Review: Midway Arcade Treasures 2 (Multi)

It’s funny. Ten months ago, I reviewed the first collection of MAT. That review can be found right here. It was an amazing collection and quite possibly the best compilation ever released up until that point. So of course Midway realized there was a lot of money to be made in releasing a second compilation and rushed one out quite quickly.

And like before people enjoyed hearing what was going to be on. THREE Mortal Kombat games! Arch Rivals! Cyberball 2072! I was personally salivating over NARC, Wizard of Wor, and Xenophobe. There were also some cult hits like Primal Rage and Pit Fighter, and some that made people raise an eye brow. After all, who was clamoring for Kozmik Krooz’r or APB?

It was obviously this was going to be a bit lackluster compared to MAT1, but that really didn’t surprise anyone. And what was on MAT2 was enough to make people happy. MK2 is widely considered one of the best fighting games ever. That alone made the tiny $20 price tag worth it.

But slowly but surely, Midway changed things. Some games were removed and some lesser ones were added. Then they did the unthinkable and removed MK1 so that people would actually have to buy MK: Deception. A shrewd business move, but it managed to tick off a lot of gamers because it was such a blatant “we have no confidence in this game being any good” move. But of course, everyone still bought MAT2 because like I said earlier, it’s twenty games for only twenty dollars.

And so here am I sitting with copies of MAT1 and MAT2. Obviously anyone looking for one disc for any system that will keep them occupied for months, it would be one of these. But where MAT1 was loaded with great games, what about MAT2?

Let’s Review

1. Games Available

Here now is a list of all the games on MAT2.

Mortal Kombat 2
Mortal Kombat 3
Gauntlet 2
Spy Hunter 2
Cyberball 2072
Total Carnage
Pit Fighter
Wizard of Wor
Primal Rage
Arch Rivals
Rampage World Tour
Kozmik Krooz’r
Championship Sprint
Hard Drivin’

Alright, out all 20, there are only a handful of games on here I care about: MK2, which sadly has not aged well whereas the superior Street Fighter 2 is still just as great as ever, MK3, which is crappy as hell and missing Scorpion of all characters which is why they released Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, we have Gauntlet 2, Spy Hunter 2, and another Rampage game, the originals (and superiors) of which were on MAT1, we have Xenophobe and Wizard of Wor which are niche games as best, Arch Rivals and Cyberball which again, are very niche games and NARC which was amazingly popular in its day and helped to spawn that second rate Captain N show ripoff, “The Power Team,” which I can’t get out of my head even to this day, and two subpar fighters in Pit Fighter and Primal Rage. Everything else is really not worthy of the world classic.

In all, only NARC and Wizard of Wor remain as fun and entertaining as they were all those years ago. MK2 as a huge disappointment as both Yeager and I bitched about how the game was better left as a piece of nostalgia in our memories. And I still can’t believe MK3 was chosen instead of Ultimate Mortal Kombat. And if they removed MK1, why not put on MK4?

It’s a decent collection of games, but there’s nothing truly great on here. Almost everyone is probably getting MAT2 for MK2, which a few people like me for NARC and Laflin for Arch Rivals are getting this just to have a perfect Arcade port of ONE or TWO of these games. It may disappoint long time fans of some of these games to see how badly they’ve aged, but there’s still some good ones in the bunch.

Games Available: 6 /10

2. Graphics

These are all games from at least two gaming generations ago. The graphics are not going to stun anyone. MK2 and 3 still look decent though after all these years. Especially the fatalities and Friendships in MK2. NARC and Primal Rage aren’t outstanding by today’s standards, but still passable. Everything else looks its age.

But then, these are direct ports. These games aren’t going to magically improve visually with time. Graphics are more like milk than wine. The longer you leave them before coming back to them, the less pleasant the surprise that awaits you when you return.

For their day, most of these games had top of the line graphics. I remember everyone enjoying the visuals of games like Rampage World Tour or even Cyberball when they first came out.

In a retro compilation, you’re not judging the games by graphics, but by the fun they have. Sure it’s easy for newer gamers to look at MAT2 and say “Ugly. Why would I play this garbage?”, but it’s their loss for being that closed minded.

Graphics Rating: 6/10

3. Sound

I will state there seems to be something wrong with the sound of both Mortal Kombats. It’s as if the Sound Effects to background music ratio is off from what I remember in the console and arcade versions of these games. I’ve heard this from a few other people, so I’m quite sure it’s not my setup here.

Even with that minor issue, everything sounds great. It’s amazing how voice acting has held up over the years. From Narc to hearing Scorpion go, “GET OVER HERE!”, all of the vocal qualities of these games never failed to bring a smile to my face. Even some of the lesser games with their cheesy MIDI style music.

