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Midway Arcade Treasures
Review By: Jared Black
 
Developer:  Digital Eclipse
Publisher:  Midway
# Of Players:  1-4
Genre:  Compilation
ESRB:  Teen
Online:  No
Accessories:  Memory Card, Multitap
Date Posted:  12-24-03

One genre thatís always been huge is the compilation.  Even before CD-ROMs were used for video games, compilations of older games did big business during the 8 and 16-bit years.  Some of these have been stellar with a large selection of games and excellent extras, while others have been weak with only a few games and limited extras.  Midway Arcade Treasures falls somewhere in the upper-middleÖgreat selection of perfectly emulated games, but a terrible package surrounding them.

As I said, no one can argue with the greatness of the games included in this package.  The full list includes:

  • 720į

  • Blaster

  • Bubbles

  • Defender

  • Defender II

  • Gauntlet

  • Joust

  • Joust 2

  • Klax

  • Marble Madness

  • Paperboy

  • Rampage

  • Rampart

  • RoadBlasters

  • Robotron 2084

  • Root Beer Tapper

  • Satan's Hollow

  • Smash TV

  • Sinistar

  • Splat!

  • Spy Hunter

  • Super Sprint

  • Toobin'

  • Vindicators

Anyone who played those games originally knows that most of those are bonafide classics.  Splat! was never actually released, but is a decent game (although certainly not on the level of most others included here). The ones that arenít all have some redeeming qualitiesÖin their original form at least.  A few of these games just donít translate well to the PS2, due to the differences in controllers.  I never played Marble Madness in the arcade, but itís simply too hard to control on PS2.  Iím assuming it was much better with the original trackballs, given everything Iíve heard about the game.  The worst is Rampart, which I loved in its original form but is very hard to control with the PS2 controller.  A big part of that game is rebuilding the castle after each round of battle, but this is timed and itís difficult to place each Tetris-like piece exactly where it should go.  The result is that the player will often lose because they run out of time and donít get their castle rebuilt, even if normally itíd be easy to do.  On the whole though, the PS2 controller does an admirable job with most of these games.

So the games are awesome, but almost as important when repackaging old games is the presentation.  This is where this package falters.  The game selection screen uses a cryptic Egyptian-style tablet with icons to represent each game arranged in alphabetical order, making it hard to tell which game is which at first glance.  When an icon is highlighted an intro video is played in the middle of the tablet, but these often donít show the gameís name clearly or wait a few seconds to do so.  On top of that, the Egyptian motif is simply ugly and clashes with everything else.

The extras are mostly rehashes of those already found in past Midway compilations, and seem thrown on the disk haphazardly.  Theyíre all found in the History section, but the menu used to navigate them is clunky and interviews are heavily compressed and low quality.  Worse, almost none of the interviews provide more information than the guyís name.  They arenít dated, they donít tell what the person being interviewed worked on, and they donít provide any other information that would be good to know.  Iím fairly knowledgeable about the history of the industry, but I had trouble understanding why I should care about some of the people interviewed.  Other forms of extras include Trivia, Gallery, and general History information.  Like the interviews, these are only included for some games and not others with no way to tell which without actually going to the menu.  Those sections couldíve at least been grayed out or something if there was none available for that game.

Obviously sounds and graphics are totally dependent on the game being played, but in each case theyíre emulated almost perfectly.  The framerate stutters a bit in a couple newer games, but itís always playable and stable enough.  The only real problem with this game graphically is the ugly interface Midway decided to wrap it up in.

HIGHS:

  • 24 classic games for a mere $20.
  • Even if they are recycled, the interviews can be entertaining at times.  The other history information is good too, when itís included that is.
  • Several games support 3 or 4 players via multitap.

LOWS:

  • The interface is horrible.
  • The extras are mostly recycled, bare bones offerings.
  • The controls for a few games suffer on the PS2's controller.

FINAL VERDICT:

Honestly, Iíd buy this game if the menus were all text-based.  Despite the lacking extras and clunky menu layout, one just canít argue with 24 classics for $20.  Those of you looking for a history lesson might be disappointed, but those of you that just want to play some classics will be pleased.

Overall Score: 8.0

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