Reviewed: January 6, 2006
Released: December 12, 2005
It seems Namco and Midway have a bet going on to see who can release the most retro-remakes on the most systems in a year, and if you are a gamer over 40 then you should be dancing in the streets, because we now have entire arcades in our living room and now in our pocket.
Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play packs 21 of your favorite arcade titles from the 80’s and beyond onto a single UMD and lets you take this portable arcade anywhere you have a few free minutes to save the galaxy or perfect that awesome fatality. And with the PSP wireless capabilities, you can now play most of these games while linked to others.
Check out this selection:
Chances are you have invested more than the purchase price of this title in the form of countless quarters and tokens on several of these games, so why not pick up this compilation and relive your misspent youth whenever you have time to whip out your PSP. You might even be able to beat your kids on some of these games.
I suppose I could actually do 21 mini reviews for each of the games in this collection, but chances are if you are interested enough to be reading this review then you already know about the games that make up this collection. Instead, I will recount a few of my observations from the past 20 hours of thumb-blistering gameplay.
The presentation for Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play is as basic as it gets. You have a DNA strand helix that scrolls up and down revealing game titles. Pick the one you want and after a short load you are transported back in time about 20 years.
The various games all offer their own unique style of gameplay and some of it works better than others when it comes to the PSP controls. Obviously, you’ll want the precision of the D-pad for inputing those complex combos into Mortal Kombat, while the analog pad works great for flying your giant ostrich around in Joust. Other games like Championship Spring just plain suck without the classic steering wheel from the arcade.
But as with any compilation, you have the games you really like and the ones you’ll never touch again after you play them a few times. It’s just like going to a real arcade, but they only have 21 machines and they never change.
Classics like Defender and Sinistar work great on the PSP and Wizard of Wor has been the primary focus of my PSP gaming for nearly a week now. I loved that game in the arcades and this is the perfect recreation, complete with robotic voice announcer.
Of course the main focus of this particular release is the multiplayer aspect or the “extended play”. You might have noticed that the multiplayer gamers heavily outnumber the single player titles. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t support any type of game sharing so anyone you want to join your Gauntlet party or tear down buildings in Rampage will need their own copy of the game.
By todays standards the graphics for the games in this collection are laughable, but for anyone who was playing these when it cost you a quarter, you will quickly realize that these are 100% authentic reproductions of the exact visuals from those games. But unlike the fuzzy CRT’s used back in the 80’s we now have a crisp LCD display that breathes new life into these graphics.
There are a few quirks, like some odd stretching in Xybots and having to play Toobin’ with your PSP at a 90-degree orientation, and some games like Defender that used to be awesome on a 25” TV just don’t scale down to the PSP and remain playable. Even so, dedicated old-school gamers will appreciate at least the chance to relive some of the glory days of gaming.
Again, much like the visuals, I’m scoring on authentic reproduction of the sound and music in these games. Every game has those distinct sound effects and quaint music, usually a few synthesized notes that repeat in a harmlessly annoying ditty. Keep in mind that most of these games were in the pre-MIDI days, so everything you hear is old school.
Assuming you have the desire to play any or all of these games then there is no end to the enjoyment and ultimate satisfaction you will have playing these classic titles on your PSP. It took me a good 10 hours of highly addicting gameplay to make it through all the games, and that counts getting hooked on a few of my personal favorites for multiple sessions.
The best thing about these games is that they are generally short, so you can pick up and play almost anytime, and if you find yourself doing exceptionally well and have to stop for awhile, the PSP sleep mode will keep your game fresh for you until you have a few more minutes to spare. This is portable gaming at its best.
The multiplayer modes will also give you some added enjoyment provided you can find some friends who have their own copy of the game. Nothing beats some four-player Gauntlet or three-player Rampage.
Admittedly, you can find and play a lot of these games anywhere these days. Similar compilations are already out for the big consoles and games like Joust can be downloaded to your cell phone. Even so, Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play is a fantastic and totally enjoyable trip down memory lane for any gamer over 40 and a valuable history lesson for anyone younger.
And speaking of younger gamers; don’t let that Mature rating keep you or your kids from enjoying this collection of vintage games. The only reason this is rated M is because of the three Mortal Kombat games, and digitized blood, spinal removals, and decapitations on a 5-inch screen are hardly life-scarring.
Now, if you’ll excuse me…”WARRIOR NEEDS FOOD!”