Although the visuals deteriorate with age thanks to constantly improving graphics, quite often it’s the classic games whose music we remember and cherish. And MAT2 has plenty of games with catchy tunes, one-liners from voice actors and more to keep you entertained for a long time.

Sound Rating: 8/10

4. Control and Gameplay

There’s 20 games here. Each plays completely differently. You really don’t want me to go through every single game and describe the controls. Besides, most of them should be second nature to long time gamers anyway.

Every game handles very well indeed. Sure the new controllers may take some time to get used to (MK3 on a GCN joystick?), but old time games were designed to have precision controls (most of the time) as since things were much uglier back then, gameplay is what made or broke your game sales.

There are some bad games, like Pit Fighter or Timber in regards to control, but then, they had horrible controls originally, so it’s not that surprising. Same with MK3. Not the best game in the world to play in the Arcade either in terms of precision. But other than those few examples, everything plays wonderfully. Ah Gauntlet , how I love all your old pre-legends incarnations.

The overwhelming majority of games in this collection plays wonderfully. I’m glad to see the ports synch up so well with how different controllers are from back when I used to play some of these on the Genesis… and the Atari 2600.

Control Rating: 8/10

5. Replayability

20 games. Let me repeat that. TWENTY GAMES. This disc alone should last you for quite some time. There’s Kombat Kodes to unlock in MK3. And I’d like to see you just beat Gauntlet 2 in one sitting. That takes a lot of patience. Same with Rampage World Tour. A lot of these games are just plain fun. That’s all they need to be.

This is an amazing value for your cash, even if some of these games aren’t ones anyone would buy on there on. The games that are considered classics on here EARNED that name, and even if they are old, they will still keep you coming back for more.

Replayability Rating: 8/10

6. Balance

Well, some of these games are balanced. Some are awful. Let me list the games that bring this category down.

Primal Rage
Pit Fighter
Gauntlet 2.
Rampage World Tour

The latter is just because of how long and tedious the game can be and how some of the levels are designed purposely to make you jam quarters into an old arcade slot again and again until Midway had your college fund.

MK2 was very well balanced, if only because every character played exactly the same except for 1-2 special moves and the different combinations to achieve the fatality.

Some of these games are hit and miss simply because of the nature of old arcade games. They were designed to make you spend money. And that meant often times, jacking up the challenge so that you had to keep continuing and continuing. It’s the nature of the beast, and was actually part of their appeal.

But still, that doesn’t make them very balanced, does it?

Balance Rating: 5/10

7. Originality

These games may be ports, but in their day, they were amazing. Arch Rivals was the first violent basketball game. MK 2, along with SF2 defined what the fighting game genre is all about. Narc gave us Power Team and made me have to accept that a Tomato could team up with Bigfoot to might the Maffia. A lot of these games were amongst the first in their respective genres. Timber is a game there has never been anything like since!

Sure some of these games are sequels, and others are just yet another shoot’em up/car game/fighter designed to cash in on a fad from way back when, but there’s still a good number of innovators in this compilation.

Originality: 7/10

8. Addictiveness

Surprisingly, not much. Most of the best Midway had to offer was on the first collection. This leaves me rather cold. I beat MK2 once with Raiden. No real desire to do so again. Rampage and Gauntlet sequels get boring after a while, and I prefer the originals. MK3 is NOT a good game. Spy Hunter 2? See Gauntlet 2 commentary. Others are games I just don’t want to play. Only Xenophobe and Wizard of Wor really have an addiction value for me, and that’s in multiplayer mode.

This collection is great for replay. But it’s for short spurts. Maybe an hour here, a quick game of Primal Rage there. Nothing that will keep you glued to it for hours at a time. I really don’t consider this a collection of “Treasures”, just a decent compilation starring a lot of Midway’s second stringer games, and Mortal Kombat 2.

Addictiveness Rating: 5/10

9. Appeal Factor

Most gamers should go out and get this. The only people who won’t are people who judge the quality of a game by its graphics. MAT2 is geared more towards the fans of fighting, racing, and Rampage/Gauntlet fans. The rest of the games are most likely for the few and far between who were fanatics for the niche games included on here.

For twenty dollars though, the majority of gamers should go out and buy this. I can’t state that enough. It’s a chance to do a lot of Retrogaming, and we all know I’m a big proponent of that.

Appeal Factor: 8/10

10. Miscellaneous

Midway included some trailers and documentaries of the games on the disc. That’s always a pleasant touch. There’s some Xbox compatibility. There’s TWENTY GAMES on ONE DISC if I haven’t drilled that into you enough as it is. And all of the games are average to pretty good. No real stand outs (Although some diehard MK2 fans will give me crap for saying it hasn’t aged well) are on here. But where else are you going to get twenty games of this consistent level of quality for this amount of money?

Miscellaneous Rating: 7/10



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