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February 27, 2006
Midway Arcade Treasures Extended Play - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
24/2/2006Red AntMidwayBackbone Ent.
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating
128KBMedium1-4M

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The classic skateboarding game, 720.
Midway has a great heritage when it comes to arcade games, and indeed if you were a gamer during the 1970's and 1980's in particular chances are you would have been hooked on more then one of their games. Over the last couple of years the company has developed three separate compilations on PS2, and now Midway Arcade Treasures is headed to the Playstation portable. This game includes over twenty fantastic titles spanning the years, but are the ports to Sony's handheld up to the task? Read on to find out...

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The game selection screen.
I guess the most important information you want is the games included on this compilation. They include; 720, Arch Rivals, Championship Sprint, Cyberball 2072, Defender, Gauntlet, Joust, Klax, Marble Madness, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II, Mortal Kombat 3, Paperboy, Rampage, Rampart, Sinistar, Spy Hunter, Toobin', Wizard of Wor, Xenophobe and Xybots. All-in-all this is a great compilation and while the Mortal Kombat games are thie highlight otehrs such as Gauntlet, Paperboy, Klax and Rampage are sure to generate quite a few smiles. As expected their emulation is pretty impressive, although there are some graphical issues which I'll raise in a moment.

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The classic skateboarding game, 720.
With most PSP games the developers have included Wi-Fi gameplay and while no one I know has a a copy of the game to test as yet we confirm that all the multi-player action takes place over Wi-Fi with up to 4-players in Gauntlet and most other games having 1 or 2-player support - including the highlights of the package, the first three Mortal Kombat titles.

One of the biggest problems with this compilation is the loading which seems to happen all too frequently, and given that your could probably jam half the games into RAM upon the initial load, and then only have to load some of the newer, and bigger games such as Mortal Kombat when selected, it's disappointing. I also found that, at times, the controls weren't as responsive as one would expect the games occasionally not responding to your commands.

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The screen can be flipped in Toobin'.
Given the strength of the PS2 games I was expecting some pretty spectacular results on the PSP. Unfortunately I was bitterly dismayed. Most of the games have been stretched to fit the screen, and while the screen is, as always, gorgeous it gives the games a stretched appearance. To add insult to injury there is no option to return the images back to their original 4:3 ratio. At least the American version of Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play allows you to pause a game, hold the Left trigger and press square to return the image to a 4:3 aspect ratio - we don't even have that option in the European version.

If the image isn't stretched then as is the case with Mortal Kombat the game is played in a smaller window. Now I'm not just talking about the borders on the left and right of the screen to bring it closer to a 4:3 ratio, but the game includes borders on the top and bottom of the screen. Fortunately for the most part the emulation is good with smooth gameplay, although some of the newer games such as Mortal Kombat 3 seem to drop some frames to retain the speed. Sadly while the PS2 games had some terrible quality video interviews the PSP game has none at all.

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MK3 is 4:3, not actually 16:9 as seen.
Audio in the game is also extremely disappointing. The PSP has never set benchmarks in terms of quality, and the speakers barely do the task, but the emulated games also seem to lack some of the quality of their original counterparts - then again it may have been my own perception of differences between the speakers on the PSP, and my theatre setup.

I'm sorry to report that Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play is a disappointing title on a number of levels. Not only does the compilation lack the games of the PS2 titles, but the emulation is less then perfect. There's no excuse for mediocre ports of decade old games on the latest technology. Even with a price of only $49.95 you'll have to be very keen on many of these titles to hand over the cash for this compilation with Namco Museum Battle Collection still the best PSP retro compilation.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSWhile the emulation is ok, the image stretch is not. Needed options
56%
SOUNDIn-game audio is mostly bleeps as expected, reduced quality as well.
60%
GAMEPLAY21 games in total, of varying quality and interest. Still fun.
75%
VALUENot bad value at $49.95 and one which retro gamers should consider.
60%
OVERALLMidway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play is a solid compilation that just feels like a rushed port job. There's no extras, no option to return graphics to the original ratio and sub standard audio. Still, retro gamers should probably check this out at a discounted price.
60%

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