I'm glad that Midway didn't wait such a long time to release another collection
of arcade games. Just about a year after the first installment of Arcade Treasures,
we have a brand new collection of arcade games. But this isn't like the first MAT, where
we've seen games from past collections thrown in into a much larger package. This time,
everything is pretty much new, with 20 games that has never really been seen in a past
compilation. So, what 20 games do we get for our $20 (in my case, $10, because I got it
on sale ;) )? Take a look below:
Games featured in Midway's Arcade Treasures 2:
Mortal Kombat II, Mortal Kombat 3, Gauntlet II, Spy Hunter II, Xybots, NARC, APB,
Cyberball 2072, Timber, Total Carnage, Pit Fighter, Wizard Of Wor, Xenophobe, Primal Rage,
Arch Rivals, Rampage World Tour, Kozmik Krooz'r, Championship Sprint, Hard Drivin', and
Fairly diverse collection, no? Well, yes, but I still can't help but remember one
game that I was looking forward to in this collection that was CUT OUT. I think some
might know what I'm talking about, but for those who don't, STUN Runner was SUPPOSED
to be a part of this collection. Somewhere along the line, this game was totally
left out of the collection, while the original Mortal Kombat was taken out and thrown into
the Mortal Kombat Deception Kollector's Edition. So, while we still have a great number
of games to play with, I can't help but think how much better this collection would have been
if those two games weren't taken out.
ANYWAY, let's talk about the games that are featured in this collection. As far as emulation
goes, all games haven't really suffered much at all. There are no graphical problems and very
few sound issues. For the time frame given and the amount of new games presented, Digital
Eclipse sure did a great job with the emulation. I would have expected at least one game
to play like (or sound like) total crap (like 720 in the first MAT), but all of the games
seemed to have been handled pretty well.
Now, while the emulation is great, what about the games themselves? Sure, we
have 20 games, but exactally what is trash and what is treasure (pun SO intended)?
First, let's talk about the best games in the collection, or the real "true" treasures
of the collection. The main draws of this collection are undoubtably Mortal Kombat II
and Mortal Kombat 3, and they do stand as the better games of the collection. They
play just as great as they did in the arcades, but I think the level of the AI difficulty is
just too high, even on it's lowest setting. Maybe I just suck, or it really IS hard.
Of course, if you dislike the computer, you can always play against a friend. Other
great games featured are Total Carnage, which is basically a sequel to Smash TV
with a desert-war like setting; NARC, while not excellent, is a fun game of just shooting
whordes of drug-lords and pill pushers that seems like the foundation of what Smash TV
became; Xybots, a thrid person shooter with controls that takes some getting used to, but provides
a good deal of fun of again, just shooting stuff; Hard Drivin', which has somehow become
slightly addictive to me, but has some touchy physics and handling that may put some people off;
and Timber, a small game tucked away in the collection that kind of took me by suprise on
how fun and addictive it is, and a little reminicent of Root Beer Tapper (especially when
it comes to the music, sound and the character design).
The games that have emerged as just "okay" to me include Primal Rage, a fighter
with dinosaurs that was basically a cash-in on Mortal Kombat's violent style; APB,
which is fun at first, but a bit of a hard-ass on the demerits, and just became a bit
too frustrating after the fourth or fifth day; Rampage World Tour, which seems a bit
too new to be in a compilation (and if this game, from 1997 could be in here, why not
SF Rush, which was released in 1996?), and really doesn't change in terms in design
from the original game (at least it plays better); Gauntlet II, which looks like the original,
and still only fun if you play with more people; Arch Rivals, which is kind of fun,
but lacks a high-score chart and is not really a great substitute for NBA Jam; Cyberball 2072,
which has simple controls, but not a whole lot there to keep you playing; Championship Sprint,
which basically looks like, sounds like and plays like Super Sprint, and I really wonder
how many people could tell the difference; and Xenophobe, which would have been a lot
more fun if the controls weren't so furstrating (for some reason I was always thrown
into a crouching porition).
The losers of the collection are Pit Fighter, Kozmik Krooz'r, Wacko, Spy Hunter II
and Wizard Of Wor. Each of these games kind of represent the worts facet of what genre
is represented in the collection. Pit Fighter is a crappy fighting game with a limited
set of moves, choppy animation and bad sound. It just isn't too much fun. Kozmik Krooz'r
is a run of the mill shooter with tiny sprites and some slightly akward controls. Again,
it's also not that much fun. Wacko is a lame shooting game that seems nothing more than a game
of matching. It seems like it was developed for a 7 year old to play, and yet it's thrown
into a collection of M-rated games. Spy Hunter II was a dud for a good reason: it just
plain sucked. I thought this game was released in 1983 or 84, but it was released the
same year RoadBlasters was, and that game looked and played better than this turd.
Also, it lacks a high score table, which is strange for an arcade game (one top score,
gee, you really spoil us). Finally, how in the hell is Wizard Of Wor a treasure? This
is probably the worst game in the collection, as it's hardly a game. You've got Pac-Man
like mazes, combined with shooting. Sure, it sounds like there's nothing wrong with that,
but it's hardly any fun. And the sound is attrocious, with something like a Speak and Spell
spouting out garbled phrases along with awful sound effects.
Overall, this is another solid collection of arcade games from Midway. Despite that
four of the 20 games featured are outright stinkers, it's worth picking up for Mortal
Kombat II and MK3 alone. With a good variety of games, I'm sure there's at least a few games
somebody would like, it's hard not to find one. But, again, there is STILL no STUN Runner
(which was supposed to be included, but wasn't), and Mortal Kombat was pulled to be placed
in the premuim pack of MK Deception. Also, there are some other games I would have liked to
have seen here, like San Francisco Rush (especially since Rampage World Tour was included,
and it's a year older than Rush), Area 51 (why that wasn't included is a bit mystifying, since
there's a trailer for the remake featured on the disc), and Maximum Force (another light gun shooter).
I guess we'll have to see if that makes it onto another disc in another collection, along with
STUN Runner. But for the money, getting 20 games for $20 is a pretty good deal.