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Review: Kickin' it old school with 'Midway Arcade Origins'
"...a terrific port that keeps the retro flame burning bright." - Warp Pipe
In the 1980s, arcade cabinets stood proudly side-by-side in dark rooms, collectively chirping out digital soundtracks and static noise like a bird's nest of newborns calling for their first meal of the day. On their menu was our quarters, and at arcades across the country those coins were spent as pockets regularly emptied on classics such as Rampage, Spy Hunter, Joust and Root Beer Tapper.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment helps bring more than 30 of Midway's retro arcade hits to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 home console. No Delorean or flux-capacitor needed, these games are all available out of the box with an easy to navigate menu that displays each title's beautiful arcade cabinet. Although these games are direct ports, each are given the HD treatment making some of the original colors pop just a bit more and the sound burst through your speakers a lot like they did in 80s arcade rooms. One problem with this is that some sound effects are more static hisses and bursts. But this is a recreation of its presentation with no HD updates. There is no Special Editions of games like Arch Rivals and Hayden Christensen doesn't appear at the end of the game in spirit form for Brawl State.
Basic gameplay handles well on controllers but I strongly suggest using a gamepad with an arcade stick since each game stays true to its cabinet roots.
I feel like those wooden cabinets are greatly underappreciated these days because technology is progressively getting reduced in size as it finds ways to outdo itself. Pitfighter is one of those games I fondly remember, prominently featured in 'Midway Arcade Origins,' that just doesn't have the same feel as it would with a directional stick. Even years after the home console wars plucked gamers out of arcade rooms, fighting games still play better like they did in their decorative oak stands.
There is no online multiplayer; however, local sessions up to four players depending on the individual game allows for shared memories with an unlimited amount of buy-ins. Simply push the BACK button and stack up on extra lives. 'Midway Arcade Origins' is worth the retail price just for a chance to beat those games that in the past robbed you of lunch money on countless occasions. Newly added achievements and trophies for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 don't raise the need to dig deeper into the library of games but it is a nice added bonus to pad 'gamerscore'.
'Midway Arcade Origins' is available now and offers one of the best compilation of video games ever on one disc. If you have yet to experience any of the games below there is no better one-stop shop for the price that retails at under a buck a game. It is a terrific port that keeps the retro flame burning bright; however, I hope to see more classic titles re-emerge in a new HD look like many Xbox Live and PlayStation Network digital downloads.
Games on the disc include:
Tournament Cyberball 2072
Root Beer Tapper
Spy Hunter 2
Super Off Road
Vindicators Part 2
Wizard of War