(GameCube)

Game Review

Midway Arcade Treasures 2 Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Sean Aaron

This time the spotlight is on Midway's glory days

Whilst the first Arcade Treasures collection was firmly focused on the Williams catalogue, this second collection is all about the Bally Midway and Midway brands featuring games spanning the mid to late 1980s and 1990s, with a handful of Williams and Atari Games titles for good measure.

This collection has a much prettier interface than the first Arcade Treasures, although the flashy transitional animations can make switching between extras, control configuration and game settings a bit tedious. There are fewer video extras than on the first collection, though it's nice that every game has promotional flyers to view and a short write-up with release information, production credits, history and trivia.

There's broad genre coverage on offer this time around with sports titles Arch Rivals (the inspiration for the NBA Jam series) and Cyberball 2072; fighters featuring Mortal Kombat 2 & 3, Primal Rage and Pit Fighter; driving games Championship Sprint, APB, Hard Drivin' and Spy Hunter 2 and loads more. The rest of the list is a smattering of action games, brawlers and games that defy categorisation and include some gems from the time when arcades were well and truly on the way out: Total Carnage, NARC, Gauntlet II, Kozmik Kroozr, Wacko, Timber, Rampage World Tour, Wizard of Wor, Xenophobe and Xybots. The emulation/porting is largely excellent, though disappointingly Wizard of Wor suffers from poorly implemented samples and a difficulty setting which is too high and cannot be changed.

As with the first game you can customise controls to your heart's content, and there are fewer control issues overall. Wacko's substitution of a left analogue stick for the gimmicky trackball of the arcade has a natural feel and the driving games work well with the control stick, although Championship Sprint would still be better with the big wheel of the arcade. Certain characters or colours are mapped to specific controller ports in Gauntlet II, Xenophobe and Rampage World Tour, so you'll need to move your controller cable about or have mutiple controllers connected for those games, but this is the way it was in the arcades so don't complain! People wanting to use Classic Controllers should note that the loading process after launching a game results in a loss of controller detection; when prompted you'll need to unplug the controller from the adapter and reconnect it. Note also the number of lives and score required for bonuses can be customised or set collectively to either default or "hardcore" if you don't want to muck about with the finer details.

The biggest criticism of this collection would be the selection of titles. Whilst there are a lot of excellent games here there are fewer of them overall, and some genuinely good games have been left off in favour of absolute turkeys. Spy Hunter 2 is the totally forgettable sequel to Spy Hunter, and something it's unlikely many gamers will have laid eyes on - it's more noteworthy for the fact it wasn't canned before being released than anything else, thanks to poor graphics and worse gameplay. Hard Drivin' earns a page in the history books for being the first polygon-based driving game and offing the option of a clutch-operated manual transmission, but it was more of a tech demo than a game when first released and certainly isn't worth playing today. The same is true of Pit Fighter, another ground-breaking Atari Games title which used digitised actors before Midway's Mortal Kombat, but is vastly inferior in both graphics and gameplay outside of the novelty of supporting three players. And then there's Championship Sprint which seems a bit redundant given it's nearly identical to Super Sprint which we already had on Arcade Treasures 1 - there's even a video extra explaining the differences between the two as if it were recognised that its inclusion needed to be justified!

By contrast the list of games that didn't make the cut is a bit surprising. If you're going to include oddball titles like Wacko and Timber, why leave out Domino Man which was a great, quirky game produced by the same team? Since the inclusion of violent pioneers like Williams' NARC and Midway's Mortal Kombat 2 & 3 has garnered this collection a "Mature" rating, why not the original Budweiser-themed Tapper? In fact, why isn't the original Mortal Kombat included? Given Buena Vista interactive licensed Tron and Tron Deadly Discs for emulation on their GBA title Tron 2.0: Killer App (kudos to Digital Eclipse for the excellent job on those two), why didn't Midway negotiate a quid pro quo to include them in this collection as well? There's a whole slew of other Atari and Midway titles that also deserved consideration: I, Robot (first polygon-based arcade game), Peter Pack Rat, Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters, Strike Force, Food Fight, Omega Race, Sarge, Skull & Crossbones and Trog to name a few.

It bears repeating that Midway decided not to favour anyone but North America with the Arcade Treasures series on Gamecube. Would-be importers should note that this collection launches the included games differently from the first Arcade Treasures volume and software-based freeloaders haven't been found to work properly with it.

Conclusion

Whilst this collection has a few more misses (and omissions) than the first entry in the series there's still enough quality games from the 80s and 90s on offer that fans of classic arcade games should find plenty to enjoy. We live in hope that Midway's new owners, Warner Interactive, will see fit to reissue these and other bygone arcade games for the Wii in the future.

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User Comments (25)

Sean_Aaron

#2

Sean_Aaron said:

I remember actually having a lot of fun with the Mega Drive port of Pit Fighter at a mate's house, but it's really just an awful game. The character jumps are hilarious since the sprites just hop without changing stance! Some purists have commented in other reviews that there's sound issues with other games like Wacko, but honestly I couldn't tell the difference. Wizard of Wor is one of my all-time favourite Midway games (I loved the CBS Electronics port on the Atari 2600) and that one really disappoints me, so if you've played this and have some gripes about any of the other games on here let 'em out!

