Midway Arcade Treasures Review

Midway Arcade Treasures is a collection disc with 24 classic arcade games from mostly the 80s and a couple 1990 offerings, the infancy of the videogame/arcade game revolution. Let’s talk about the games included here. Here’s the list:

  • 720°
  • Blaster
  • Bubbles
  • Defender
  • Defender II
  • Gauntlet (1-4 players)
  • Joust
  • Joust 2
  • KLAX
  • Marble Madness
  • Paperboy
  • Rampage (1-3 players)
  • Rampart (1-3 players)
  • Roadblasters
  • Robotron 2084
  • Root Beer Tapper
  • Satan’s Hollow
  • Sinistar
  • Smash TV
  • SPLAT!
  • Spy Hunter
  • Super Sprint (1-3 players)
  • Toobin’
  • Vindicators

I played most of those in the arcade and have neither played or even heard of Satan’s Hollow, SPLAT!, Bubbles or Blaster. There is a literal ton of quarters I dropped in a bunch of these games (Smash TV would probably be the biggest quarter muncher from me on this list) back in the day and it was quite cool to play these again. Plus they’ve added in a lot of history behind many of these games and even have some videos of the people behind them explaining how they went about creating these games.

Much like my recent PacMan vs. review, I will not be scoring this game on the Graphics section because these are old school arcade games that have not gotten an update in graphics or anything.

These are absolutely perfect emulations of the original arcade games. I really honed in on some of my favorite games: Gauntlet, Joust, Marble Madness, Paperboy, Smash TV and Super Sprint. I found no slowdown or graphical oddities from how I remember playing them back in the arcade. This collection should not be judged on its graphics, in many cases some of these games are close to or over 20 years old. Rampart and Smash TV are the newest games I believe and they came out in 1990.

The sound is exactly the same as I remember from playing the arcade games back in the day. Gauntlet and Smash TV were the two I really honed in on here. The former had the ever famous narrator saying things like, “Warrior needs food badly” as well as other things. The narrator sounded pretty darn clean for an old game. In Smash TV the announcer had the same sort of static-filled voice as he had in the arcade. “Big money…big prizes…I love it!” is just a line I will never forget. If you can’t tell already I am a huge Smash TV/Robotron fan.

Overall the controls are pretty spot on with a lot of tight controls on many games (Defender, Defender II, Robotron 2084, Smash TV, Super Sprint, etc.), but there were two of my favorite games in particular that didn’t seem to control so well. One has no control over the poor control while the other one I was a bit surprised about. The first one is Marble Madness. The original arcade game came with two rollers for each player that you rolled around ala the modern day Golden Tee golf games you find in bars. The analog control on the Xbox just does not give the same feel and you will often find yourself falling right off the path because you don’t have full control over speed and inertia like you do with the roller from the arcade original.

The second one is Gauntlet. The controls just didn’t feel tight for some reason and the buttons didn’t seem to react as quickly as they should. If you’re playing this game with just one person it can get pretty difficult, but I remember holding my own in the arcade with just me playing. Playing this game on the Xbox though is a whole different ballgame where it doesn’t seem as easy to aim diagonally as I remember in the arcade game. Obviously this is a great game for multiple players, which is supported.

Overall control is pretty tight on these games though and reproduce the same feel I had in the arcade.

If you’re at all into thinking back to your younger years where you played arcade games at the local arcade, this collection is a pretty darn good one. The beauty about many of these games is that they really have unlimited playing opportunity. What this means is that many of the games just don’t have an end to them, you just keep playing until you get tired of it. Yes, some games end like Smash TV, but it’s simply a fun and wild ride for the most part.

Speaking of Smash TV, it is probably my favorite game presented here. I honestly don’t think there has ever been another game since that has so much blood and carnage as Smash TV, not even something like the Grand Theft Auto series has as much blood as this game. Built upon the Robotron 2084 control system and fused with an overall The Running Man (the movie with Arnold, Richard Dawson and Jesse Ventura) feel. In one of the movies that accompany the history of Smash TV, the co-creator of it says that he can beat the game in one quarter, but that the snake boss is the hardest because its movements are so random. That man is amazing if he can get through that whole game in one quarter by himself…wow.

I can easily see myself playing this disc from time to time just to remember back to how many quarters I pumped into many of these games. Midway has really created a good range of arcade games and I was so young when playing most of these games (for example I was 4 when Defender came out) that I don’t remember what big games Midway might have not included in this collection. A special added bonus to the Xbox version is the ability to put your top scores on Live since there is no way to save your scores onto the Xbox Hard Drive that I have seen.

This section really depends on whether there are games on this $19.99 collection that you want to play again or not. There are some big hitters in this collection and I have a hard time imagining that people wouldn’t want to play some of these again. Your mileage may vary though on this, but I know I will be coming back to this disc again and again when I need a break from the newer generation of games.

There are also some very interesting video interviews and textual history on some of these classic games. Midway really made this collection feel like a whole experience, almost like DVD movie extras. I can only imagine the amount of time it took to get ahold of these videos, storyboards, etc. from the games. I think these things just add to the value, especially those that want to get a behind the scenes look at the creation of some of these games.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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