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Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits Volume 1
  opened by paleface at 05:02:25 06/25/04  
  last modified by paleface at 02:46:14 10/29/04  
  paleface [sys=DC; cat=Action_Variety; loc=NA]
I couldn't find vol 2 anywhere yesterday so I'll probably just order it from EB, since that one has Rampage and Spy Hunter on it, which I'd like to have. GameFAQs already lists a Vol 3 as being announced but I can't find any info on it at Midway's site.
Anyway, back to vol 1. First of all it doesn't support VGA which kind of sucks, especially since the games in this volume next to have really small pixellated graphics which come out as sorta blurry masses without VGA.
The emulation is pretty much perfect as far as I can tell--the Windows CE logo on the boot screen scared me but I didn't find any particular problems. The only odd thing I found was that in trying to use an arcade stick (which isn't officially supported but darned if I'm going to use an analog controller for these arcade games), the menu controls are all reversed and scrambled: Up is Down, Start is Up, A is B, B is A, the triggers are X and Y, etc. Weird. Fortunately you can reprogram the controls to your liking in each game. Well almost: when I tried setting my "A" to "Shoot Down" in Robotron, it kept acting like B and cancelling the assignment. Ah well, fortunately with six face buttons on an arcade stick you've got some backup options available.
Robotron and Joust played great, just as I remember them. Robotron is still hard as hell so I'm going to have to practice that to get anywhere. Joust looks great, probably the best looking one of the bunch: the colors are more saturated on my monitor than they are in the arcade machine we have at work, and the sprites in this game are larger than in the other games, on the whole, so they don't end up blurred into indistinguishability by lack of VGA support.
You can set all kinds of options in each game that you couldn't set in the arcade--I'm gonna have to find out what the "yellow" option in Joust is, for instance. Cool stuff. I found myself wishing there was a scanlines option while playing Joust but then reflected that I always end up turning scanlines off in emulators anyway because I prefer the brighter colors without them.
I'd say Joust and, to a lesser extent, Robotron, made this worth the $10 or $15 I paid for it. Defender is okay but I never got into it much even back in the old days when it was everywhere. I like Defender II even less because its more complicated and much more difficult.
I never played Sinistar in the arcade. It's pretty weird. Kinda like Asteroids except the goal isn't to shoot the asteroids, its to shoot these little red ships until you've shot enough that, pieced together, they form this big head that comes after you and sucks you up. Mmm-kay. If you shoot the asteroids enough you get bombs which are nice because you can fire them and they fly right toward the head; otherwise you have to face the head to shoot it which means you can't get away (no reverse thrust) when it charges at you, and its very fast. The big "draw" of the game was probably the weird digitized voice of the big head. It's tough and I didn't manage to kill the head yet; I probably won't bother going back to try it again. The one part of the game I liked is that you can smash into everything except bullets and the head as much as you want (unlike say Asteroids) and the resulting impact has pretty good physics to it.
Bubbles is sort of charming but not really all that charming. You scoot around this blue sink as a bubble, trying to soak up little crawling bugs. Once you've cleaned up enough bugs you jump into the drain and go to the next sink "level." There are nasty scrubbing brushes and giant ants and razor blades trying to stop you, of course. Its kind of like Robotron except that you don't shoot, so if you get herded into a corner by the baddies you're through.
All in all I'm disappointed by the lack of VGA support, which would really have helped this title, and the lack of arcade stick support (you can use it but only after reprogramming the controls, and the menus are still awkward). Still the emulation is fine and if you like these old games the package is worth the $10 or whatever. I'm still looking forward to picking up vol 2 for Rampage and Spy Hunter, but not quite as much as I was before.
  paleface 02:39:58 10/29/04
You know what's interesting? Williams released a pinball game called "Black Knight" in 1980, two years before Joust. In it, a mounted, armored knight in black armor taunts you with crudely digitized sound clips--but for 1980, it was quite a new thing. The sound effects too are digital, and guess what: they sound just like Joust, which Williams released two years later. Oho! Black Knight seems to be a pretty good pinball game, too.
  paleface 02:46:14 10/29/04
Ha! And slightly earlier in 1980, Williams had released a pinball table called "Firepower"--which features the same sound effects as Defender, which was also released in 1980! Crazy stuff, man.
· Joust (PS3)
· Midway Arcade Treasures (GC)
· Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play (PSP)

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