JamieOStaff

#3

JamieO said:

This is my favourite of the Midway Arcade Treasures collections, it really captures their arcade games from the early '90s, which was when I was going nuts for arcade conversions. These compilations set the standard for emulating loads of arcade games on one disc (except for the paltry 8 racing games on Midway Arcade Treasures 3).
Total Carnage is my pick of the bunch, even if the backgrounds do get repetitive and Gauntlet II & Rampage World Tour are fun in multiplayer.
I play Pit Fighter as well, it is poor by today's standards, but its digitised characters were a big deal back in the day. The music in Primal Rage sounds really glitchy on my disc, but it may have been like that in the original arcade.
I never took to Mortal Kombat, like I did Street Fighter II, but it is cool to have number 2 & 3.
A great collection and a great review, cheers Sean. :)

odd69

#4

odd69 said:

I own this title and i must say i will never get rid of it!!1

Chunky_Droid

#5

Chunky_Droid said:

I was so gonna get this when you mentioned Wizard of Wor, but then a few lines later and my hopes and dreams were crushed :(

Rawk_Hawk

#6

Rawk_Hawk said:

The original Mortal Kombat was orginally supposed to be part of this collection, but it was pulled before release so it could be included as an unlockable Mortal Kombat Deception. So if you want the arcade perfect version of MK go find MK Deception. I really enjoyed both Midway Arcade treasure 1 and 2, but Treasures 3 started to get pretty bad.

Betagam7

#7

Betagam7 said:

Wouldn't the "Budweiser themed" Tapper be more of a licencing issue than a "mature" one?

Sean_Aaron

#8

Sean_Aaron said:

Good call Betagam7, though I wasn't seriously saying it should be there, rather that it would be more worthwhile than another Super Sprint game.

@chunky_droid: yeah that was a pretty bitter pill. The sound effects are legit, but they're misused with musical cues in the wrong spot or getting cut off prematurely. The difficulty is the biggest problem though. The Burwors accelerate to ludicrous speeds within a few seconds of starting the 2nd stage -- it's basically like the game went from stage 1 to stage 10 in one leap! Even if you go for five lives you're probably not going to be able to play much of a game. MAME it is until someone at TWI decides to dip into the well again...

JayArr

#9

JayArr said:

Oh lord. I forgot all about Pit Fighter. Nice review Sean. I may pick this up for nostagia sake.

cheetahman91

#10

cheetahman91 said:

I've only owned the first one and it was fun. The only game I've played that is on this collection is NARC, and it was fun.

The_Fox

#11

The_Fox said:

Total Carnage and NARC make this worth the buy, without even worrying about the others.
And Pit Fighter is one of my "so terrible it's funny" guilty pleasures.

Ricardo91

#12

Ricardo91 said:

I never got this, despite loving the first one, simply cuz most of the games didn't interest me at all. Though I might pick it up someday for Rampage: World Tour...

WanderFan91

#15

WanderFan91 said:

No one's mentioned Timber. I think it's time I made a thoughtbox for it in the Retro section. [Just not right now]

DarkEdi

#16

DarkEdi said:

I liked this compilation, but i miss MK I. I have MK Deception, how do you unlock the first MK?

Sean_Aaron

#17

Sean_Aaron said:

I love Timber and Domino Man, which is why it sucks it's not on here. I like Timber so much that lumberjack party game looks like it could be cool...

Rawk_Hawk

#18

Rawk_Hawk said:

@ Dark Edi

There was a Mortal Kombat Decption Premium pack which featured the original emulated game. It is a shame they did not include it on Midway treasures though. I don't have the game so I'm not sure how it's unlocked. Although MK 2 and 3 make this collection worth it.

WanderFan91

#19

WanderFan91 said:

Oh, my God! I've completely forgotten about Domino Man!!! I loved that game too, I played it many times when I still had my MAME32 CD not lost. :) Man, I miss it so much. :(

Superman

#20

Superman said:

This was probably the best anthology game I've ever played. It's really a lot of fun.

WanderFan91

#21

WanderFan91 said:

@Sean - I noticed on your review that you mentioned Budweiser Tapper (another good game). I think I can guess as to why it has not appeared here: and it's not because of the alcohol content, but because in the original Midway Arcade Treasures there was Root Beer Tapper, which is a good adaptation of that same game. I honestly can't imagine two compilations in a row having that one same game. That would just be crazy.
Otherwise, Tapper was a good time.

KingMike

#22

KingMike said:

One thing I had to comment on.
The review mentions using Classic Controllers.
Unless you meant Wavebirds, I didn't know you could use CC to play GC games, as I thought the Wii Remote would deactivate after loading a GC game?

WanderFan91

#23

WanderFan91 said:

You can use Classic Controllers to play GameCube games? :O I could've played Mega Man X on Mega Man X Collection with a Classic Controller all along??

#24

said:

I agree with Superman, this was pretty great. I just wish it had the first Mortal Kombat on it.

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