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March 6, 2004
Midway Arcade Treasures - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
6/2/2004Red AntMidway/
Digital Eclipse
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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Smash TV - one of the later games.
How many of you were born in the 1970ís? If, like me, you were and you spent a large amount of time, and money, in the arcades then this may be a game (or compilation of games) for you. Midway Arcade Treasures, which has been released at the extremely generous price of $AU39.95, includes over twenty of the most popular arcade games from the 1980ís including the likes of Robotron 2084 and its younger cousin, Smash TV, puzzle game Klax, paper delivery game Paperboy, and shooters Defender and sequel Defender II. If those games bring back fond memories then this is almost certainly a game for you.

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Monkey business - Rampage.
This review is a little different from others in that I am going to start with the negative aspects of this before moving onto the positives. The first question that comes to mind when you start this game is why the Egyptian themed interface? OK... historic, treasures, but how about a better (and more appropriate) interface with arcade cabinets, and one where the games can be identified not by cryptic symbols and views of the game loading and running in a window where the title may take a minute to appear leaving you waiting.

Another niggle (and this doesn't affect the gameplay at all) is that there is no dates on the video interviews. At one point during the interviews for Smash TV Mark Turmell mentions that they are considering making a sequel. Given that Midway effectively shut their arcade business down some years ago it leaves you asking the question if they are talking about consoles (which they are not). Whatís worse is that the video interviews and trivia about the game is accessed via the square button rather then the X button which starts the game. It would have been more user friendly to create a sub-menu to play the game or access historical information on a single page.

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Defender... all time classic.
Finally, the load times of the disc are quite average. Given that most of these games are no more then one megabyte in size (some are under 100kb), it amazes me that it can take even a few seconds to load. The actual delay between menus is more annoying with the game taking a couple of seconds to load each section. Finally the controller, while doing it's best can't emulate all the arcade control configurations which, in some games, makes gameplay somewhat less enjoyable then it should be.

OK fine, thatís the negatives out of the way, now the positives Ė and there are quite a few. The biggest is that it includes some of the biggest games ever seen in the arcades (and some that werenít so big). Some games such as Paperboy, Smash TV and Defender will be known to most gamers thanks to home console versions however the compilation also contains other gems such as Root Beer Tapper which is so addictive it will take away hours of your life. The games are identical to the arcade versions due to emulation of each title.

As mentioned each title has some history and video interviews which help detail some of the background to the games. Although some more detail would have been nice (such as production runs, current arcade cabinet values and ensuring that all games have detailed histories) what is there is sometimes quite interesting, and factual.

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The original Spy Hunter.
Graphics are one area where you would expect this compilation to shine, and indeed the emulated games run perfectly as exact replicas of the original arcade games. Given that these games were running on processors perhaps 1/1000th the speed of todayís systems this is little surprise (although Smash TV has some scrolling hiccups which aren't in the XBox game apparently, but it doesn't affect the gameplay). What really lets this game down is the video interviews. These are highly compressed, low quality that makes the whole compilation look cheap. Sure these interviews may be old, but is it really that hard to get some developers to come back to re-do the interviews? Even the original VHS tape would provide much higher quality. Also, as previously mentioned the menu design could have done with a major change Ė itís hard to distinguish some games apart, especially until you learn what each symbol is.

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Paperboy, not as fun as remembered.
Sound in Midway Arcade Treasures is pretty much as you would expect from games of such an age. Plenty of beeps, squeaks and explosions while some of the newer games such as Smash TV have some digitized speech. It sound bad today but when the arcade games were released they were state of the art and are replicated here perfectly. The music of menus is pretty much forgettable.

Overall this compilation is certainly one which retro gamers will love. It's not quite up there with Activision Anthology in terms of extras content, but the games are just as good. Midway Arcade Treasures is certainly worth considering if only for Smash TV, Klax, Defender and, best of all, Root Beer Tapper.

Review By: David Warner

GRAPHICSAverage, not due to the games, but the horribly compressed interview.
SOUNDMenu music sucks, the in-game music is mostly bleeps as expected.
GAMEPLAYGreat variety in games, although some games controls aren't good.
VALUEOver twenty games, at least a dozen worth playing, average extras.
OVERALLMidway Arcade Treasures is a fantastic compilation that is cheapened by the menus and PSOne quality video interviews. Surely Midway should be treating classics better then this. Still the most important part, emulation of the classics, is perfect.

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