Midway Arcade Treasures

Midway Arcade Treasures Coverart.png
Midway Arcade Treasures (2003 - PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube - Digital Eclipse & Midway Games) doesn't live up to the excitement it implies. It does pack enough uniqueness and nostalgia for its low price to merit a place in many collections. Compilations  should be held to different standards, and this one scrapes by as decent.

👌 Aesthetic
Its look and sound are mediocre. The aesthetics of the emulated games are true to the arcade originals and merit the passing grade. The presentation is unspectacular; the game-selection screen can be frustrating, but the histories, galleries, videos and trivia earns bonus points (though you'll only look at them once).

👌 Gameplay
Most of the games feel wrong on sixth-generation controllers; analog sticks and d-pads make poor joysticks. It would be worse if not for the impressive controller- and gameplay-options available, and the few titles that work well-enough with the d-pad. It's possible the games would work fine with arcade-stick controllers. Several titles still extremely fun with two players.

👌 Permanence
Arcade junkies and history buffs will see it on the shelf and feel pleasant nostalgia, even if they rarely take it down to play. Others will feel indifference. It'll always offer a quick, easy means of reliving the classics, and the overall emulation is sound enough

👌 Summary
It's cheap, the game selection is good, and everything else is just good enough.

I enjoyed older titles like Blaster, Robotron and Sinistar as impressively early demonstrations of unique shooter genres. Newer titles disappointed me with control challenges, like Rampart, RoadBlasters and Vindicators. Thankfully, Smash TV and Gauntlet work well-enough with the d-pad and buttons, single-handedly making the disc worthwhile. Overall, the issues may not frustrate veteran players and arcade stick owners.

Don't use this game to introduce newcomers to old arcade games, but it will temporarily satisfy a craving for the classics.

The Games
Here are the games present, as well as my quick feelings concerning how they play on this disc.

720° (1986): Hardest-to-control game here and it has a steep learning curve.
Blaster (1983): An interesting 1983 counterpart to the Star Wars arcade.
Bubbles (1983): Ugly, not-fun mid-point between Marble Madness and Pac-Man.
Defender (1980): Refined shooter for its time is well-emulated here.
Defender II/Stargate (1981): Had to make sure I wasn't still playing the original.
Gauntlet (1985): Great early blend of dungeon crawl, hack-and-slash, multi-directional shooting.
Joust (1982): Medieval aerial ostrich jousting and cooperative play needs no more description.
Joust 2 (1986): The same, but aesthetic improvements and a difficulty spike.
Klax (1989): Like Tetris or Columns without the charm and fun.
Marble Madness (1984): A weird-but-very-well-executed marble maze.
Paperboy (1984): Isometric paper delivery is way too hard with bad controls.
Rampage (1986): Not the worst way to enjoy this monster-building-destruction simulator.
Rampart (1990): Interesting strategy/puzzle/shooter is awkward to play here.
RoadBlasters (1987): A better Rad Racer with guns is regrettably difficult on standard controllers.
Robotron 2084 (1982): This early twin-stick shooter is a way-better Berzerk, and I love Berzerk.
Root Beer Tapper (1983): Weird rhythm/strategy meets action, and it plays well here.
Satan's Hollow (1982): Would be better if it were closer to Galaxian (1979) than Galaga (1981).
Sinistar (1982): Excellent multi-directional, open space shooter might be this disc's best.
Smash TV (1990): Despite some slow-down, I'd buy the disc for this twin-stick shooter alone.
SPLAT! (1982): Too much going on in a weird overhead shooter, and none of it is fun.
Spy Hunter (1983): OK combat-driver here is a big step down from its great sit-down cabinet.
Super Sprint (1986): Single-screen top-down racer is a charming precursor to Super Off-Road.
Toobin' (1988): Painfully repetitive controls meet weird concepts in an ugly almost-combat-racer.
Vindicators (1988): Always-tough tank controls (not just here) stain a fun run-and-gun.