Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play Review

There's a lot of potential here, but many of the games have issues with their graphics, sound, or control that make the entire package a real disappointment.

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Midway has been releasing packages with its classic games for some time now, and now the company's arcade lineup has been released on the PSP, in the form of Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play. Looking at the back of the box, this looks like an amazing collection. The list of games includes some truly legendary stuff, and the promise of ad-hoc wireless play sweetens the deal. Unfortunately, many of the games in the collection are messed up in one way or another, making this an extremely disappointing package.

These arcade games were treasures, but this PSP compilation doesn't do them justice.

This package is extremely bare-bones. You're dropped into a plain-looking menu that lists every game and lets you tweak a few very basic settings. Loading up a game brings you to that game's title screen and lets you fire it up. The list of games includes a lot of genuine classics, like Spy Hunter, Sinistar, Defender, Wizard of Wor, Joust, Klax, Cyberball 2072, and the first three Mortal Kombat games. If you're a fan of other, similar packages from Midway, you'll probably notice that Robotron: 2084 is missing from the list, which is unfortunate. Also, Mortal Kombat 3 is included instead of the superior-in-every-way upgrade, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. That just seems like a stupid choice.

While some of the games play just fine, there are a lot of problems with many of the games in the package. Much of the audio sounds wrong, like it's playing back at the wrong pitch. Joust is stretched out to fit the PSP's widescreen aspect ratio and looks like crap as a result. Yet Sinistar, a vertically-oriented game, runs in a very small section of the screen. Other similar collections have allowed players to play the games in a rotated mode that makes the vertical monitor games much larger without sacrificing their original aspect ratio. Without that here, Sinistar is too tiny to see.

With the real lack of fighting games on the PSP right now, the Mortal Kombat games could have been great additions to the PSP library.

The most disappointing problems, however, are in Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3. Both of them seem as though they're dropping frames and running too fast. And both are saddled by load times that infiltrate every part of the game. Even selecting a character takes a second longer while the game loads up the character-selection voice clip. And the music loading totally messes up the way fatalities sound. On top of that, both games sound very tinny and, in a lot of cases, distorted. You get the impression that these games were thrown on here without much care for actually making them accurate representations of the arcade originals, which is pretty lame, considering they're probably the largest draws in the entire collection.

While it's great that the multiplayer games in the collection offer local wireless multiplayer, a lot of the games are so sloppy that you probably won't want to bother. If the emulations were better or if the game featured a few more options, this collection might be worth recommending. But as it stands, it's nothing more than unfulfilled potential.

The Good
Contains 21 different games
The Bad
Lots of sound problems
Some games are ugly when stretched to fill the whole PSP screen
Vertical games like Sinistar are too small on the PSP screen
Mortal Kombat games don't run right
5.2
Mediocre
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/ Editor-in-chief, Giant Bomb

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.

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Midway Arcade Treasures

  • GameCube
  • Xbox
  • PlayStation 2
  • PC
  • PSP
Some of the games featured just don't play the way they should, marring an otherwise stellar compilation.
ESRB
Teen
GC XBOX PS2 PC
Blood and Gore, Violence
ESRB
Mature
PSP
Blood and Gore, Violence
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A must-have for PSP owners.

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