These days it's chic to re-release your classic games in a big compilation disc (or cartridge), but that wasn't the case 15 years ago. Back when Arcade Smash Hits came out the idea of compiling your greatest hits was a foreign idea; most of these companies would rather sell them the titles individually than in one big set (which is demonstrated by the dozens of releases of the original Pac-Man over the years). But Arcade Smash Hits bucks that trend and gives you three classic arcade games on one Master System cartridge.
You get Centipede, Breakout and Missile Command; all games released a good decade before Arcade Smash Hits. On paper this cartridge seems like a good idea, these three games represented a simpler time where all you had to do was beat your old score and you'd be happy. While these titles might not have been for everybody, all of them were genuine hits when they were released. So why not release a collection like this?
Problems start when you actually play these three games. Instead of releasing arcade-exact ports of these games we get half-assed versions of each of the titles. Sega has gone ahead and updated the looks a little, but also tweaked the controls in such a way that it's almost impossible to enjoy these remakes. At best the versions of these arcade hits is no better than a weekend project by a first year programming student. Each game looks like the original from a distance, but when you get up close you start to see that these games were developed from memory. If you're looking for the real versions of these games then you best be looking elsewhere.
And not to take anything away from Centipede or Missile Command, but these are hardly the biggest (or best) arcade hits of the time. Where's Pac-Man? Where's Tempest? Where are all of the big titles? Breakout is fun and all, but it feels like Sega had to scrape the bottom of the barrel just to put a game together.
In the end Sega makes the tragic mistake of remaking these games instead of emulating the arcade version. These games look like the original titles, but they play nothing like you remember. Perhaps this was a sign of things to come, a decade later and Sega is still remaking games for compilations instead of just porting them. Arcade Smash Hits could have been fun, but it features the wrong Hits and terrible controls.