Are you ready for a blast from the past? Well, then place the Midway Arcade Treasures disc in your PlayStation 2 and get ready to relive or experience for the first time, some of the best Midway arcade games from the 80s. Spy Hunter, Defender, Gauntlet, Joust, Paperboy, Rampage, Marble Madness, Robotron 2084, Smash TV, Joust 2, Bubbles, RoadBlasters, Stargate (Defender II), Blaster, Rampart, Sinistar, Super Sprint, 720, Toobin’, KLAX, SPLAT!, Satan’s Hollow, Vindicators, and Root Beer Tapper are all waiting for you in this compilation disc of 24 classic Midway arcade games. Also, included on the disc are interviews, trivia, image galleries, and the history of the games. Midway Arcade Treasures packs a decent amount of games into one DVD-ROM at an affordable price but is it worth the price of admission?When I received the Midway Arcade Treasures game I was pretty excited to try some of my favorite arcade games from back in the day once again. I spent a decent amount of money on these games in the arcades back in the 80s and had a lot of fun doing it. So, when I saw them all on one disc I thought it would be great. It was for a little while but then I realized that video games have come a long way since Defender and Joust hit the scene. Games like Paperboy, Marble Madness, Gauntlet, and Spy Hunter were great games back then but playing them on my PlayStation 2 with unlimited continues and the 80s graphics just wasn’t then same anymore.
There were a few standouts on the disc that still kind of held there own compared to modern games, namely 720, Toobin’, and Smash TV. These games have the best graphics and sound but they still are not arcade perfect and having unlimited continues kind of takes away their challenge.
720, Midways skateboarding arcade game from 1986, had a special joystick designed for it that leaned to the side so you could spin it to pull off 720s and other tricks. Using the PlayStation 2 controller just wasn’t the same and it was hard to even pull off a 540 let alone a 720. But, 720 is one of the first skateboarding games and if it wasn’t for it and California Games we may not have Tony Hawk’s Underground today. 720 was fun to play again and I really liked it back when I played it in the arcades but without the special joystick I really couldn’t get into it as much.
Toobin’, a floating down the river on an innertube action game from 1988, was hard in the arcade because if you died you had to pump another quarter into the machine to continue. But, now at home you can just hit continue and keep going taking away all the challenge and fun. I like Toobin’ and it is still fun to play but without losing money every time you continue it kind of gets boring quickly.
Smash TV, an action shooter game from 1990 that places you in a game show where you win money by killing people, was pretty close to the arcade experience. The dual analog sticks of the PS2 Dual Shock 2 controller worked well but they aren’t as precise as dual digital joysticks that were on the arcade machine. Also, I noticed some slowdown in some of the areas in the game and the unlimited continues hurts this game too. Smash TV still offers shooter game fans a lot of action and big money and big prizes and it is probably the best game on the disc in my opinion.
Most of the other games on the disc are arcade perfect and fun to play for a little while, but I don’t see anyone except for the diehard old school arcade game lover playing any of them for more than an hour each at the most. Rampage, Gauntlet, and Smash TV are cool multiplayer games and my brother and I spent some time going down memory lane with them. It didn’t last too long though, since we wanted to get back to playing one of the next generation multiplayer games that take advantage of the PlayStation 2’s CPU and graphics chip.
The controls in most of the games were pretty good or as good as could be expects, since some of the games had special control schemes in the arcade that just couldn’t be reproduced on the PlayStation 2. Midway was not going to bring out a bicycle handlebar controller for Paperboy, a rollerball for Rampart, an angled joystick for 720, and a free spinning steering wheel for Super Sprint. It would be great to see some of these for home use but I don’t think we should hold our breath.
The sound and graphics in the games seemed arcade perfect but that is not saying much and I would have been disappointed if it wasn’t. None of these games use super high tech graphics or the latest Dolby Surround sound, so the PlayStation 2 should not have any problems reproducing the graphics, music, and sound effects and I didn’t notice any while I was playing except for the slowdown in Smash TV.
The other part of the disc that I was excited about was the in History mode that included interviews, trivia, image galleries, and information about the history of the games. I thought it would be interesting to learn about how these arcade classics were developed and to see images of the machines and development units from back in the 1980s.
Well, you get some of that for some of the games but don’t expect much. If I am not mistaken all of the games have at least an image gallery but most of them are made up of blurry low resolution images that are hard to see and zooming in doesn’t really help. If the game has some history then it is written in really big fonts and doesn’t have as much info as I would have liked. The interviews are few and most of them are short clips that look like they were made with someone’s camcorder back in the late 90s. The videos really have a home movie feel to them which is sad. The trivia section is also available for a few games but they could have just as easily left this section out and added the content to the interviews or history sections.
I would have liked the History area for each game to be rich with content and have high quality images and videos that were recorded over the past year with the original developers. If the video was DVD quality and maybe 15 to 20 minutes long for each game that would have been great. They could have even taken out the game information, trivia, and image gallery section and just had a video for each game that showed images and told about the game while showing in-game footage or the arcade cabinet and then led into a short interview with the developers. This would have made the history section feel like it was a major part of the game instead of feeling like it was added at the last minute. It almost feels like the History section was supposed to be better but the developers ran out of time so they put blank pages for the games they didn’t have done and left it at that.
The last complaint I have about the game is the interface for choosing the games and history. Midway decide to use an Egyptian pyramid theme with hieroglyphics for each game that you have to move to in order to choose the game to play or see history about. This menu system seems really awkward and it would’ve been a lot better if it was just a plain menu or some type of 3D arcade experience instead of a wall of symbols to choose from. This also seems rushed and adds to the unfinished feel of this game.
Midway Arcade Treasures was a fun trip down memory lane for a little while but I don’t know how often I will go back to it. I have so many other great PlayStation 2 games I want to play and spending my time playing games from the 80s is not that high on my list. If you really liked these games back in the 1980s then it is at least worth a rental to relive the classic days of video games. If you have never played these games before then you might enjoy experiencing them for the first time but don’t expect killer sound and graphics. These games were groundbreaking back in the day and a lot of the current games we play got there starts here, but now these games seem dated. It was cool that Midway released this compilation disc for all of us to take a trip down memory lane but I think it could have been a lot better if they would have include more history about each game and made the interface for choosing the games easier to navigate. So, if you are in the mood for some classic arcade fun then Midway Arcade Treasures is just the ticket just don’t expect to be entertained as long as with these games as you used to be.
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