n’ Roll Racing sounding like absolute crap.

Fun Factor: 9.5

It would have already been a must-have of a collection had Blizzard simply ported the classic versions of each game included in here, but they took their time to craft definitive editions for each of the three games in the collection. The definitive edition of Rock n’ Roll Racing is worth the admission ticket alone.

Final Verdict: 9.0

Blizzard Arcade Collection is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Blizzard Arcade Collection was provided by the publisher.